Schimel & Kavanagh of NY Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention on US Supreme Court Rejecting Challenge to NY SAFE Act and US Senate Blocking Background Checks

On the same day, a victory for common sense and a victory for violence
June 21, 2016

New York – State Assemblymembers Michelle Schimel and Brian Kavanagh, co-chairs of New York Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention, released the following statement:

“Two significant events yesterday encapsulated the opportunity and the challenge faced by those of us who wish to stop the scourge of gun violence that afflicts our country.

“First, the decision of the United States Supreme Court to reject challenges to New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, as well as key gun violence prevention legislation enacted in Connecticut, once again affirmed that sensible gun laws, designed to protect our lives, can be enacted well within the bounds of the Constitution.

“The SAFE Act reflected our determination in 2013, after many years of advocacy and in the wake of the horrific violence in Newtown, Connecticut and the ambush murder of firefighters in Webster, New York, to do what we could to prevent powerful weapons from getting into the wrong hands. It was a momentous step for New York.

“In addition to the unsuccessful court challenges, the law has withstood repeated calls to repeal it, from gun industry lobbyists and the dwindling number of New Yorkers who believe that assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines shouldn’t be restricted and gun purchasers shouldn’t be subject to background checks.

“Unfortunately, on the very same day the Supreme Court made it crystal clear that our Constitution permits us to enact laws, like the SAFE Act, that help ensure that guns don’t end up in the wrong hands, the United States Senate, led by a near unanimous block of Republican Senators, refused to do so.

“We must not allow ourselves to succumb to the numbing regularity of gun violence in America and let it continue unabated, whether it be mass shootings like those in Newtown, Webster, Binghamton, Aurora, Charleston, San Bernardino, or Orlando, or the countless daily shootings that occur one by one in neighborhoods across our country.

“Equally important today, we must not succumb to despair at the failure of Congress to place the public interest over the needs of a nihilistic gun industry that insists its deadly products must be marketable to criminals, terrorists, and other violent people.

“The great majority of Americans know that Congress and every state governor and legislature can and should enact the obvious, sensible, and fully constitutional laws needed to respond to the national nightmare of recurring gun violence. Yesterday we had a victory for common sense at the Supreme Court and a victory for violence in the Senate. Those of us who believe in the former are not giving up.”