Assembly Leaders Call on Senate, Governor to Stop Blocking
Silver Urges Putting Public Safety Before NRA Interest
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol today announced the Assembly passed a comprehensive package of bills aimed at stopping the type of gun violence that has taken the lives of some 7,000 New Yorkers since 1999.
Calling for the Senate to set aside their "unwavering allegiance to the NRA and act in the best interest of New York's children and families," Silver said the Assembly plans to launch the opening day of the 2006 legislative session by adopting a series of measures to prevent guns from being diverted from the legal stream of commerce to individuals who are not legally entitled to possess life-threatening weapons.
The lawmakers noted that during the past six years, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has contributed more than $50,000 to majority Senators - 80 percent of whom receive an "A" rating from the NRA.
"It is no wonder the Senate and the governor have time and time again blocked common-sense measures to crack down on gun violence. They even went so far as to block legislation banning exploding, frangible and armor piercing 'cop-killer' bullets that can penetrate a police officer's bullet-proof vest," Silver said (D-Manhattan).
Describing the package as a much-needed continuation of the important anti-gun violence legislation passed during last month's extraordinary session, Silver said the measures are a clear expression of the Assembly Majority's ongoing commitment to a comprehensive approach that combines stiff penalties with measures that keep guns out of criminal hands - before they have the chance to destroy lives. The Assembly's gun trafficking bill (A.9280) is a program bill submitted by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
"Last month, by working together in a bipartisan manner, the Assembly, Senate and the governor came together to pass legislation to increase sentences for illegal gun trafficking and dramatically increase penalties for gun crimes against law-enforcement officers," said Silver. "While we have locked the front door on gun traffickers, the NRA's influence in Albany keeps the back door open. We call on the Senate and the governor to join with us to close the loopholes they left wide open."
"The Assembly Majority is once again advancing its comprehensive legislation to curb gun violence. These bills, some of which have been passed by the Assembly for more than a decade, represent a sound and responsible gun-safety plan. Communities across New York State have seen firsthand the deadly consequences of gun violence. We must take every step possible to dry up the sources of illegal gun trafficking. The governor and the Senate must agree to do more to protect New Yorkers," Silver said.
"The Assembly Majority's gun-safety package would enact strong laws to keep guns out of the hands of children and convicted felons, crack down on violent criminals who use firearms and enact common-sense measures to ensure that guns are possessed for lawful purposes, like self-defense and hunting," said Lentol (D-Brooklyn).
Cracking Down on Illegal Street Gun Trafficking (A.9280/Paulin)
The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), requires stringent recordkeeping and reporting to prevent gun sales to criminals. Additionally, under terms of the legislation, gun dealers must implement a security plan, require employee training and prohibit minor's access to guns.
"We have a duty to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and by passing this common-sense measure today - we are moving one step closer to protecting all New Yorkers from gun violence," said Paulin.
Banning Armor Piercing Ammunition (A.2837/Koon)
"We owe our law-enforcement officers the highest level of protection against lethal ammunition and this legislation will do just that. With more than 140 police and sheriff's departments supporting this common-sense measure, now is the time for the Senate to pass these bills and further protect those who protect us," said Koon (D/I-Perinton).
Tracking Guns Involved In Crimes (A.2213/Koon)
"This bill adds to the amount of information in the state's ballistic identification databank giving law enforcement the tools to track down gun-toting criminals and protect our families. Expanding the databank will allow police officers to use valuable ballistics information to link guns from various crime scenes and stop violent criminals," said Koon.
Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Violent Felons (A.1170/Dinowitz)
This bill would stop the practice of allowing convicted violent felons to possess a rifle or shotgun lawfully after being issued a "certificate of good conduct." It would also prevent violent felons who are issued a certificate of relief from disabilities or certificate of good conduct from obtaining a firearms license.
This bill narrows the relief afforded by these waivers to prevent convicted violent felons from obtaining a firearms license. It also criminalizes the possession of a rifle or shotgun by a convicted violent felon.
"Once again the Assembly is taking the lead in passing tough gun laws to protect our law enforcement officials and all New Yorkers. It is important that this package of bills is being passed on the first day of the legislative session. I strongly urge the state Senate and the governor to finally join us in passing these sensible bills that will save many lives," said Dinowitz.
The Children's Weapon Accident Prevention Act (A.673-A /Weisenberg)
"No responsible gun owner should object to my legislation, when we know that approximately one third of all gun-related deaths involving children could have been prevented by simply locking up guns and ammunition. The Assembly has overwhelmingly approved this life saving measure for the past 13 years. Its enactment is long overdue," said Weisenberg.
Childproofing Firearms (A.2302/Englebright)
"It's important to take every precaution to protect our children from the accidental discharge of a firearm. By requiring simple gun design changes that afford such protection we have hope to eventually eliminate the all too frequent tragic accidents," said Englebright.
Stopping Assault Weapons (A.2466-A/Lavelle)
"One in every five law enforcement officers murdered in the line of duty is killed with an assault weapon," said Lavelle. "However, gun makers continue to blatantly evade current law and manufacture firearms that are functionally identical to those already banned in New York. This legislation is vital towards keeping our streets safe from these deadly military-style weapons."
Banning 50-Caliber Weapons (A.4471-A/Eddington)
"A 50-caliber weapon in terrorist hands is a nightmare scenario. With deadly accuracy, it can destroy targets from over a mile away. Designed for assassination and armor piercing, they are military weapons with no legitimate purpose on our streets. They are a clear and present terrorist threat," said Assemblywoman Patricia Eddington (WFP/D/I - Medford). "These weapons of war are easier to buy than handguns. Banning the 50-caliber weapon is one way we can fight the war on terror."
Domestic Violence (A.2404/O'Donnell)
"This bill will help reduce the risk of gun violence in order of protection cases. Studies have shown that in states with laws restraining abusers from possessing firearms, intimate partner homicide rates steadily decreased," said O'Donnell.
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NOTE: Click here to view a list of the police and sheriff's departments around the state that have signed a resolution in support of the 50-caliber ban and the armor-piercing ammunition ban.
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