Contact: Josh Hills, 518-455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

If No Consensus on Gun Bills, Assembly Minority to Force Vote
Several area law enforcement officials join in show of support

When the Assembly convenes in Special Session today, it is expected that members will vote on agreed upon anti-crime legislation. If this is not the case, Assembly Minority members plan to attach the Governor's original police protection bills as amendments, ensuring that each member is on record for their stance on these crimes.

"Governor Pataki, the state Senate and the Assembly Minority Conference have all agreed on appropriate legislation to deal with violence against police officers," said Assembly Minority Leader James N. Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga). "Should a consensus not be reached, my members plan to put all ancillary issues aside and, through the Assembly Rules, give each member the opportunity to vote on these critical bills."

Legislation proposed by Governor Pataki would dramatically increase penalties for the sale and possession of illegal guns, as well as for possession of multiple firearms. It would also create harsher penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers and for possession of armor piercing "cop killer" bullets. The original Assembly Majority bills added several "poison pill" provisions - like requiring the 3,607 federally licensed firearms dealers in New York State to carry at least $1 million insurance coverage.

"The Majority legislation looks more like an attempt to line the pockets of the insurance industry and the trial lawyers than a good faith effort to protect police officers," said Tedisco.

Assemblyman David R. Townsend (R,C,I,WF - Kirkland) said, "When I was in law enforcement, I had the horrible experience of losing a former partner, Wally Howard of the Syracuse Police Department -- shot by a criminal. We must not allow another hero to perish in the line of duty before taking action. We need to vote on real illegal gun trafficking legislation today."

Assemblyman Thomas Alfano (R,I,C,WF - 21st District) said, "The 21st Assembly district is still grieving for Dillon Stewart's family. He was a hero to the Elmont community. He served our City and State with distinction and purpose. Dillon took great pride in his service with the police department. We're all proud of him.

"Dillon's family has been robbed of a man who was a father, son, uncle and husband," Alfano continued. "It should have never happened. But it did, because of an illegal gun sale. Today, it's my hope that we can take a great step forward for all victims of gun violence by passing legislation that stops illegal gun sales. We must do our job and do it now."

Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C - Greenwood Lake), said, "As the wife of a policeman, I can personally understand the heartbreak and trauma felt by the families of the recently-slain New York City officers. It is imperative that we pass this legislation in its present form to protect those who risk their lives each day for us. Anything less would be unacceptable."

"My strong support of Governor Pataki's legislation is in memory of fallen New York City Police Officers Dillon Stewart and Daniel Enchautegui, two brave individuals who sacrificed their lives to protect ours," said Assemblyman Matthew Mirones (R,C,I-Staten Island, Bay Ridge). "Tough new penalties for gun traffickers and cop killers will keep our communities safe and protect those who risk their lives every day to protect New York families.

"It is essential for all law enforcement that this legislation be passed," said Floyd Holloway, Legislative Chairman/Director of the NYS Association of PBAs. "Especially in light of the fact that we just had 2 New York City police officers murdered. Several years ago, 2 New York City Detectives were murdered in the process of an illegal gun buy. Had the current proposal from the Governor's office been in place then, they wouldn't have had to go back and make the second buy, which led to their murders."

Also joining the Assembly Minority today were: Gordy Warnock, Suffolk County Police Department; John Grebert, Executive Director, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police; Ed Mullins, President, Sergeants Benevolent Association; Kate Hogan, Warren County District Attorney; Trish DeAngelis, Rensselaer County District Attorney; Chief James Tuffey, Albany Police Department; Chief Edward Moore, Saratoga Springs Police Department; Assistant Chief John Tedesco, Troy Police Department; Peter Kehoe, Tom Mitchell and Chris O'Brien, Sheriff's Association.

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