We must do a better job of protecting our families from gun violence, and we can do so by stopping guns from falling into the wrong hands. The Assembly’s passage of a comprehensive package of legislation I sponsored will curb gun violence by protecting children from firearms, improving identification databases, banning gun ownership for violent felons and imposing stricter penalties on illegal gun trafficking.
According to a study by the Children’s Defense Fund, gun violence claimed more than 2,900 young lives in 2001. Most of these lives could have been saved if the firearms involved had locks and were stored properly. My gun legislation package addresses this tragedy through the passage of the Children’s Weapon Accident Prevention Act, which creates a penalty of up to seven years in prison for unsafe storage of a weapon that a child uses to cause serious harm to themselves or others (A.4615-C).
In 2002, a state law was passed requiring gun dealers to provide safety locks with every gun they sell – as well as display information regarding the use of the locking devices and how to store a weapon safely (Ch. 189 of 2000). But the law didn’t include any penalties for gun owners who failed to use the locks. This measure will close that loophole, and help ensure that weapons are stored unloaded, locked away separate from ammunition and away from children.
My gun package includes a measure that imposes regulations on gun dealers to stop the flow of illegal weapons and also significantly increases criminal penalties for illegal gun possession and sales (A.8456-B). This measure also requires stringent recordkeeping and reporting to prevent gun sales to criminals, requires gun dealers to implement a security plan, requires employee training and prohibits minors access to guns without an adult.
To better protect all New Yorkers, the package also:
- bans the sale of any gun that can be operated by the average 5-year-old (A.3311);
- prevents violent felons from owning a gun, including those who receive a certificate of good conduct or a certificate of relief from disabilities from a parole board (A.4428);
- expands the gun ballistics identification database, which was created four years ago, to include long guns, and implement a more comprehensive registration process (A.8542-B); and
- bans .50 caliber sniper rifles, which are capable of disabling armored personnel carriers (A.7039).
I am committed to keeping our families and communities safe. My gun legislation package is an important step toward that goal. I hope the Senate and governor quickly follow suit to protect our children and families before another life is needlessly lost to gun violence.