Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today took part in a press conference in Rochester to discuss existing illegal weapons laws and related legislation proposed by Gov. George Pataki that are to be discussed during Wednesday’s special session of the state Legislature.
Other officials participating in the press conference at the Watts Building included state Sen. Joe Robach (R-Greece), Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece), Monroe County District Attorney Mike Green and Rochester Police Chief Cedric Alexander.
The Illegal Firearms Bill would reclassify offenses now covered under statutes regarding criminal sale and possession of weapons and multiple firearms. A Crimes Against Law Enforcement Bill proposes to increase penalties for crimes committed against police and peace officers, and correctional services employees.
Both bills call for more punitive measures against individuals violating the proposed laws. Anyone found guilty of murdering a law enforcement officer would be eligible for the death penalty, or a minimum prison sentence of up to 25 years.
“The recent shooting deaths of two fine, young New York City police officers makes it very clear we need to make changes,” said Kolb. “There are a number of loopholes in the current laws that have allowed felons to return to the streets way too fast. My colleagues and I have been working too hard to keep New York safe to let people get away with distributing guns to violent criminals.”
The NYPD confiscates 3,500 illegal guns per year, and since 1995, almost 1900 officers have been assaulted by a handgun or firearm. Current law allows gun-traffickers to evade strict felony penalties for multiple illegal sales by intentionally restricting the number of firearms they sell in a single transaction. The governor’s proposal would make the illegal sale of even one firearm a violent felony offense.
These proposals are to be voted on tomorrow, and it is the hope of many people, including the Assembly minority conference, victim advocates and police officials, that both sides of the Assembly can agree on this issue and pass Pataki’s measures, added Kolb.