Dinowitz Sponsors Legislation to Protect New Yorkers from Gun Violence
March 19, 2004
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz announced passage today of a comprehensive package of legislation that he multi-sponsored, designed to keep guns out of the wrong hands. The legislation protects children from firearms, improves identification databases, bans gun ownership for violent felons, and imposes stricter penalties on illegal gun trafficking. "It’s time we better ensure that our families are protected against gun violence. The first step is stopping guns from falling into the wrong hands. 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," said Dinowitz. The Assembly’s gun package addresses this tragedy through the passage of the Children’s Weapon Accident Prevention Act (A.4615-C). The Act is designed to keep guns out of children’s hands by creating 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. Assemblyman Dinowitz noted that 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). Weapons should be stored unloaded, locked away separate from ammunition and away from children. Assemblyman Dinowitz also multi-sponsored a measure that would impose a common-sense ban on .50 caliber sniper rifles, which are capable of disabling armored personnel carriers (A.7039). "These high-powered weapons should be restricted to the military. Unfortunately, under current law, potential terrorists and other violent individuals have easy access to .50 caliber sniper rifles at gun stores, over the Internet, at gun shows and through person-to-person sales," continued Dinowitz. The Assembly’s 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:
- 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); and
- requires the judge in a criminal or family court proceeding to inquire if the defendant owns a firearm and the location of any such gun (A.6820).