Statement on Gun Safety after Parkland Shooting

May 9, 2018

Over the past weeks, we have once again revisited the national discussion of the need for gun control laws. We’ve come through a devastating and upsetting time, watching the carnage in Sandy Hook and Las Vegas, followed by the events in Parkland. Certainly, the federal government has yet another reason to justify the strengthening of gun laws across the country.

I am proud to say that New York has the strongest gun control laws in the country. When the New York Legislature developed the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE Act) in 2013 it was clear that dealing with gun violence would be a challenge; but we–meaning both political parties–also understood that it was our responsibility to protect everyone. Refusing a legislative response to rampant gun violence was not an option.

However, there is still more we can do to protect New Yorkers. While New York laws continue to respect one’s right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment, we must prevent those with signs of violence or that suffer from mental illness from having access to guns. We must regulate gun shows where the ability to purchase guns is unfettered. These are some common sense solutions.

Here in New York, we have adopted a good law that has been effective in preventing tragedies like we saw in Newtown, Washington D.C., Fort Hood, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Parkland. At the same time, we took great care to balance the rights of all individuals.

When I debated the SAFE Act, I was asked whether it is the federal government’s job to enact gun control laws. I said then, and I say now emphatically, YES! It is indeed Congress’s job.

We must continue to protect the public from gun abuse and carnage. Congress should, and must, follow New York’s lead.