Albany Ė In light of the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, it is my hope that discussions at the New York State Rifle and Pistol Associationís (NYSRPA) Legislative Awareness Day will focus on advancing sensible legislation that will keep the public safe by preventing guns from getting into the hands of the mentally ill, criminals, and terrorists.
The tragedy of Arizona is a case study of all that is wrong with American gun laws. Citizens must demand more of their federal and state legislators to protect them from rampant, unnecessary gun violence. Unfortunately these shootings and their increasing frequency have cast a cynical pall over the public as they wring their hands that nothing can be done. Each day 34 people are killed by gun violence in the United States.
New York, which has more stringent gun regulations than Arizona, is always under attack by the gun lobby to weaken its existing laws and prevent the passage of new gun crime prevention bills. We in the New York State legislature owe it to our citizens and police officers to place their public safety needs first.
The Second Amendment should not protect people like Jared Loughner to purchase a gun. This must be the legislative session when enacting sensible gun legislation is an urgent priority.