NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
December 21, 2005


Statement On Gun Legislation

Our three-way agreement on legislation to combat illegal gun trafficking and dramatically increase penalties for gun crimes against law-enforcement officers is critical in our efforts to help protect those who are sworn to protect us. Today's agreement also institutes mandatory life without parole for killing a police officer and dramatically increases penalties for a range of other violent and threatening crimes committed against law enforcement officials. But, it is only a first step.

While we have locked the front door on gun traffickers, the NRA's influence in Albany keeps the back door open. Therefore, the Assembly's fight to enact comprehensive, truly effective legislation to safeguard communities across New York State continues. Our job is not finished.

In the opening days of the 2006 legislative session, the Assembly will again advance our comprehensive package of bills aimed at stopping the type of gun violence that has taken the lives of some 7,000 New Yorkers since 1999.

New York's law-enforcement community still faces a very real threat at the hands of violent criminals. How can we continue to send law-enforcement officers into the path of danger armed with bullet-proof vests, while continuing to allow deadly "cop-killer" bullets on the streets? One hundred and forty-three police and sheriff's departments from across the state support this common sense measure.

The Assembly Majority is also seeking to enlist the support of responsible gun dealers in the war against illegal weapons. We will continue to urge the adoption of effective measures to prevent guns from being diverted from the legal stream of commerce to individuals who are not legally entitled to possess life-threatening weapons. The People's House will call on the governor and the Senate to set aside their strident support for the NRA - particularly when it flies in the face of public safety - and support measures that call for all employees engaged in the retail sale of guns to be at least 21 years of age and to receive adequate training and that weapons be displayed, stored and shipped in a secure manner. These comprehensive measures also were proposed and supported by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, to stop guns from coming into the hands of criminals.

New York's gun laws will only go so far to curb gun violence so long as the patchwork of state laws across our nation continues to create loopholes that allow vast quantities of weapons to be purchased legally and transported elsewhere. The Assembly will continue to urge the United States Congress to pass legislation to give law-enforcement officers the laws and resources needed to pursue gun traffickers and investigate the sources of all illegal guns.

While this special session has provided an important opportunity to punish those who engage in violence, we have much more to do to prevent these crimes and protect those who protect us and place themselves at risk to make our streets safer.