April 28, 2008

Assembly Passes Comprehensive Gun Package
Bills Will Help Police Track Illegal Guns, Ban Armor-Piercing Ammunition

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol today announced the Assembly's passage of a legislative package to combat gun violence. The bills will enhance safety by assisting police in their efforts to investigate illegal firearms, prohibiting felons from buying guns, requiring child-proof devices on guns and banning advanced firearms and ammunition used to kill police officers.

"New York is one of the safest states in the nation and it must stay that way," said Silver (D-Manhattan). To achieve this, we must craft laws that prevent dangerous felons from possessing weapons while assisting law enforcement agencies as they combat gun trafficking. Although the majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens, we must ensure that guns do not fall into the hands of violent felons or children. This package contains bills that address public safety, while weighing the needs of hunters and sportspeople."

Silver added that this year's legislation, considered this week in recognition of National Crime Victims Week, was introduced in remembrance of the tenth anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and the 13 victims of the recent shooting in Binghamton.

"Last year, the Assembly successfully passed legislation which was enacted that creates a comprehensive database to help prevent people suffering from serious mental illnesses from purchasing guns," said Lentol (D-Brooklyn). "This year, we will continue pushing for smart gun laws to protect communities across New York. Today's legislation sets important record keeping and reporting standards for gun dealers and pawn shops and prohibits the sale of ammunition which serves no practical purpose yet possesses the capacity to pierce through protective bulletproof vests. Additionally, our legislation helps police investigate gun-related crimes through manufacturer identification of firearms."

One bill requires the re-licensing and recertification of firearms permits after five years (A.801A/Paulin). This will help ensure that licensing authorities have the oversight they need to protect the public while balancing the legitimate constitutional rights of gun owners. Another bill creates the Children's Weapon Accident Protection Act which requires that there be a weapons-safety program for schoolchildren and creates crimes of failing to safely store firearms (A.5844/Weisenberg).

The legislative package also addresses public safety by requiring all firearms sold in the state to be childproof (A.1326/Englebright) and capable of microstamping ammunition (A.6468/Schimel), and by instituting background checks for firearms sold at pawn shops (A.7574/Hoyt). Another bill requires stringent recordkeeping and reporting of gun sales, liability insurance and employee training for gunsmiths to prevent the sale of guns through so-called "straw purchases" (A.1093/Paulin).

Other measures in the Assembly gun package would: