As the New York State legislature prepares to reconvene for 2013, a coalition of nearly 100 State legislators is calling for prompt passage of a specific, comprehensive State plan to reduce the firepower available to criminals and stop many preventable acts of gun violence. Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
The call for broad new legislation comes in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, CT and Webster, NY, and ongoing gun violence throughout the nation.
25 Senators and 70 Assemblymembers support the plan, echoing Governor Andrew Cuomo's call for strong gun legislation. The coalition was initiated by Assemblymembers Michelle Schimel of Nassau County and Brian Kavanagh of Manhattan, and Senator Eric Adams of Brooklyn, the three Co-Chairs of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns.
The lawmakers outlined their plan in a letter sent to the leaders of the five legislative conferences.
The plan includes eight measures:
- Requiring universal background checks, for criminality and mental health issues, on all gun sales
- Strengthening the State’s assault weapons ban, making it similar to the existing ban in New York City
- Banning high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds
- Requiring semi-automatic pistols to be equipped with microstamping, to help solve gun crime
- Requiring gun licenses to be renewed every 5 years
- Improving gun dealer regulations, particularly to reduce gun losses and thefts
- Regulating ammunition sales, ensuring that those not permitted to buy a weapon can’t buy ammunition
- Limiting personal handgun purchases to no more than one per month, to help reduce gun trafficking
Kavanagh believes that legislators have an obligation to pursue reducing gun violence for the rest of the state, following New York City's lead. Each official the letter was sent to: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Minority Leader Brian Kolb; Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, and Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins— has expressed a need for a State response to recent gun violence, although the approach they have proposed to take has varied substantially.
CLICK HERE to view a PDF copy of the coalition’s letter to the legislative leaders, with more details of the plan.