In a letter sent to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio urged the State Legislature to pass the strongest gun control laws in the country. Recognizing a lack of necessary federal action, De Blasio called on State leaders to move forward on microstamping and tighter background checks to protect New Yorkers. He commended a series of legislative initiatives announced yesterday by State Senator Michael Gianaris.
Read Public Advocate de Blasio’s letter below:
August 15, 2012
Honorable Sheldon Silver
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building, Room 932
Albany, NY 12248
Honorable Dean G. Skelos
Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
Legislative Office Building, Room 909
Albany, NY 12247
Dear Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos,
The recent events in Aurora, Colorado and Oak Creek, Wisconsin provide ample cause for reflection on our nation’s approach to gun control. New York State and New York City have similarly seen spikes over the last several months in the number of gun-related crimes. These cases remind us of the tragedies so often accompanied by illegal gun possession and poor firearm regulation. As policy makers, we assume a great burden of responsibility in ensuring that our laws and regulations relating to firearm production, licensing, and ownership requirements are both strong and sensible. State leaders – especially Governor Cuomo – have demonstrated strong leadership in this regard. However, each avoidable death is a call to action: we should take every effort to strengthen laws in New York State which improve our ability to combat gun violence. It is in this vein that I write to express my support for increasing legislative power and oversight of the firearm industry in New York State.
We have the opportunity to act in the State legislature to ensure New York has the strongest gun control laws in the country. New York presently ranks fourth of all fifty states on the Brady Campaign to Combat Gun Violence State Scorecard, and has been widely recognized for its efforts to curb illegal gun markets, mitigate risks to children, and restrict assault weapons. Here in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has worked to foster a necessary national debate on common-sense gun control.
Despite these strengths, we have room for improvement. In particular, we have no regulations which would prevent bulk purchasing of handguns or ammunition, and we don’t go far enough to require background checks for every gun purchase. We can further improve our record-keeping of firearm and ammunition sales, and mandate gun safety education. These areas are ripe for improvement – it just takes committed State action to expand our enforcement. I commend recent efforts of Senator Michael Gianaris to bring these issues to the forefront of our State legislature’s agenda in the coming months.
In order to plug loopholes opened by federal inaction, we should take steps to promote industry-wide standards in firearm manufacturing. The clearest example of this is to require microstamping technology in New York State. Legislation requiring microstamping has the backing of law enforcement, community leaders, and elected officials across the state, yet has faced resistance in Albany by powerful lobbyist groups. Strong action on this issue by the New York State Legislature would bolster our State’s leadership in strong and sensible gun control policies.
I urge you to carefully consider and support legislative efforts which would make New York State the strongest enforcer of gun laws in the country.
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York
Cc: Michael Gianaris
New York State Senator, 12th Senate District