Tag Archives: assault weapons ban

Poll: Cuomo loses support following gun bill


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s rush to pass tougher gun legislation in the state may have won him points with some voters, but support for him, especially from the GOP, has dropped, according to a recently released Quinnipiac University poll.

Last month Cuomo’s approval rating decreased from an all-time high of 74-13 percent last month to 59-28 percent.

Among Republicans, it went from 68-12 percent in December to 44-43 percent in Quinnipiac’s January survey.

Though Cuomo’s Democratic support didn’t take as big of a hit, it was still down from last month, dropping to 74 – 14 percent from 82 – 9 percent.

When specifically asked about the gun control legislation, 34 percent of all voters and 59 percent of Republicans thought that it went “too far” in restricting firearm owners’ rights.

Despite these drops, Cuomo is still popular among the majority of voters, and likely hasn’t lost a lot of his political power in Albany.

“With approval ratings that consistently topped 70 percent, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had the political capital to spend when he set out to pass the toughest gun control laws in the nation,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “It is possible that the gun law cost him some of that political capital, but a 2-1 job approval rating still makes him the envy of most governors.”

 

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Op-Ed: Essential steps in the fight against gun violence


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Peralta new

BY STATE SENATOR JOSE PERALTA

As the sponsor of 14 gun bills, I couldn’t be happier to see long overdue action fi nally taken on common-sense measures to protect New Yorkers from gun violence.

From revoking the gun permits and confi scating the fi rearms of domestic abusers and the mentally ill, to requiring background checks and law enforcement oversight for private gun sales and ammunition purchases, to requiring periodic statewide recertifi cation of gun licenses, a good deal of the legislation I have sponsored and fought for is in this package.

After what we saw happen in Newtown, Connecticut, and in Rochester, strengthening New York’s assault weapons ban became an urgent and pressing priority. And we are adopting perhaps the toughest assault weapons ban in the country.

I applaud the governor for his perseverance and commitment. Above all, I want to thank him for his leadership. Making it harder for criminals to get guns, and keeping fi rearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, are essential steps in the fight against gun violence.

We also need to make it easier for law enforcement to put gun criminals in jail by making use of available technology.

That’s why we need to require microstamping, a simple, inexpensive technology that stamps a code—invisible to the naked eye—on the shell casings ejected when a gun is fired.

The microstamps on recovered shell casings give law enforcement the ability to identify a gun used in a crime and determine where and when it was purchased and who bought it.

Not surprisingly, my bill requiring that handguns made or sold in New York be equipped with microstamping technology has the support of police and prosecutors throughout the state.

And there’s absolutely no logical, coherent reason for not requiring microstamping in New York—or at least not one that has been articulated yet.

We’re told that requiring microstamping would put our state’s gun manufacturers out of business. Yet one of the reasons we needed to toughen New York’s assault weapons ban is because many high-powered rifl es now in production are exempt from the current ban.

Why? Because manufacturers altered their products to circumvent the law.

So ignoring the law is profi table, but complying with a microstamping requirement would be bad for business?

That’s a business model that has no business in New York.

In addition to making it harder for criminals to get guns, we need to make it easier for law enforcement to put gun criminals in jail. Longer jail sentences won’t make a difference if we’re not catching the people who need to be locked up.

And please: Let’s not waste any more time on the nonsense that a microscopic code on a shell casing constitutes an assault on the Second Amendment rights of sportsmen and law-abiding gun owners.

New Yorkers deserve better than that. Especially those waiting on justice for a loved one lost to gun violence.

Senator Jose Peralta serves on the Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee. He represents the communities of Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights and Astoria.

 

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President calls for stronger gun laws following recent mass shootings


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Screenshot/whitehouse.gov

The day after New York passed some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, President Barack Obama signed a package of 23 executive orders that set parameters to reduce gun violence in the wake of several devastating shootings last year.

Seeking the recommendations of Vice President Joe Biden, the president put forth a push for background checks to prevent criminals from accessing firearms, school support for resource officers to work on emergency preparedness and guides for mental health workers with spotting and reporting threats of violence.

“[I] will sit at that desk,” he said, “and I will sign a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals and the public health community some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.”

Obama announced the plan 33 days after the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown. In attendance were children from across the country who wrote the president asking for stronger gun laws.

The president also suggested banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun clips, more than assault weapons, have been associated with mass shootings over the last few years.

Unlike the new New York law, which limits a magazine round to seven bullets, the executive directive suggests capping clips at 10 rounds – going back to the law under a 1994 to 2004 assault weapons ban.

Despite allegations that the presidents plans would go against the Second Amendment, Obama said these orders were targeted at illegal gun ownership and the violence it can cause.

“I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale,” he said. “I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown.  That’s what these reforms are designed to do.  They’re common-sense measures.  They have the support of the majority of the American people.”

It’s now up to Congress, Obama said, to require universal background checks and enforce a magazine limit that will keep the country safer. But to make Congress act and approve these limits, the American people have to speak, especially in districts with a strong pro-gun lobby.

“We’re going to need voices in those areas, in those congressional districts, where the tradition of gun ownership is strong to speak up and to say this is important.  It can’t just be the usual suspects.  We have to examine ourselves and our hearts, and ask ourselves what is important.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast with ice pellets and snow, then a chance of snow and a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 41. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 90% . Wednesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Quintet of the Americas’ Crystal Winter Concert 

Crystal Winter, a concert performed by Quintet of the Americas at the  Catholic Charities Bayside Senior Center, features projected images of crystals, snowflakes, winter scenes and Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night. Songs will include Adam Schoenberg’s Winter Music, Sammy Cahn’s Let it Snow, Quintet of the Americas’ improvisation Starry Night, Silver Bells and more. Audience members will also have the opportunity join the Quintet playing bells, water glasses keys. Concert starts at 12:15 p.m. Admission is free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

House approves $50.7 B in Sandy aid

Sandy victims are one step closer to receiving the relief money they need. After $9.7 billion in flood insurance funds were signed into law earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an additional $50.7 billion in aid. Read more: Queens Courier

NY passes toughest gun laws in country

Less than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to make New York the leader in gun safety, the State Legislature voted in favor of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement, or NY SAFE Act, that would effectively keep weapons away from the mentally ill and crack down on illegal guns. Read more: Queens Courier

Elderly Queens man beaten on J train

An elderly Queens man says he was beaten while riding the subway in Brooklyn last month and police are now looking for the suspect, who was captured on newly-released surveillance video. Read more: NBC New York

Parents scramble on eve Of NYC’s first school bus strike in 33 years

New York City school bus drivers were just hours from walking off the job Tuesday night, and thousands of parents were scrambling to find alternate transportation. Read more: CBS New York

Base of spire installed on roof of 1 WTC

Workers at the rising 1 World Trade Center on Tuesday installed the first piece of the spire that will make the 104-floor skyscraper the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. Read more: ABC New York

One man dies, one hurt minutes apart at New York subway station

One New York man was killed and another seriously injured in separate incidents just minutes apart at a Manhattan station during Tuesday’s rush-hour, authorities said. Read more: Reuters 

Quinn presents vision for improving New York City schools

Christine C. Quinn, the New York City Council speaker and a presumptive candidate for mayor, laid out in a speech on Tuesday a series of proposals for improving the city’s schools, which included replacing textbooks with computer tablets, creating online resources for parents and extending the school day for many students. Read more: New York Times

Obama to unveil gun violence measures Wednesday

President Barack Obama’s broad effort to reduce gun violence will include proposed bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as more than a dozen executive orders aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to stricter gun control. Read more: AP

NY passes toughest gun laws in country


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's flickr

Less than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to make New York the leader in gun safety, the State Legislature voted in favor of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement, or NY SAFE Act, that would effectively keep weapons away from the mentally ill and crack down on illegal guns.

The State Senate voted 43-18 in favor of a broad gun package around 11 p.m. on Monday, January 14; the Assembly voted 104-43 the following day, after hours of debate, to make the bill official.

Many opponents in the Assembly argued the bill was hastily thrown together in order for the state to be an example for the country. As a result, opponents said, registered gun owners would suffer.

Cuomo ratified the bill at the Capitol shortly after the Assembly’s approval:

“This was an extraordinary accomplishment by the legislature of this state,” Cuomo said before signing the bill. “This is a gun control bill if you will that actually exercises common sense.”

Cuomo said the limitations and amendments in the bill would not harm legal owners.

Limiting gun magazines to seven bullets was necessary, Cuomo said, “because the high capacity of magazines that give you the capacity to kill a large number of human beings in a very short time is not sensible for a civil society.” The seven-bullet cap, he added, would be enough for hunters and target shooters, while being too little for a gunman to do harm before police can respond.

People who are deemed unsafe to own a weapon by mental health professionals will have their licenses revoked or suspended under the bill. It also extends Kendra’s Law through 2017 to provide additional out-patient care for the mentally ill.

Assault weapons will now be banned under a “one-feature” test that will examine if a weapon has a detachable magazine that is associated with military weapons. The state formerly had a “two-feature” test that also factored in a gun that was semi-automatic.

Gun owners with weapons that will fall under this ban have one year to register the weapon with State Police from the bill’s effective date.

Queens senators immediately spoke to the success of the bill passing, promising that it would help make both the state and the borough safer against gun violence.

“As the first state in the nation to act on the need for more sensible gun laws following the horrific shootings in Webster, New York and Newtown, Connecticut,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “New York is saying “enough” and establishing itself as a leader in the fight against the brutal gun culture plaguing our nation. An early advocate for more sensible gun laws, I am proud one of my proposals is included in the NY Safe Act, whose passage sets the bar for the rest of the country to save the lives of innocent people.”

Senator Jose Peralta said the passage was the first step in curbing gun violence and aiding police to fight crime. The next step, he said, was to push for micro stamping on weapons, which would help crime fighters track guns.

“We also need to make it easier for law enforcement to put gun criminals in jail by making use of available technology,” he said. “That’s why we need to enact microstamping legislation, which has the support of police and prosecutors throughout the state.”

Senator Malcolm Smith, who has pushed for tougher gun laws in wake of the violence last summer, said the bill was a bipartisan success as gun violence affects all New Yorkers, regardless of party or location.

“Gun violence is a problem that affects all of us, urban and rural, Republican and Democrat,” he said. “That’s why we worked so hard on a bipartisan basis to address this critical problem.”

Smith dedicated the bill’s passage to mothers and families in southeast Queens who have lost their sons to gun violence.

“I hope today’s vote provides some level of comfort to the grieving mothers – Donna Hood, Shanee Johnson, and the families of Lloyd Morgan, Kenneth Archbold all of whom lost a love one due to the use of illegal guns.”

 

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At Queens shooting range, assault weapons not a concern


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

When the Woodhaven Rifle and Pistol Range opened 40 years ago, the scope of weapons patrons used was varied.

But for the past 20 years, because of the city’s and state’s ban on assault weapons, owner Don Spallone says high-powered guns are not a concern in the borough — unlike in other parts of the country.

“We’ve had the assault weapons ban since 1993,” said Spallone. “So we don’t really have that situation here.”

Shooting ranges garnered national attention after news broke that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza was taken to a Connecticut range by his mother, where the two would practice.

While the weapons used at the Woodhaven range — one of three in Queens — might vary, it is impossible to use an assault weapon at a range in the city.

Spallone said all sorts of gun owners come through his doors. Many, he said, start out seeking protection but later develop an interest as shooting as a sport.

On any given day, Spallone says patrons can include doctors, teachers and police officers who come in to either practice or test their weapons.

On concerns of continued gun violence in the city, Spallone said comparing the operations of a shooting range to illegal crimes would be like putting a pharmacist against a drug dealer. As a licensed firearms salesman, Spallone said he could not speak for why people might opt to illegally purchase a gun.

“I don’t know anything about that because I deal at the legitimate level,” he said.

But while the range is frequented by what Spallone calls a “United Nations,” restrictions against handgun licenses in the city are among the strictest in the country. It normally takes an applicant six months from being fingerprinted to getting approved for a pistol permit. During that time, the potential gun owner must go through a series of safety classes, usually offered at ranges.

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Governor Cuomo to give State of the State address Wednesday


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

Two years into his first term as governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo will deliver his annual State of the State address today at 1:30 p.m. from Albany.

In addition to discussing Sandy recovery, Cuomo is expected to propose an assault weapons ban.

In case you miss it, we’ll be posting a recap on QueensCourier.com.

Here are some facts about the State of the State from the governor’s website:

  • The State of the State address allows the governor to lay out his yearly agenda for the legislators and the people of New York.
  • Article XIII section 4 of the state constitution sets the day for the beginning of the legislative term as the first Wednesday after the first Monday in the month of January.
  • The State of the State address was traditionally held in the assembly chamber until Governor Andrew Cuomo moved it to the convention center.
  • Even today, the actual State of the State is a document given by the governor to the legislative leaders and not the speech that accompanies it.
  • The State of the State address used to be known as the Governor’s Annual Message until 1975 when Governor Hugh Carey referred to it as the State of the State.
  • Only three governors, Charles Poletti, John Tayler and Horace White, have never given a State of the State message.
  • Colonial governors gave speeches, but our first governors after winning Independence thought that was too pretentious and so instead delivered a written message to the legislature.

 

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