Tag Archives: Assemblymember Carl Heastie.

NY pols want to create publicly available gun offender registry


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Peter Vallone Jr.

New York politicians are shooting for an open statewide gun offender registry.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced legislation Wednesday to make the city’s gun offender registry publicly available online and create a similar statewide registry.

Vallone will introduce the bill tomorrow in a City Council meeting. State Senator Jeffrey Klein and Assemblymember Carl Heastie will introduce bills in the Senate and Assembly to create a statewide registry.

Vallone, who is the chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, helped create the city’s gun offender registry in 2006. It is currently only available to the NYPD and doesn’t include law-abiding firearm owners.

Diaz and Vallone want the state to follow suit.

“New York City’s gun offender registry has kept the spotlight of the law on the most dangerous criminals among us—and it is time for the entire state to follow in our footsteps and utilize this effective crime-fighting tool, which helped the NYPD and Commissioner Raymond Kelly make New York the safest big city in America,” Vallone said.

The proposal comes at a time when Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials are up in arms against guns following several tragedies around the country.

Also, on August 19 Bloomberg and Kelly announced the largest seizure of illegal guns in city history as cops recovered 254 firearms and indicted 19 people.

Bloomberg and Kelly touted the controversial stop-and-frisk policy as a reason that selling illegal weapons in the city was more difficult, because one of the men arrested was heard saying he couldn’t bring the weapons to Brownsville, Brooklyn because of the practice.

New York stats show criminals convicted of gun possessions are more likely to be rearrested when compared to other felonies, according to Vallone. There were 595 eligible gun offenders in New York City as of December 2012 and 302 of them are back in jail.

“We cannot allow these violent offenders to slip through the cracks upon their release from prison, and these bills will keep residents and law enforcement officers across the state well aware of their locations,” Vallone said.

 

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Bill would expand taxis to outer boroughs


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The New York City Assembly recently “hailed” legislation that may prove “golden” for livery cabs.

The bill — passed on January 23 and carried by Assemblymember Carl Heastie from the Bronx — will allow the city to issue 18,000 hail accessible inter-borough licenses (HAIL), which permit livery cab drivers to pick up pedestrians. Twenty percent of the licenses will go to accessible vehicles, in order to offer more transportation options to citizens with disabilities. The legislation has already been agreed upon with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state.

“For too long, persistent transportation problems within New York City have gone unanswered, leading to a nearly nonexistent taxi presence outside of Manhattan’s Central Business District and a troubling lack of vehicles for people with disabilities,” said Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who co-sponsored the bill. “This new plan will afford New Yorkers in underserved areas greater access to taxicab service in and around the city. This will also lead to more revenue for the city of New York, helping protect vital programs for seniors and hardworking families.”

Under the legislation, the city will issue the new licenses over the next three years. New York will also be authorized to issue as many as 450 new base permits, increasing the number of taxi dispatching services and generating $1.3 million in revenue.

In addition, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will issue 2,000 new taxicab licenses for vehicles that are accessible to people with disabilities. As part of the agreement, TLC will also be required to provide grants of up to $15,000 to retrofit HAIL vehicles to accommodate people with disabilities and establish a program to support the introduction of handicapped-accessible vehicles into the HAIL vehicle fleet.

Despite the vast support the bill reportedly received in the Assembly, Fernando Mateo, the founder and spokesperson for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, is unsure if the increase in HAIL’s will have a positive effect.

“This is a bill that the governor has signed, and we expected some amendments to be made by the Assembly and Senate,” Mateo said. “We are no longer going to oppose what has been done. Instead we will assist those drivers who want to participate in the program. We believe the program has a lot of pluses and minuses. In the last 80 years, there have been only 13,400 yellow medallions issued, so it is questionable in my mind whether they can sell even near the 18,000 licenses they will issue. The math doesn’t add up, and it doesn’t make much sense. But let’s see what will happen.”