Tag Archives: aurora

Op-Ed: Sensible gun laws would make our streets safer


| editorial@queenscourier.com

BY SENATOR MICHAEL GIANARIS

Recent horrific acts of gun violence should lead us all to say “enough is enough.” It is long past time to improve our gun laws and make our streets safer. Almost every day, we hear about another senseless attack in New York City, where the number of shootings over the last year has increased by 12 percent, as well as mass murders resulting from gun violence across the country, highlighted by the recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and in Milwaukee.

While New York currently has some effective gun laws, more can be done to strengthen our laws and prevent further tragedies. That is why I introduced a package of sensible gun bills which, combined with previously introduced legislation by my colleagues, would make New York the nation’s toughest on guns, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

One of the largest loopholes in our gun laws is their inability to sufficiently address firearm sales on the illegal secondary market, which is where guns that had been previously purchased legally are re-sold, unregulated and off the books. Transactions taking place on the secondary market do not follow the legal standards and requirements mandated for purchase from licensed dealers. Data from the year 2000 shows that 20 percent of all retail handguns recovered from crimes were purchased in a multi-firearm sale. A key component in my proposals would limit gun purchases to one per month, which would help prevent gun traffickers from making bulk purchases and reselling them to people who should not have them.

Another loophole in current gun laws is the ability to purchase a firearm on the secondary market without undergoing a background check. Firearms sold privately between individuals are not regulated and therefore do not require a background check, accounting for up to 40 percent of all gun sales nationwide. It is easy to imagine a scenario where someone who knows he or she would fail a background check getting a friend to make a legal purchase only to turn around and sell the gun to him or her without scrutiny. Another one of my bills would limit the possibility of such illegal sales by requiring private firearm sales to be conducted through a licensed firearm dealer so that a background check on the prospective buyer is conducted.

My sensible gun proposals would close other loopholes relating to the ability to purchase a gun, including establishing a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of a firearm, requiring all prospective gun owners to obtain a firearm safety certificate and establishing a 10-year record retention policy for all gun and ammunition sales. Bills requiring the microstamping of ammunition for all handguns, introduced by Senator Jose Peralta, and banning assault weapons, introduced by Senator Daniel Squadron, would also better ensure our public safety and help solve crimes.

My package of bills would not only help decrease the number of gun violence attacks in New York by preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands but would also set an example for states across the country to establish stronger, more responsible regulations. These sensible measures have received a wide range of support not only among state legislators but also from the Brady Campaign, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, law enforcement officials and labor groups. The recent nationwide rash of gun violence highlights the need for stricter gun laws as too many weapons are falling into the wrong hands and causing unnecessary pain and suffering to innocent individuals and their families. I look forward to seeing this coalition of support grow as we continue to push for the passage of these important measures.

Laughing Devil hosts fundraiser for Colorado shooting victim


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of supportcaleb.com

While increased security at local movie theaters and debate over gun control brought the Aurora, Colorado, shooting closer to home, a Queens comedy club came together to raise money for an aspiring comedian who was injured during the rampage.

On Monday, July 30, the Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City hosted a fundraiser for Caleb Medley, a victim of the Colorado “Dark Knight Rises” shooting that left 12 dead and wounded nearly 60 others. Medley, an up-and-coming comic, was shot while protecting his then-pregnant wife who gave birth shortly after the massacre to the couple’s first child, Hugo.

Scott Sharp, Laughing Devil’s manager and a Colorado native who knew Medley from the Denver comedy circuit, described the wounded father as an “incredibly nice guy who loves comedy.”

The fundraiser formed quickly with the assistance of Laughing Devil manager Steve Hofstetter. The club runners decided that instead of hosting a comedy showcase, constricted by the venue’s limited seats, the event would instead be a laid-back evening of “hanging out at a bar with a lot of very funny people.”

One hundred percent of the proceeds generated from ticket sales and 50 percent of all drink sales were donated to help pay the uninsured Medley’s hospital bills, which could reach an estimated $2 million.

The event raised roughly $1,000. According to Sharp, many people donated even if they were unable to attend. He said they just wanted to help someone in need.

“It shows how the comedy community rallies for one of their own,” said Sharp. “It shows how people want to help someone in need, especially someone in their own field.”

According to Hofstetter, outcry from the comedian community has been insurmountable and thousands of dollars have been donated to help Medley and his family from comics across the country on the fundraising website, www.supportcaleb.com.

“When one of us suffers, we all do,” said Hofstetter.

 

Long Island City comedy club to hold fundraiser for Aurora shooting victim


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Laughing Devil

On the day James Holmes was charged for the shooting at a Colorado movie theater, a Long Island City comedy club will hold a fundraiser for one of the shooting’s victims.

The charity event will take place tonight at the Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City for Caleb Medley, who was one of 70 moviegoers shot at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” on Friday, July 20 in Aurora, Colorado.

Holmes was formally charged today with 24 counts of murder for the shooting. He was in Colorado courtroom on Monday afternoon where he was also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder. Twelve people were killed and 58 injured in the shooting.

Medley is an aspiring comic who was shot while protecting his pregnant wife, the Laughing Devils’ website says. His wife has since given birth.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and costs $15. All money from the cover will go to Medley, with 50 percent of the drink sales also being donated to cover his hospital bills.

 

Headlines from around the web


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Penn State tears down Paterno statue

On the same day construction workers with jackhammers dismantled the iconic statue of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno that had stood outside Beaver Stadium for 11 years, the NCAA said it will announce sanctions against the university Monday morning during a press conference. NYDailyNews 

“Dark Knight Rises” stars express sorrow after shooting

“Dark Knight” actress Anne Hathaway, says she’s grieving for the victims and families affected by Friday’s tragic mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. “My heart aches and breaks for the lives taken and altered by this unfathomably senseless act,” Hathaway said in a statement issued Sunday. NYDailyNews 

Five killed, three injured in Queens accident

Five people were killed, including two children, when a speeding SUV blew through two red lights, slammed into a concrete pillar and rolled over several times in Queens early Sunday, police and witnesses said. The black Mercedes Benz SUV came to rest against a fence and then burst into flames around 3:15 a.m. Emergency workers said the horrific wreck was one of the worst in recent memory. NYDailyNews 

Queens man dead after ATV crash

A Queens man is dead after police say he crashed his ATV into a metal pole Saturday night. Investigators said 33-year-old Dave Thomas was riding his ATV on the sidewalk on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica when he hit the pole. NY1

Critically injured Aurora victims may not live

The mayor of a Denver suburb that was the site of one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history says some victims are still terribly injured and may not live. Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan says he and his staff visited victims in various hospitals on Saturday. He told ABC’s “This Week” that some victims must still undergo major surgery. NYPost 

Headlines from around the web


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

New Yorkers injured in Colorado “Dark Knight Rises” shooting

At least two local men survived the Aurora massacre – a Brooklyn band member, who posted graphic photos of his injury online, and a recent graduate of Syracuse University. Christopher Rapoza, who plays bass for the punk band The Toothaches, described the horror at the Colorado theater, showing off the grazing wound on his back and his blood-soaked T-shirt. NYDailyNews

Movie security stepped up in NYC after Colorado shooting

In response to the horrible shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly promised to station officers at city theaters showing the newest Batman installment, stating that most theaters would have at least two cops on duty in addition to a vehicle parked outside. Yesterday, signs of increased security already began to show, as cop cars sat in front of the AMC Empire 25 Theater on West 42nd St in Times Square and uniformed officers stood guard at the Regal Cinema in Union Square—and many New Yorkers shaken by the Aurora massacre were happy to see them. Gothamist

Man arrested after stabbing HIV shelter-manager to death

A deranged man was arrested after he stabbed an Upper West Side shelter manager to death yesterday, cops said. Bernardo Paulino, 34, allegedly slashed John Baisley, 56, several times about 12:30 p.m. at the Camden Residence Hotel on 95th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam, authorities said. NYPost

Ex-finest in charge at Aurora

He once patrolled the tough precincts of New York — but it’s in a normally safe Denver suburb that the former high-ranking NYPD cop is probing one of the worst crimes the country has ever seen. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates’ stellar career in the Big Apple began with midnight shifts in gritty city neighborhoods. NYPost 

Diehl won’t miss Giants camp after unscheduled court appearance

Giants lineman David Diehl, who was busted for drinking and driving last month, won’t have to worry about missing the first day of training camp — he made an unscheduled appearance in Queens Criminal court this morning. NYPost 

 

NYPD to amp up protection at theaters in wake of shooting


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of WB/Ron Phillips

In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado massacre on opening night of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the NYPD announced they will provide police presence at theaters showing the film.

“As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is playing in the five boroughs,” Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.

Kelly said at a press conference this afternoon that he will have two officers stationed at 40 theaters throughout the city.

There was no police presence outside College Point Multiplex Cinema Friday afternoon, but moviegoers did not seem worried.

“That’s in Colorado – not New York. Anything can happen, but I’m not scared,” said Chris Nardi, 19, of Elmhurst.

A gunman opened fire at a Colorado movie theater killing 12 people and wounding dozens more.

Reports have identified 24-year-old James Holmes as a suspect who was taken into custody.

“I’m a big Batman fan…Unfortunately last night, somebody took it to the next level. I don’t know what was going on through his head. Maybe he took the movie too seriously. Maybe he thought that was how life really is. Unfortunately, he took it out on innocent people who were trying to have a good time. It’s a real shame,” said David Nisbett, 24, of Bayside.

“It’s not enough to prevent me from having a good time. It is enough to keep my eyes open while I’m having a good time because anything can stop that at any moment.”

— Additional reporting by Melissa Chan