Tag Archives: gun control

Obama taps Biden to head task force on gun violence


| brennison@queenscourier.com


In an effort to prevent another tragedy like last week’s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to head a task force to develop a concrete plan no later than January to curb gun violence in the country.

“The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence, doesn’t mean that we can’t steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence,” Obama said at the White House five days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The administration-wide effort led by Biden will include outside organizations and address an issue of gun control and violence that has not often been broached in Obama’s first term.

Biden’s hand in writing the now-expired 1994 bill banning assault weapons made him the right man for the job, said Obama.

The president said he wants a plan no later than January that he will “push without delay.”

“I will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed the at preventing more tragedies like this,” the president said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has long been critical of Washington’s lack of progress on gun control, said he is encouraged by the president’s statements and that it was a “step in the right direction.”

“The country needs his leadership if we are going to reduce the daily bloodshed from gun violence that we have seen for too long,” Bloomberg said. “The task force must move quickly with its work, as 34 Americans will be murdered with guns every day that passes without common sense reforms to our laws.”

Bloomberg demands a plan to end gun violence


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo by Edward Reed

Dozens of Americans affected by gun violence joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall for the release of 34 videos renewing the call for the federal government to reduce gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The 34 videos each tell the personal story of survivors and family members of victims of gun violence, one video for each of the 34 Americans killed daily by guns.

“Gun violence is a national epidemic — and a national tragedy — that demands more than words. It demands immediate national action, from the president and from Congress. It needs to be at the top of their agenda,” Bloomberg said.

The videos can be viewed at demandaplan.org.

Survivors and family members of deceased relatives from shootings in Aurora, Tuscon, Virginia Tech and Columbine told their stories on the series of two-minute videos of the trauma they continue to face following the tragedies.

“While I was laying in my hospital bed and watching the news, I heard a lot of public officials offering their condolences, but I guess I’m still waiting for all of that to turn into some sort of policy that will prevent these mass tragedies from happening to anyone ever again,” said Stephen Barton, a survivor of the movie theater shooting in Aurora.

Among the legislation Bloomberg demanded passed when the 113th Congress convenes next year was closing the gun show loopholes and requiring all gun purchases to be subject to background checks, reinstating the ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and making gun trafficking a felony.

Queen’s Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’s FORECAST 

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 54. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Monday night: Overcast with rain. Fog overnight. Low of 48. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.9 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: “How Much Do I Owe You?”

No Longer Empty is proud to announce its 14th exhibition in the Clock Tower in Long Island City. The iconic former Bank of Manhattan building has opened its doors, vaults and even illuminate The Clock Tower to host an immersive and ambitious site-specific exhibition. As the title implies, “How Much Do I Owe You?” is a personal and conversational exploration into the new iterations of currency, value and exchange at this time of financial flux, growing debt and job insecurity. Open now, Monday-Thursday, 1-7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Triumph of Civic Virtue is moved to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn

The Triumph of Civic Virtue, the controversial Queens statue that has divided local lawmakers and residents for decades, has moved to greener pastures. Read more: New York Daily News

Cuomo delivers $154 million in federal Sandy aid

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered the first federal aid since Superstorm Sandy hit New York – more than $114 million for New York University Langone Medical Center and $40 million to help remove debris on Long Island. Read more: ABC New York

Report: City to offer ‘bounty’ to landlords to ban smoking in apartments

Smoking has been banned in New York City restaurants since 1995, in bars since 2002, and in parks and beaches since last year. Read more: CBS New York

Teachers say they don’t feel prepared to teach new Common Core standards before April state exams

Teachers across the city do not feel adequately trained to prepare students for upcoming state exams aligned with new, more rigorous standards called Common Core, according to a survey conducted last month by the United Federation of Teachers. Read more: New York Daily News

Extell’s chief thinking tall for Midtown

Gary Barnett, one of New York’s leading developers, is planning a new Midtown skyscraper that could rise 300 feet higher than the Empire State Building, and he’s has hired the architect who designed the world’s tallest tower. Read more: Wall Street Journal

‘These tragedies must end,’ Obama says

President Obama vowed on Sunday to “use whatever power this office holds” to stop massacres like the slaughter at the school here that shocked the nation, hinting at a fresh effort to curb the spread of guns as he declared that there was no “excuse for inaction.” Read more: New York Times

Gun control debate begins to simmer after massacre

Democrats say meaningful action in the wake of last week’s elementary school shooting must include a ban on military-style assault weapons and a look at how the nation deals with individuals suffering from serious mental illness. Read more: AP

 

 

 

Officials unveil plan to curb gun violence


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

Community outreach and communication highlighted a pledge from officials and an announcement of a nine-point plan to put a ceasefire to gun violence in southeast Queens.

The plan, revealed by District Attorney Richard A. Brown and a number of elected officials on Friday, August 17, came on the eve of a buy back program in Jamaica to curb violence in the region.

“The combination of easy access to guns, violence fueled by disputes between rival gangs and competing criminal enterprises vying for turf, decreases in police resources in high crime neighborhoods and community reluctance to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes has contributed to a sudden, deadly increase in gun violence in recent weeks – especially in southeast Queens,” Brown said.

The points look to: send the message that possession of and carrying guns and insinuating violence is unacceptable in the area; inform residents that guns can be turned in at any precinct for $100 cash at any time; a campaign to encourage people to report illegal weapons, and strengthen “If You See Something, Say Something”; back legislation to limit criminals and the mentally ill access to assault weapons and handguns; enforce existing gun laws; better dialogue between police and residents; up police resources in areas where violence has increased; make efforts to shutter illegal businesses and limit night hours of establishments where crime is prominent; and give more information to residents about existing programs.

“We’re not going to be idling and sitting back while people are dying,” said Congressmember Gregory Meeks.

Homicides were up this year nearly 29 percent in Queens South from 2011, according to data provided by the DA’s office; shooting incidents in the area were up more than 22 percent, with 121 this year.

After school and violence prevention programs for young people are also crucial to this plan, several officials said.

Assemblymember Vivian Cook said funding for programs needed to be restored to schools to help deter students from being out on the street or getting involved in gangs.

“Let’s also talk about programs and things for these young people to help them stay off the street,” Cook said. “The programs have been cut in the schools. I think it’s important that these programs come back into the schools so that these children can be involved in some of those things.”

The push for “If You See Something, Say Something,” is to encourage residents to report any violence or suspicious activity — anonymously.

Meeks, formerly an assistant DA, said the reluctance, or fear, by residents to report incidents or provide witnesses hindered cleaning up crime in the area.

“I know firsthand as a former DA that without a witness you don’t have a case,” Meeks said. “The police can do all the work that they want but if you don’t have someone to step up, then you don’t have a case.”

 

Hear no evil, see no evil?


| editorial@queenscourier.com


In the 1970s it was the summer of Son of Sam.

Today it’s the summer of shootings.

Just last week Sergeant Craig Bier became the 10th NYPD officer shot in the line of duty this year. The 15-year veteran, who boasts some 60-plus medals and citations, was shot in each leg during a firefight after he and his partner stopped a man who they said looked suspicious.

And, as The Courier was going to press, three people were killed near Texas A&M University when a man opened fire from a nearby house. According to reports, at least 30 rounds were fired before SWAT officers shot and killed the suspect.

This is the third mass shooting in the nation this summer, coming on the heels of the Aurora, Colorado, movie massacre and Wisconsin temple tragedy.

We ask again: WHAT IS GOING ON?

IS NOWHERE SAFE?

At this point, politicians can no longer turn a blind eye to the violence.

Our cops are getting shot, our kids are getting shot. Pretty soon we won’t be able to leave our homes for fear of never returning.

Now is the time to stand up.

Write, call, email — TODAY — and tell your local senator and congressmember, even the president, that you are in favor of gun control.

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Phone: 202-456-1111

 

Senator Charles Schumer: 322 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington D.C. 20510

Phone: 202-224-6542

 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: 780 Third Avenue Suite 2601

New York, New York 10017

Phone: 212-688-6262

Gianaris bills would make NY toughest on guns


| brennison@queenscourier.com


In the wake of multiple massacres across the country and an increase in shootings citywide, a state politician is calling for New York to become the nation’s leader in gun control.

State Senator Michael Gianaris introduced a bevy of bills in Albany that would strengthen the state’s gun laws, making them the toughest in the country.

“There’s been a rash of incidents not only around the country, but in New York. It’s clear that gun violence is getting out of control,” Gianaris said. “I think people in this state are fed up, they’re saying enough is enough, it’s time to make some sensible changes to keep guns off the street.”

Shootings in the city are up 12 percent this year, the senator said.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which ranks states on the strength of their gun control laws, ranked New York fourth in the nation behind California, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Gianris worked with the Brady Center on the bills that, if passed, would strengthen the areas the Brady Center found the state to be weak — firearm trafficking and background checks.

Purchasers of firearms would also be required to complete a safety training course, limit purchases to one per month and close several loopholes.

Similar laws are already on the books in New York City, where residents can only purchase one firearm every 90 days, a bill sponsored by Councilmember Peter Vallone.

On the national level, Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued to call out President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for their relative silence on guns.

“Just two weeks after the tragedy in Aurora, we’ve seen another mass shooting,” the mayor said Monday in Richmond Hill. “And still the two presidential candidates have not given the American public a plan to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”

He said his attempts to reach out to the candidates have been met with “deafening silence.”

“The two presidential candidates cannot continue avoiding an issue that is one of the most serious threats we face as a nation,” Bloomberg said.

Gianrias agreed federal intervention is necessary.

“Ultimately, the best answer would be a solution coming out of the federal government or Congress, because we can improve New York as best we can and we should, but there is still guns coming in from out of state because other states have even more lax laws.”

The blame game


| editorial@queenscourier.com


The NYPD says politicians need to do more, the politicians say it’s out of their hands.

Bottom line — gun violence is escalating, leaving in its wake a trail of blood, tears and shattered lives.

Councilmember James Sanders has taken District Attorney Richard A. Brown to task, citing the lack of gun buyback programs in Queens over the course of the last three years.

But we wonder why Sanders, who represents the area where three men were killed and another critically injured in an AK-47 shooting, has not hosted his own gun buyback.

There is no reason he couldn’t organize one in his district, or even encourage residents to turn in their firearms to their local police precinct and receive $100 – no questions asked.

Sanders does have discretionary funding, after all.

What really needs to happen, though, is cooperation.

The NYPD cannot do it alone.

So instead of levying blame, the politicians should be fighting FOR the cops, not AGAINST them.

Bottom line — something needs to be done — NOW — to get guns off the streets and end the bloodshed.

The good & ugly


| editorial@queenscourier.com


THE GOOD . . .

Taking back our streets.

We applaud the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) — and all others like it — in their efforts to curb vandalism.

Though we are lovers of art, we feel that graffiti is a blight on our communities.

It lowers the value of area homes and reduces sales in business districts.

And though the NYPD has resources allocated to graffiti removal, it is an uphill battle.

Often, spots that have been cleaned of vandalism will be retagged days — sometimes hours — later.

So bravo, WRBA, for your vigilance in finding, chronicling, and cleaning graffiti.

And, working with the NYPD, we hope that your efforts will help take some graffitists off the streets, making Queens a cleaner, more beautiful place to live.

THE UGLY . . .

In unrelated incidents, a two year old and a four year old fell victim to the latest spate of gun violence.

That brings the tally to three.

Three children, all under the age of five, have been hit by stray bullets this summer.

When will the madness end?

If the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, which left 12 dead and 58 injured, is not enough to spur action, then this should be.

We MUST urge our legislators to increase gun control. It is time we stood up.

Write, call email – TODAY – and tell your local senator and congressmember – even the president – that you are in favor of gun control.

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Phone: 202-456-1111

 

Senator Charles Schumer: 322 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington D.C. 20510

Phone: 202-224-6542

 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: 780 Third Avenue Suite 2601

New York, New York 10017

Phone: 212: 688-6262

Urge Turner to support gun control


| editorial@queenscourier.com


It seems to me that Congressmember Bob Turner’s standing with others to raise thousands of dollars for the family of slain Police Officer Peter Figoski might soften his views against gun control. 

I implore him to stand with Congressmember Carolyn McCarthy to ban the sale of extended capacity ammunition magazines.  Extending background checks on purchases made at gun shows and other sensible laws may prevent the deaths and maiming of countless innocent citizens like Arizona’s Congressmember Gabrielle Giffords and the young girl and five others attending her rally a year ago.

Turner, stand up to your responsibly as our representative in Congress.

Vote for strong gun control laws. Tell the NRA that no one hunts with AK-47s.

B K Brumberg,

Howard Beach