Tag Archives: Malcolm Smith

Bill would toughen punishment for illegal guns

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The day before a man shot and killed a former co-worker near the Empire State Building, State Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblymember William Scarborough introduced a bill that would increase the punishment for illegal gun possession.

The legislation would change the penalty from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony, which has a sentence of at least five years in prison.

“We need a comprehensive approach through new legislation as well as through new gun detection technology,” said Scarborough. “This bill underscores the need for stricter gun laws in this city and state, especially because of all of the gun violence plaguing this city.”

Police said that Jeffrey Johnson bought the .45 caliber handgun that he used to kill Steven Ercolino August 24 legally in Florida in 1991, but illegally brought it to New York.

New York City does not honor gun permits from other states.

“Whether or not the shooting today involved an illegal gun, the fact remains that guns are in people’s hands and they are using them. We need to send a clear message in this state and to the people of New York City, that if you have a gun in your possession and you shouldn’t have it, you are going away,” said Smith.

At a recent gun buyback event in Jamaica, co-sponsored by Smith, 509 guns were surrendered.


Queens gun buyback brings in more than 500 weapons

| tpetropoulosedit@queenscourier.com

File photo

With no questions asked, hundreds of people walked into New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Jamaica and turned in 509 guns over the weekend.

The gun buyback program, the first since 2009, netted an AK 47, tec-9, 245 revolvers, 168 semi-automatic pistols and a Calico 9mm with a 50 round capacity magazine.

Participants received $200 for handguns and $20 for rifles and shotguns in exchange for their weapons.

“I’m excited about [the gun buyback program], not in a good way, because I wish all these guns were not on the street, but I am excited that they are coming in,” said State Senator Malcolm Smith, who co-sponsored the program with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “With the feedback we had today, I am encouraged that the people are starting to say ‘You know what, enough is enough, I am going to be part of the solution.’”

As of August 5, shootings have seen a nine percent increase in New York City this year compared to last year, with 882 shooting incidents so far, according to NYPD data.

“I am all for this gun buyback program,” said Donna Hood, a member of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church who lost a son, Kevin Lamont Miller Jr., to a stray bullet in Jamaica in 2009. “I still have a son to raise, so if this program will make it a little safer for kids that we still have on the streets, that’s alright with me.”

Malcolm Smith denies Republican run for mayor

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Malcolm Smith #8

Conflicting reports have come out about a Democrat state senator considering a run for mayor next year as a Republican.

The New York Post reported on Wednesday, August 1, that State Senator Malcolm Smith, who was the majority leader when the party held the senate, was in talks with the state Republican party about running in 2013. The Post reported that Smith confirmed he was in talks with the party.

A spokesperson for the senator, however, said the six-term state lawmaker was focusing on his re-election campaign for the 14th District, which is made up of the Rockaways and areas of southeast Queens.

“Malcolm Smith is focused on running for re-election for New York State Senator for which he has proudly served the people of the 14th electorial district over 12 years,” the spokesperson said. “He is honored that party leaders are considering him for the office of the mayor of New York City but no decision has been made.”

At deadline, state GOP chair Ed Cox had not responded to a call for comment.

If Smith was to run as a Republican, he would need backing from party leaders in at least three boroughs.

Queens GOP chair Phil Ragusa said neither the party, nor Smith, had contacted Republicans in the borough about getting an endorsement. He went on to say that Smith — if he does decide to run for the GOP — would most likely not pass the party’s screening process.

“We ask a question if you’ve ever done anything that would embarrass yourself, or the Republican party, and I don’t think he could pass that test,” Ragusa said.

Republicans have won almost every mayoral election over the last 20 years. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani won in 1993 and 1997; incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg won in 2001 and 2005. Bloomberg won his third term as an Independent in 2009, after changing party affiliation in 2007.

Other Democrats, who have discussed running as Democrats, include City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.