Tag Archives: second amendment

President calls for stronger gun laws following recent mass shootings

| tcullen@queenscourier.com


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.”





Politics Aside: Are NYC’s gun laws unconstitutional?

| RHornak@queenscourier.com

After years of complaints by all but the most ardent anti-gun activists, New York City’s insanely strict gun laws are finally being exposed for the unconstitutional mess they are after two separate incidents in December in which tourists, with all the proper permits from their home states, were arrested for possessing firearms.

In the first case, a man visiting from California was boarding a plane at LaGuardia and traveling with a legally-licensed gun that was being transported according to federal aviation law. When he declared the gun that was in his checked baggage, he was arrested for illegally carrying a firearm in NYC.

A week later, a woman visiting from Tennessee, with a legal carry permit from her home state, was arrested while visiting the 9/11 memorial. Upon seeing a sign that said “no guns allowed” she approached a police officer to inquire where she could check the .32 caliber pistol she carried in her purse.

Both of them are facing the possibility of serious jail time, stiff fines and huge legal bills, even while making every effort to comply with the law as understood. This is so clearly an egregious application of our overly restrictive gun laws that even Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver has called for leniency and a review of NY’s gun laws to make sure they make sense. When NY’s biggest industry is tourism, we can’t jeopardize our standing as one of the nation’s top attractions.

Putting aside the constitutional issues for a moment, we should have reciprocity with the other 49 states for visiting gun owners. We have reciprocity in dozens of other areas that are not even rights, but privileges. In NY, we recognize drivers’ licenses from any state, marriage contracts (including same- sex marriages), and all sort of other arrangements. Imagine if we arrested people driving through the state for not getting a license here, or if we refused to allow a spouse to visit their loved one in the hospital because we refused to recognize a marriage contract from another state.

That is the equivalent of what we do in NY. In fact, NYC’s laws are so much more restrictive than those even at the state level, that a hunter living on Long Island could be arrested while driving upstate with his rifles to go hunting.

We need to remember that the right to own a gun is protected by the constitution. The idea that every visitor should understand NY’s byzantine and oppressive gun laws is ludicrous. We should respect those that want to exercise their second amendment rights while making every effort to comply with basic, common sense gun laws. That includes for NY citizens as well, but that is another issue.

Robert Hornak is a Queens-based political consultant, blogger, and an active member of the Queens Republican Party.