Tag Archives: State Senator Jose Peralta

Op-Ed: Essential steps in the fight against gun violence


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Peralta new

BY STATE SENATOR JOSE PERALTA

As the sponsor of 14 gun bills, I couldn’t be happier to see long overdue action fi nally taken on common-sense measures to protect New Yorkers from gun violence.

From revoking the gun permits and confi scating the fi rearms of domestic abusers and the mentally ill, to requiring background checks and law enforcement oversight for private gun sales and ammunition purchases, to requiring periodic statewide recertifi cation of gun licenses, a good deal of the legislation I have sponsored and fought for is in this package.

After what we saw happen in Newtown, Connecticut, and in Rochester, strengthening New York’s assault weapons ban became an urgent and pressing priority. And we are adopting perhaps the toughest assault weapons ban in the country.

I applaud the governor for his perseverance and commitment. Above all, I want to thank him for his leadership. Making it harder for criminals to get guns, and keeping fi rearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, are essential steps in the fight against gun violence.

We also need to make it easier for law enforcement to put gun criminals in jail by making use of available technology.

That’s why we need to require microstamping, a simple, inexpensive technology that stamps a code—invisible to the naked eye—on the shell casings ejected when a gun is fired.

The microstamps on recovered shell casings give law enforcement the ability to identify a gun used in a crime and determine where and when it was purchased and who bought it.

Not surprisingly, my bill requiring that handguns made or sold in New York be equipped with microstamping technology has the support of police and prosecutors throughout the state.

And there’s absolutely no logical, coherent reason for not requiring microstamping in New York—or at least not one that has been articulated yet.

We’re told that requiring microstamping would put our state’s gun manufacturers out of business. Yet one of the reasons we needed to toughen New York’s assault weapons ban is because many high-powered rifl es now in production are exempt from the current ban.

Why? Because manufacturers altered their products to circumvent the law.

So ignoring the law is profi table, but complying with a microstamping requirement would be bad for business?

That’s a business model that has no business in New York.

In addition to making it harder for criminals to get guns, we need to make it easier for law enforcement to put gun criminals in jail. Longer jail sentences won’t make a difference if we’re not catching the people who need to be locked up.

And please: Let’s not waste any more time on the nonsense that a microscopic code on a shell casing constitutes an assault on the Second Amendment rights of sportsmen and law-abiding gun owners.

New Yorkers deserve better than that. Especially those waiting on justice for a loved one lost to gun violence.

Senator Jose Peralta serves on the Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee. He represents the communities of Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights and Astoria.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

NY passes toughest gun laws in country


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's flickr

Less than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to make New York the leader in gun safety, the State Legislature voted in favor of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement, or NY SAFE Act, that would effectively keep weapons away from the mentally ill and crack down on illegal guns.

The State Senate voted 43-18 in favor of a broad gun package around 11 p.m. on Monday, January 14; the Assembly voted 104-43 the following day, after hours of debate, to make the bill official.

Many opponents in the Assembly argued the bill was hastily thrown together in order for the state to be an example for the country. As a result, opponents said, registered gun owners would suffer.

Cuomo ratified the bill at the Capitol shortly after the Assembly’s approval:

“This was an extraordinary accomplishment by the legislature of this state,” Cuomo said before signing the bill. “This is a gun control bill if you will that actually exercises common sense.”

Cuomo said the limitations and amendments in the bill would not harm legal owners.

Limiting gun magazines to seven bullets was necessary, Cuomo said, “because the high capacity of magazines that give you the capacity to kill a large number of human beings in a very short time is not sensible for a civil society.” The seven-bullet cap, he added, would be enough for hunters and target shooters, while being too little for a gunman to do harm before police can respond.

People who are deemed unsafe to own a weapon by mental health professionals will have their licenses revoked or suspended under the bill. It also extends Kendra’s Law through 2017 to provide additional out-patient care for the mentally ill.

Assault weapons will now be banned under a “one-feature” test that will examine if a weapon has a detachable magazine that is associated with military weapons. The state formerly had a “two-feature” test that also factored in a gun that was semi-automatic.

Gun owners with weapons that will fall under this ban have one year to register the weapon with State Police from the bill’s effective date.

Queens senators immediately spoke to the success of the bill passing, promising that it would help make both the state and the borough safer against gun violence.

“As the first state in the nation to act on the need for more sensible gun laws following the horrific shootings in Webster, New York and Newtown, Connecticut,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “New York is saying “enough” and establishing itself as a leader in the fight against the brutal gun culture plaguing our nation. An early advocate for more sensible gun laws, I am proud one of my proposals is included in the NY Safe Act, whose passage sets the bar for the rest of the country to save the lives of innocent people.”

Senator Jose Peralta said the passage was the first step in curbing gun violence and aiding police to fight crime. The next step, he said, was to push for micro stamping on weapons, which would help crime fighters track guns.

“We also need to make it easier for law enforcement to put gun criminals in jail by making use of available technology,” he said. “That’s why we need to enact microstamping legislation, which has the support of police and prosecutors throughout the state.”

Senator Malcolm Smith, who has pushed for tougher gun laws in wake of the violence last summer, said the bill was a bipartisan success as gun violence affects all New Yorkers, regardless of party or location.

“Gun violence is a problem that affects all of us, urban and rural, Republican and Democrat,” he said. “That’s why we worked so hard on a bipartisan basis to address this critical problem.”

Smith dedicated the bill’s passage to mothers and families in southeast Queens who have lost their sons to gun violence.

“I hope today’s vote provides some level of comfort to the grieving mothers – Donna Hood, Shanee Johnson, and the families of Lloyd Morgan, Kenneth Archbold all of whom lost a love one due to the use of illegal guns.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Pols call for safety measures after second subway shove death


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hokachung

After a second New Yorker was pushed to his death in a subway station last month, a pair of local pols are calling for the MTA to take measures to ensure the safety of city straphangers.

Sunando Sen, 46, was killed Thursday, December 27 when he was shoved in front of an oncoming No. 7 train at the 40th Street/Lowery Street station in Sunnyside.

Police arrested and charged Erika Menendez, 31, of Rego Park, with murder as a hate crime after the suspect allegedly told investigators she pushed Sen because of her scorn for Muslims and Hindus.

“I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims. Ever since 2001 when they put down the Twin Towers I’ve been beating them up,” she allegedly told detectives.

Menendez, who was seen at the station muttering to herself before shoving Sen, is reportedly undergoing psychiatric evaluation to determine if she is mentally stable.

“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare — being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” said District Attorney Richard Brown. “Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant’s actions can never be tolerated by a civilized society.”

This marked the second incident in December that someone was pushed to their death in a subway station. Ki-Suk Han, 58, of Elmhurst, was killed on December 3 when he was pushed in front of a Q train at the 49th Street-Seventh Avenue station. Suspect Naeem Davis was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Aside from the two push deaths, 52 other straphangers were killed on subway tracks this year, whether by accident or suicide.

Among the safety steps State Senator Jose Peralta and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer proposed to prevent further fatalities were installing sliding doors, an intercom system that could connect riders with the Rail Control Center and more security cameras.

“It does strike me that in a post-9/11 world that there are no cameras at any stop,” Van Bramer said at a recent press conference.

The station where Sen was killed did not have any working cameras; Menendez was captured fleeing by nearby surveillance cameras.

“In less than a month, two of my constituents have been pushed onto subway tracks and killed,” Peralta said. “I urge the MTA to immediately act on common-sense measures to improve rider safety and security.”

Installing barriers between passengers and the train would “be both expensive and extremely challenging,” the MTA said in a statement. The agency did say though that they are considering testing such equipment “on a limited basis.”

— Additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

Queens politicians eyeing run for borough president


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

bp

Although Helen Marshall still has one year left on her third term as borough president, several big names are rumored to be eyeing a run for the job.

Councilmember Peter Vallone said that although he hasn’t made an official announcement yet, he’s seriously considering running for the borough presidency. Vallone, who currently represents Astoria, said he’s been traveling throughout Queens and getting a good reception from residents.

“I’m getting a great reception,” he said. “I am very pleased with the amount of support we’re finding.”

Vallone went on to say he would further his work in the city council if elected borough president.

“I’ve lived every day of my life in Queens,” he said, “and I’ve been fighting for Queens for the last 10 years.”

About $1 million has been raised for Vallone’s campaign, which he said is significantly higher than any other potential candidate.

While State Senator Jose Peralta’s office could not comment as to whether he is considering running, a committee has been formed called “Peralta 2013,” according to the State Board of Elections (BOE). The committee is active and is listed as a local committee for Queens County, said John Conklin, a representative from the BOE.

Another councilmember expected to run is Leroy Comrie, who currently represents the 27th District in the borough.

At deadline, Comrie was not available to discuss his interest in running for the spot. A campaign page on Facebook, however, was created in December 2011.

Others who have been rumored to run for BP were not able to confirm or deny a potential campaign.

Help prevent foreclosure


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

By State Senator Jose Peralta

The mortgage crisis has wreaked havoc across the country.  Millions of Americans have lost their homes.

Queens has consistently been at or near the top of the list of counties in the state hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

And the crisis is not subsiding.  According to a study recently published by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, one in nine homeowners in Queens is currently delinquent 90 days or more on their mortgage – or is in foreclosure.

Some of the communities I represent have been hit especially hard by the crisis.  In Corona, nearly 20 percent of homeowners are currently delinquent 90 days or more on their mortgage or are in foreclosure.  The rate is 15 percent in East Elmhurst and 10 percent in Jackson Heights.

In light of the alarmingly high rates of seriously delinquent mortgages, I hosted a forum recently for struggling homeowners in conjunction with State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and local non-profit agencies working on foreclosure prevention.

The attorney general’s office and community-based organizations, such as Queens Legal Services and Neighborhood Housing Services of Northern Queens, provided advice and hands-on assistance to homeowners facing potential foreclosure.

But in a single two-hour session, it’s impossible to even scratch the surface of the problem.

That’s why I am also asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to continue funding a program that provides homeowners with counseling, legal assistance and help negotiating with banks.  Funding for the state’s $25 million Foreclosure Prevention Services Program expires at the end of the year.

Four recent studies conducted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that housing counseling increases the likelihood that homeowners will be granted a loan modification by 200 percent and that counseled borrowers received more favorable terms on their loan modifications, including lower monthly payments.

Similarly, legal representation at the mandatory settlement conferences helps to level the playing field for homeowners.  The banks they are negotiating with are always represented by an attorney.  When homeowners are also represented, the process is more fair, more efficient and ultimately more successful in achieving the best possible outcome.

The impact of foreclosed and abandoned homes can be costly and devastating on communities.  Studies show that violent crime increases on blocks where a house goes into foreclosure.  Other costly effects include lost tax revenues and declining home values.

We are all well aware of the intense and competing demands for painfully limited budget resources.  But investing in foreclosure prevention helps save money, keep families together and preserve communities.