2008-04-18 / Top Stories

Assembly Passes Gun Safety Bill

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer has announced that the Assembly passed a package of gun safety bills that will help law enforcement officers track down illegal guns, keep guns out of the hands of felons and children, and ban advanced weaponry used to kill police officers.

"We need to pay special attention to who has access to firearms and fight to reduce gun violence, which currently claims the lives of about 30,000 Americans a year.1 We can't allow youngsters and criminals to get their hands on these devastating weapons," said Pheffer.

In order to better keep track of certain firearms, Assemblywoman Pheffer sponsored legislation that passed the Assembly requiring that semiautomatic pistols manufactured or delivered to any licensed dealer in New York State be capable of micro stamping, and establishes fines for violations of this requirement (A.9819-A).

Micro stamping ensures that when a gun is fired, information identifying the make, model and serial number of the gun is stamped onto the cartridge as numbers and letters. This technology allows law enforcement officials to trace firearms through cartridge casings found at crime scenes, even if the crime gun is never found. This will provide law enforcement with rapid leads at crime scenes in the first few hours after a homicide or other gun related crime.

Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, minors

Assemblywoman Pheffer also sponsored legislation to crack down on the sale, delivery or transfer of firearms that do not contain a childproofing device or mechanism that effectively prevents its firing by the average 5- year-old (A.829). Assemblywoman Pheffer also supported legislation to create the Children's Weapon Accident Prevention Act, which creates new crimes for failing to secure weapons safely and directs the commissioner of education to develop a weapons-safety program for schoolchildren (A.76-A).

"We need to take additional steps to ensure that guns in the home don't pose a threat to children and others who shouldn't have access to them," said Pheffer. "This legislation provides a mechanism to prevent further unnecessary tragedies."

Banning "cop-killer" weapons, ammunition

Assemblywoman Pheffer sponsored legislation that will continue the Assembly's efforts to protect the state's law enforcement officers by banning the use of exploding and armor piercing "cop-killer" bullets (A.3447), as well as banning the sale, use or possession of .50-caliber or larger weapons (A.2772-A). The state ban on assault weapons would be expanded to include additional military-style or assault weapons, a necessary step after the federal assault weapon ban was allowed to expire in 2004 (A.7331-A).

"Assault weapons and exploding bullets serve no purpose in society and exist only to maim and murder the law enforcement agents who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. This package helps eliminate the use of deadly military weapons by keeping them out of the hands of violent criminals," said Pheffer.

"We need better laws to prevent senseless violence," said Pheffer. "This package of bills gives law enforcement officials the tools they need to better protect and serve our communities."

The legislation is still awaiting action by the Senate.

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