2011-02-25 / Columnists

Smith Speaks From Albany

Don’t Shoot NY
From The Desk Of Senator Malcolm Smith New York State Senate

MALCOMN SMITH MALCOMN SMITH Six people killed and 14 people wounded. The Arizona shootings captured the heart of the nation as the media filled the airwaves with updates of this senseless violence.

However, right here in Queens our community was being victimized by a different assailant who was just as deadly.

On Sunday, February 6, a 26-yearold female was shot and killed in St. Albans after a fight broke out at her house during a party.

On Thursday, December 23, 2010, a 19-year-old male was shot and killed in front of a bodega on the corner of Linden and Francis Lewis Boulevards. The killer remains at-large.

On Saturday October 23, 2010, a 54- year-old male was shot and killed inside of the Lucky Grocery & Deli on Merrick Boulevard, in Laurelton during a robbery.

Sadly, the list of shootings and senseless acts of violence involving illegal handguns goes on and on. I can tell you about the 16-year-old shot in the back on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in December, or the 18-year-old shot once in the right upper thigh on Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway.

Another 16-year-old girl was shot in the leg while attending a party. She was not alone; three of her friends were also wounded at the same party.

New York City, Arizona, Albany, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, pick a city and every day you will find the use of illegal handguns continues to plague our communities and country.

I went to the funeral of a young man who was shot dead for stepping on someone’s shoes. The assailant stood over him and pumped bullets into him in a signature gangland style popularized in movies like “Scarface” or the “Godfather.” Unfortunately, fiction becomes reality in these senseless acts of violence involving illegal handguns killing our kids and communities.

It is time to stand up and be counted. It is time to stop the violence. I am calling on you, community and civic leaders and anyone who cares enough to get involved and join me at a rally on February 27 in Manhattan to stop the violence. Don’t Shoot New York. The march and rally will be presented by Operation S.N.U.G., a statewide antigun violence initiative designed to save lives and create safer communities by decreasing shootings and killings in the communities across New York State with disproportionately high rates of gun violence. Operation S.N.U.G (GUNS spelled backwards) is modeled after Operation Ceasefire in Chicago.

The police are doing their part but they need help. You have to come forward, get involved and tell what you know. The solution to getting guns off our streets and reducing violence is you.

There are 10 Operation SNUG programs across New York State: Operation SNUG Albany - University of Albany School of Social Welfare / Trinity Alliance; Operation SNUG Buffalo - Community Action Organization of Erie County; Operation SNUG Brooklyn - Man Up!; Operation SNUG Harlem - New York City Mission Society; Operation SNUG Mt. Vernon - Ujamaa Community Development Corp.; Operation SNUG Niagara Falls - People and Possibilities; Operation SNUG Queens - King of Kings Foundation; Operation SNUG Rochester - Pathways to Peace; Operation SNUG Syracuse - New Justice Services; and Operation SNUG Yonkers - Yonkers YMCA. If you see something, say something. If you don’t want to call your local precinct, than call your local S.N.U.G. office.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has put forth an ambitious package of legislation to rid the streets of illegal guns. When he was a New York State senator, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also introduced legislation that would help eliminate this problem by using the process of microstamping in which lasers are used to make tiny engravings on internal mechanisms so that when a gun is fired, information identifying the make, model and serial number will be stamped onto the cartridge. Now we are calling on President Barack Obama and Governor Andrew Cuomo to pass legislation on the national and state levels to keep illegal guns off our streets.

White or black, rich or poor, illegal guns terrorize neighborhoods and tear apart families. Our children are dying at the hands of gun violence, but through our commitment to S.N.U.G., we can put a stop to that deadly trend now and return our streets to their rightful owners, the people of New York.

This year, thousands of people will needlessly die as a result of gun violence, and many of them will be young people. Operation S.N.U.G. and solutions like micro-stamping are both vital to a new age of community safety in the 21st Century. It [legislation] will provide the support anti-violence programs like S.N.U.G. and Ceasefire Chicago need to help us save lives.

Join me on February 27 at 2:30 p.m. at the United Nations (1st Avenue at East 42 Street, NYC). Save a life by getting involved. Don’t Shoot New York!

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