Guns: A Complex Problem
I am writing in response to your recent editorial regarding “Community’s failure to Address Shooting Plague.”
I am a social worker working at a Mental Health Facility in the Rockaways for the past 16 years. The majority of my work is with gang members from the community, so I feel that I am able to address your concerns.
Firstly, I cannot disagree that the Rockaway community has a serious problem with gun violence. However, I’d like to address and clarify several comments that editorial made.
It indicates that “there should be stricter laws for those carrying guns and even stricter laws for those using them to commit a crime.” If you speak with any police officer in the 100 or 101 precinct, they will confirm that NY City has the strictest gun laws in the country.
I, personally, have a “Residence Permit” that allows me to keep my pistols locked in my gun safe when I am not home, and I can transport my gun to and from a pistol range for target practice. From my professional experience, most of the young men who illegally carry guns either are of borderline intelligence or lower. They are either oblivious to the laws governing carrying guns or don’t care about them.
Making gun laws “stricter” as you suggest, would only make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to get a gun permit and would have no effect at all on those who carry guns illegally.
The editorial mentions “Project Snug.“ From what I have read in the media, the funding for “Snug” was channeled from funds from “Project Ceasefire.” Project Ceasefire was a highly successful program in Chicago, and, more recently, in Irvington, NJ. From what I have read, our local politician chose to allocate the funds amounting to $500,000 a year, to two former drug dealers who were to speak to students in our schools to avert violence. This is NOT what Project Ceasefire was intended to do. Project Ceasefire has been HIGHLY successful in the communities that it is involved with. However, it requires the cooperation of the local police precincts: specifically, it requires them to not be involved. I highly doubt if the 100 or 101 precinct in Rockaway would be willing to step aside and let Project Ceasefire intervene when necessary.
I agree that gun violence in Rockaway has escalated. However, solving the problem is far more complex than your editorial suggests.