Sen. Michael Gianaris Prepares Gun Control Package
(nydailynews.com)- BY Ken Lovett: Here is the lead item from my "Albany Insider" column this week: State Sen. Michael Gianaris points to recent gun violence in New York City, not to mention the Colorado massacre, as he crafts a package of bills to give New York the country’s toughest gun laws. And that was before a gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee. Gianaris, a top Senate Democrat from Queens, puts at the centerpiece of his legislative program a bill to limit handgun purchases in the Empire State to one per person per month — a move supporters say would help to curtail gun trafficking.
New Jersey and California already have such a law. Earlier this year, Virginia repealed a similar provision that had been on the books for 20 years, much to the consternation of Mayor Bloomberg, who warned the change would fuel the “iron pipeline” of illegal guns being smuggled into New York for sale on the black market.
Gianaris hopes to introduce his bills as soon as this week. The proposals would impose a 10-day waiting period for firearm purchases, and seek to close a loophole by requiring background checks for all gun sales, even those between a private seller and buyer.
Dealers would be mandated to report all firearm and ammunition sales within 24 hours to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services; the records would have to be kept on file by the state for at least a decade.
Gianaris will also push bills that would limit ammo sales to permitted dealers only, and require gun buyers to take a safety course.
“New York has more than our fair share of gun violence, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be leading the nation in providing for the safety of our citizens,” Gianaris said.His slate of bills is in addition to measures already pending before the Legislature — a ban on assault weapons; a requirement for cartridge-case microstamping to help solve gun crimes; and a measure to strengthen laws providing for guns to have child-safety locks.
Gianaris has worked on the legislative plan over the past several weeks along with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a leading national gun control advocacy group. Each year, the Brady Center ranks states according to its gun-control laws. Last year, New York’s laws placed as fourth toughest, trailing California, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Gianaris said his proposals are designed to remedy areas where the Brady Center gave New York low marks.
Jackie Hilly, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, called the package “a good one, and something we should consider.”
Gun-control measures have been a tough sell in the GOP-controlled state Senate in recent years, though the microstamping bill also failed to pass when the Dems controlled the chamber in 2009-10.
Gianaris hopes the high-profile mass murders in Arizona, Colorado and Wisconsin will make the state Senate more receptive, regardless of which party wields power next year.