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Senator unveils plan to crack down on illegal guns and criminals who use guns

ALBANY - Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) announced a package of what he calls “commonsense“ tough, gun safety measures to eliminate the sale and possession of illegal guns and increase penalties for people who use guns to commit crimes. Statistics show illegal guns are used in the vast majority of gun crimes in New York State.

The proposals come in the wake of horrific recent incidents including the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; the ambush and killing of two volunteer firefighters in Webster, New York; the shooting incidents that injured three NYPD officers just two days ago; and the cold-blooded killing of a Nassau County police officer and a motorist last October.

The measures include: increased mandatory prison time for possession and sale of illegal weapons; stiffer penalties for criminals who use guns to commit felonies; life in prison without parole for individuals who kill on-duty emergency responders; increased penalties for possession of a gun on school grounds and school buses. Other provisions would enact stronger criminal penalties for selling or possessing guns in children’s homes and the use of guns in gang violence.

“We need to target illegal guns so innocent people don’t become targets for criminals who have them.  The statistics prove that the overwhelming majority of gun crimes involve the use of illegal guns”, Senator Skelos said.   “No new package of gun safety laws can be truly effective without including provisions that go after illegal guns and punish the people who use them against others.  Our goal is safer homes, safer neighborhoods and safer schools.  Our proposal would achieve that goal.”

Nearly 90 percent of firearms used in gun crimes in New York City, and 70 percent statewide, come from out of state. Last year 3,443 illegal guns were seized in New York City alone. Over 10,500 guns were recovered in the past three years.

In the first four months of 2012 eight New York City police officers were shot by criminals with illegal guns.  A total of 12 police officers were shot the whole year.  This past Thursday, three more police officers were shot and injured in New York City.  Just today it was revealed that one of the victims, a Bronx police officer, was shot with an illegal gun.

Key provisions of the Skelos bill:

  • Cracking down on illegal guns and criminals who use guns
  • Stricter prison sentencing for illegal weapon possession and sale
  • Stiffer penalties for criminals who use guns to commit felonies
  • Increase penalties for those who murder emergency responders
  • Register and track violent felons
  • Increase penalties for possession of a gun on school grounds and school buses
  • Longer sentences for illegal gun sales and possession in children's homes
  • Gang violence reduction