Assemblywoman Grace Meng Vows to Make Public Safety, Microstamping Top Priorities in Congress

Assemblywoman Grace Meng today called for immediate action on the part of state and federal elected officials to pass a series of pro-law enforcement gun laws that would, among other things, require all new semiautomatic pistols to be capable of microstamping ammunition.

Microstamping would imprint a unique alpha-numeric code on each ejected cartridge casing, enabling law enforcement to connect cartridge casings found at the scene of a violent crime to the weapon that was used, who first purchased the gun, and where and when the gun was sold. Assemblywoman Meng joins more than 80 police departments and law enforcement organizations from across New York that support microstamping. Microstamping would be an invaluable tool for law enforcement to get violent criminals off the streets, identify trafficking patterns and make our streets safer.

Assemblywoman Meng was joined on the steps of Queens Borough Hall by Senator Jose Peralta and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, whom Meng praised for their hard work and diligence on a number of gun safety laws in their respective legislative bodies.

Shootings are up across New York City. During the period of July 2 – July 8, 2012, 77 New Yorkers were shot across the five boroughs; this represents a 28% increase over the number of New Yorkers shot during the same week last year. According to NYPD statistics, 672 separate shooting incidents have been reported so far this year – a 10.9% spike from the 606 reported through the same time last year. There were 802 shooting victims this year, compared with 743 in 2011 – a 7.9% spike. More than 17,000 homicides in New York City have gone unsolved over the last three decades. Microstamping is the DNA for guns, a tool police need to help remove murderers from our streets.

Despite its widespread support from law enforcement officials and its ability to make our streets safer, microstamping legislation has to date been killed by the NRA on both the state and national levels. The Republican Party and the NRA have become radicalized in recent years. Once upon a time, the NRA actually supported responsible gun ownership and pro-law enforcement gun laws; today, it reflexively opposes most gun laws and deceivingly pretends they are assaults on constitutional rights. We can see from where the Tea Party has taken its cues.

Assemblywoman Meng stated, “Oftentimes, the only evidence left behind at the scene of a shooting are bullet shell casings. By finally passing microstamping legislation on the state and national levels, we can begin to deter violent crimes associated with guns, make our streets and neighborhoods safer, and more easily track down and bring criminals to justice. It’s the least we can do for our men and women in blue who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.

Senator Peralta and Assemblywoman Schimel have been trailblazers on this issue in New York, and I have enormous respect for them for standing up to special interests and fighting to keep our streets, our policemen, and our children safe. This is exactly the kind of work we need from our elected officials.”

Senator Peralta said, “I am proud that Assemblywoman Meng is breathing new life into the microstamping cause at such a critical time, when we are again witnessing senseless deaths on our streets. Technology has blessed us with a fair and practical way to improve the safety of our streets, and unfortunately it has been blocked to date by the NRA. 

I am thankful that Assemblywoman Meng has taken up this fight, and I am confident that she is just the sort of consensus-builder we need in Washington to reach across the aisle and pass sensible gun legislation.”

Assemblywoman Meng pledged advocacy for legislation that would call for a number of other gun safety provisions, including, but not limited to:

·         Giving judges the authority to strip individuals of their guns and permits to possess them if they are involuntarily committed to an institution, forced into outpatient treatment, or acquitted of a crime by reason of mental illness or defect;

·         Protecting victims of domestic violence by requiring judges issuing orders of protection to ask about the existence and location of firearms owned or possessed by defendants;

·         Enforcing existing Federal law by ensuring that all individuals prohibited from buying a firearm are uploaded to the national instant criminal background check system

·         Requiring a background check for every firearm sale;

·         Requiring all new semiautomatic handguns be capable of microstamping

·         Requiring employees of dealers in firearms and gunsmiths submit to criminal background checks.

In support of Assemblywoman Meng’s initiative, Assemblywoman Schimel noted that, “This is just common-sense. More innocent people will die until the NRA and elected officials put the concerns of the general public and law enforcement’s public safety ahead of those of the special interest gun lobby and gun industry. Assemblywoman Meng has a proven track record of cutting through partisan bickering and passing meaningful legislation, and I look forward to working with her to advance sensible gun control legislation in New York and nationally.”

Jackie Hilly, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said, “More than 40% of homicides nationally go unsolved each year and 40% of all gun sales are conducted without a background check. It is too difficult for law enforcement to solve gun crimes and too easy for convicted criminals to buy guns. Assemblywoman Meng is standing with law enforcement to help reverse this and to help this country enact the sensible gun laws it so desperately needs.”

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall remarked, “I applaud Assemblywoman Meng for her strong support for gun safety measures, including microstamping ammunition. This July has already experienced a horrible weekend of gun violence that results in 16 killings in 18 shootings across the city. Assemblywoman Meng recognizes that we must use every measure we can to protect the lives of residents and police officers.”