de Blasio Firearm letter by CelesteKatz


                  Bill de Blasio – PUBLIC ADVOCATE

August 15, 2012

Honorable Sheldon Silver
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building, Room 932
Albany, NY 12248

Honorable Dean G. Skelos
Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
Legislative Office Building, Room 909
Albany, NY 12247

Dear Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos,

The recent events in Aurora, Colorado and Oak Creek, Wisconsin provide ample cause for
reflection on our nation’s approach to gun control. New York State and New York City have
similarly seen spikes over the last several months in the number of gun-related crimes. These
cases remind us of the tragedies so often accompanied by illegal gun possession and poor firearm
regulation. As policy makers, we assume a great burden of responsibility in ensuring that our
laws and regulations relating to firearm production, licensing, and ownership requirements are
both strong and sensible. State leaders – especially Governor Cuomo – have demonstrated strong
leadership in this regard. However, each avoidable death is a call to action: we should take every
effort to strengthen laws in New York State which improve our ability to combat gun violence. It
is in this vein that I write to express my support for increasing legislative power and oversight of
the firearm industry in New York State.

We have the opportunity to act in the State legislature to ensure New York has the strongest gun
control laws in the country. New York presently ranks fourth of all fifty states on the Brady
Campaign to Combat Gun Violence State Scorecard, and has been widely recognized for its
efforts to curb illegal gun markets, mitigate risks to children, and restrict assault weapons. Here
in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has worked to foster a necessary national debate
on common-sense gun control.

Despite these strengths, we have room for improvement. In particular, we have no regulations
which would prevent bulk purchasing of handguns or ammunition, and we don’t go far enough to
require background checks for every gun purchase. We can further improve our record-keeping
of firearm and ammunition sales, and mandate gun safety education. These areas are ripe for
improvement – it just takes committed State action to expand our enforcement. I commend
recent efforts of Senator Michael Gianaris to bring these issues to the forefront of our State
legislature’s agenda in the coming months.

In order to plug loopholes opened by federal inaction, we should take steps to promote industry-
wide standards in firearm manufacturing. The clearest example of this is to require
microstamping technology in New York State. Legislation requiring microstamping has the
backing of law enforcement, community leaders, and elected officials across the state, yet has
faced resistance in Albany by powerful lobbyist groups. Strong action on this issue by the New
York State Legislature would bolster our State’s leadership in strong and sensible gun control

I urge you to carefully consider and support legislative efforts which would make New York
State the strongest enforcer of gun laws in the country.


Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York

Cc: Michael Gianaris
New York State Senator, 12th Senate District

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