Mayor Hopes New Laws Reduce Local Gun Crimes | News, Sports, Jobs

Emily Parkin

Gov. Kathy Hochul signs a package of bills Monday to strengthen gun laws in New York. The state hopes to lessen gun violence and gun-related deaths.
AP photo

The city of Jamestown is currently in the midst of its longest stretch without a gun crime or gun-related arrest this year.

The city’s streak through Monday’s City Council meeting had lasted four days.

Other cities weren’t as lucky. From Friday through Sunday, shootings across the country included house parties, a graduation party, a girl killed at a sleepover in Detroit, a night club shooting in Tennessee and a hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Sundquist traveled to Albany on Monday to watch Gov. Kathy Hochul sign New York’s latest package of gun violence prevention legislation before speaking about the issue to City Council members.

“As you all know there is a huge issue in almost every urban area with gun violence and we are certainly not immune to that,” Sundquist said. “One of the things I was asking the police chief the other day is, we have a board down in the police department with the number of days we’ve gone without a gun incident, whether it’s the confiscation of a gun or some type of gun-related incident. Most days the chief, correct me if I’m right or wrong, it hovers around one or two. We’ll have gone one or two days without an incident. We’re at four now, so a weekend. And I want to remind folks that this weekend across the United States there were countless numbers of gun violence incidents — 15 people dead, 60 people wounded in various incidents across the nation. It’s here. It is in the city of Jamestown and something we need to address.”

Mayor Eddie Sundquist speaks during Monday’s City Council meeting about the state’s newly signed gun legislation as Councilman Tony Dolce, R-Ward 2 and council president, looks on.
P-J photo by John Whittaker

Legislation passed last week and signed into law Monday by Hochul includes:

¯ S.9458/A.10503 requiring individuals to obtain a license prior to purchasing a semiautomatic rifle. Under preexisting New York state law, individuals must be 21 years or older to acquire a gun license.

¯ S.9407-B/A.10497 making it illegal to purchase and sell body vests for anyone who is not engaged in an eligible profession. Eligible professions include law enforcement officers and other professions, which will be designated by the Department of State in consultation with other agencies. It also requires that all body vest sales are completed in-person.

¯ S.9113-A/A.10502 expanding who may file an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) petition to include health care practitioners who have examined an individual within the last six months and amending the firearm licensing statute to ensure that mental health practitioners’ reports on potentially harmful individuals are considered closely when determining whether to issue a firearm license.

¯ S.4116-A/A.7926-A requiring the Division of Criminal Justice Services to certify or decline to certify that microstamping-enabled pistols are technologically viable and if certified as viable, to establish programs and processes for the implementation of such technology; and establishes the crime of the unlawful sale of a non-microstamping-enabled firearm.

¯ S.9456/A.10504 expanding the definition of a “firearm” to include any weapon not defined in the Penal Law that is designed or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive. This is intended to capture firearms that have been modified to be shot from an arm brace, which are evading our current definitions of firearms and rifles.

¯ S.9229-A/A.10428-A eliminating the grandfathering of large capacity ammunition feeding devices that were lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of the Safe Act or manufactured prior to 1994.

¯ S.89-B/A.6716-A creating the crimes of making a threat of mass harm and aggravated making a threat of mass harm.

¯ S.4970-A/A.1023-A requiring enhanced reporting by law enforcement to the state and federal gun databases. Agencies must report seized or recovered guns to the criminal gun clearinghouse; participate in the ATF’s collective data sharing program; and enter the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the gun into the national crime information center.

¯ S.4511-A/A.7865-A requiring social media networks in New York to provide a clear and concise policy regarding how they would respond to incidents of hateful conduct on their platform and maintain easily accessible mechanisms for reporting hateful conduct on those platforms.

¯ S.9465/A.10501 creating a new Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism. Housed in the Office of the Attorney General, the Task Force will study and investigate the role of social media companies in promoting and facilitating violent extremism and domestic terrorism online.

“These are some of the laws that were enacted today,” Sundquist said. “We’re hoping this helps the city reduce some of the guns. It is a small step. There is a still a lot more needed in terms of mental health and additional support. Trust me, we all agree there needs to be more funding. This is a small step toward that. We hope our federal partners will start to critically look into the issue of gun violence. I can’t tell you how often, every day, I get an email from our mayors’ group about gun violence and trying to do something.”


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