July 27, 2006Remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
“The next group of bills before me are Introductory Numbers 362-A, 363-A, 364, and 365-A, sponsored at the request of the Administration by Speaker Quinn, Council Members Vallone, Brewer, Clarke, Comrie, Felder, Fidler, Gonzalez, James, Koppell, Liu, Mark-Viverito, Martinez, Monserrate, Nelson, Recchia, Stewart, Vann, Weprin, Garodnick, McMahon, Gioia, Gennaro, Sears, Dilan, Foster, Jackson, Yassky, Katz, and Oddo, and the Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum. Introductory Number 362-A is also sponsored by Council Members Addabbo, Gentile, and Gerson. Introductory Number 363-A is also sponsored by Council Members Addabbo, Gentile, and Mealy. Introductory Number 364 is also sponsored by Council Members Mealy and Palma. Introductory Number 365-A is also sponsored by Council Members Addabbo, Gentile, Mealy, Gerson, and Rivera.
“These bills comprise a groundbreaking legislative package that will help our City combat gun violence. They will make enforcement of our gun laws more effective, strengthen our efforts to prevent illegal gun sales, and help us to continue making the safest big city in America even safer.
“Public safety is the foundation of our City’s prosperity. Although we have driven crime to a 40-year low, we’re not letting up one bit. Far from it. These bills demonstrate how serious we are about continuing to do even more to prevent crime and improve public safety. Confronting head-on the scourge of illegal guns – which last year were used to kill more than 300 New Yorkers – is a central part of our strategy.
“In my State of the City speech in January, I asked Speaker Quinn, Public Safety Committee Chair Vallone, and the entire City Council to work with me to enact common sense legislation that will help us crack down on illegal guns. I congratulate the Council for working with us to fashion four bills that will make our City safer.
“Introductory Number 362-A would establish a Gun Offender Registry requiring certain individuals convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the second or third degree to register with the Police Department and report to NYPD every six months. This is the first legislation of its kind in the nation. We know that gun offenders are more likely to be rearrested than other felons and four times as likely to be arrested for homicide.
“For this reason, our Administration urged the State legislature to create a 3½-year minimum sentence for people who carry a loaded illegal handgun. In response, I’m pleased to say, the legislature recently passed such a bill. When signed into law, that bill, coupled with this registry and Gun Courts, will ensure that gun offenses are treated seriously and prosecuted fully. Gone will be the days when those who are arrested for carrying loaded illegal guns are let back on the street with no jail time – which is turnstile justice at its worst.
“Introductory Number 363-A would require City gun dealers to perform physical inspections of inventories twice a year and report to the Police Department. Without stringent inspection guidelines, corrupt gun dealers may ‘lose’ guns or claim they have been stolen when they are actually sold illegally. Nationally, more than 13,000 guns are reported lost or stolen annually, contributing to illegal trafficking. This increased accountability will allow the Police Department to investigate legitimate gun theft promptly and target rogue gun dealers.
“Introductory Number 364 would limit handgun purchases in the City to one every 90 days, making it more difficult for gun traffickers to purchase guns through straw buyers.
“Introductory Number 365-A would ban the use and sale of gun coloration kits used to paint guns to look like toy guns. Coloring guns in bright fluorescent shades makes them easily mistakable for toy guns, which could have deadly consequences for Police Officers who must make critical, split-second decisions.
“These four bills are an important part of the City’s comprehensive three-prong approach to combating illegal guns: stronger enforcement, new legislation and innovative litigation. It will now be harder and riskier to buy and sell illegal guns in our City, and that’s great news for all law-abiding citizens.
“I would like to thank Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt and his staff, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and his staff for their help on this legislation and their commitment to protecting New York City. I would also like to thank Speaker Quinn and Council Member Vallone for their their leadership in moving these bills quickly through the Council, and for their commitment to join me in Albany and Washington.”
Stu Loeser / Jennifer Falk