Even before Gov. Cuomo signed a set of new gun measures into law last week, New York State had stiff regulations around firearms. Last fall, Guns & Ammo magazine ranked the Empire State dead last in its list of “Best States for Gun Owners”.
New York’s gun laws might be one reason why the Empire State has the nation’s 13th lowest murder rate. But that doesn’t mean New Yorkers are totally insulated from gun violence, as the mass shooting in Brownsville two weeks ago (one of 441 shooting incidents in the city so far this year) illustrated.
Still, New York’s gun laws are relatively right, and a large share of the guns recovered by New York police (at least the ones subjected to federal tracing) come from out of state. That raises the question of what more New York can do to reduce gun violence in the wake of the tragedies in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton.
Sen. Michael Gianaris joined the WBAI Max & Murphy Show to discuss that agenda on Wednesday. He said senators planned to again take up a measure to require the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services to release quarterly data on the origin of crime guns. And he talked through the curious history of a provision of the 2013 SAFE Act pertaining to ammunition-purchase background checks that was delayed indefinitely by a memorandum of understanding between the governor and a Republican leader.
The real debate, Gianaris made clear, is on the national level:
The overarching problem is a national one. We have a federal government that is captive to the NRA, refuses to take measures to make the country safer, we are the worst country in the world as it relates to being sensible and restrictive about firearms, and I think given that we have babies and children gunned down in grade school, and yet the NRA continues to hold sway over congress and keep them from doing anything about it. I think the answer’s going to be electoral. I hope in 2020 people will realize that if they want the kind of change that would make them safer, they need to have a different group of elected officials.
Gianaris also discussed the Albany agenda in 2020, questions about his ideological consistency and how the Queens DA race might have reshaped the borough’s politics. Her our conversation below or listen to the full show for a discussion about wrinkles in state prison policy:
Sen. Michael Gianaris
Full Show of August 7, 2019
With reporting by Cyan Hunte