While the city continues to debate the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk campaign, it is becoming clear that leaders must develop more effective and less offensive ways of getting guns off the street.
Stop-and-frisk has had success. Hundreds of illegal guns have been confiscated and the people carrying these guns face prison sentences. But the number of gun users caught with a weapon represents a small percentage of those searched by the police.
The commissioner argues this is the most effective way to counter gun violence.
There are better ways. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer introduced five resolutions calling for stricter gun control in response to two recent shootings in the Queensbridge Houses.
At a rally demanding an end to the gun-related violence, Van Bramer introduced Amy, a 15-year-old girl who lives in Queensbridge. She was hit in the left hand by a stray bullet that came through her window while she was doing homework.
The councilman called on the state Legislature to:
1. require a 10-day waiting period for all firearm purchases
2. limit gun purchases to one per month
3. require gun purchasers to take a safety course
4. restrict ammunition sales from being sold at establishments that do not sell firearms
5. require background checks for all firearm purchases
But gang members and other criminals are not getting their guns from legitimate sources. There is a black market bringing guns into New York City. There needs to be greater interstate cooperation to stop the gun trafficking. Pressure must be put on gun manufacturers to make it more difficult for the traffickers to get their hands on guns.
A legislator in Staten Island has called for a mandatory 25-year sentence for anyone who uses a gun in a violent crime. The assumption is that gang members will be more afraid of a 25-year sentence instead of a 10-year term.
Sadly, the gang members shooting at each other aren’t thinking about tomorrow any more than they think of the innocent child who might get hit by a stray bullet.
Stop-and-frisk and the councilman’s five proposals may help, but the long-term solution lies in shutting down the traffickers. The manufacturers and their friends at the NRA need to help in this effort.
©2012 Community News Group
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