Tuesday, 06 September 2011

NYC Mayor Calls for Stricter Federal Gun Laws

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With New York City seeing an increase in gun-related violence in recent weeks, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) is now calling for more stringent federal gun control laws to address the problem. The legislation Bloomberg is calling for is reported to be some of the strictest in the country.

Much of Bloombergs inspirations came after Labor Day weekend, after a series of shootings took place in New York. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The shooting of a police officer in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, on Monday night punctuated a Labor Day weekend burst of violence that left at least 10 dead and more than 50 injured since Friday morning. An innocent woman sitting on her stoop and two men with guns were killed in the Monday evening shootout, officials said. One police officer was shot in the arm, another was wounded by bullet fragments.

Among the gunmans victims is an 11-year old boy, and two girls, aged 13 and 14.

Likewise, according to the New York Post, gunfire erupted within the vicinity of the mayor during the West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn. A number of shootings took place at or near the parade, the Post reports.

The Mayor is now using the weekend of violence to demand stricter restrictions. We cannot tolerate it; there are just too many guns on the streets and we have to do something about it, he said. Bloomberg was very specific about what needs to be done to tackle the problem: We need the federal government to step up. Both ends of Pennsylvania Ave., both sides of the aisle.

Bloomberg made the call even as New York ranks among cities with the strictest gun control laws in the country. The Blaze notes that possession of an unlicensed handgun requires mandatory jail time (even for an NFL celebrity like Plaxico Burress).

In Glenn Becks book Arguing With Idiots, he outlined the difficult and tenuous task of attempting to acquire a residence permit for a handgun in Manhattan, New York. The book tracked the experience of a Glenn Beck staffer in his effort to obtain the license, who discovered the endless amount of bureaucratic red tape, expense, and complications that revolve around the process of obtaining the permit. The process took up an entire page in the textbook sized book. Beck summed it up as follows: Total time wasted: 6-12 months. Total money spent: $500-$1000. Having a handgun in spite of the New York City elitistspriceless.

Though New York is technically a may issue state for firearms, some assert that it is more along the lines of a no issue state, unless of course the person seeking the permit has connections. New York City has recently been targeted for its inconsistencies regarding Second Amendment rights. The Sun reported in 2007 that the number of New Yorkers who may carry pistols legally droppedwhile permits issued to allow people to keep pistols in their home increased.

A spokesman for the National Rifle Association seized upon those statistics and declared that the drop in permits reflected the citys preference to give only wealthy New Yorkers gun permits. Among those wealthy New Yorkers are Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Robert DeNiro, and Ronald Lauder. NRAs Andrew Arulanandam said, If youre a plain Joe or Jane, youre out of luck, and theyre the people who really need protection.

Of course, that was an accusation adamantly denied by the city.

The Blaze provides some history around the harsh gun laws in the city of New York:

This end-run around the 2nd Amendment in New York City began over a century ago as a result of corrupt, liberal politicians pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment.

The hundred-year-old Sullivan Law (also called the Sullivan Act) was initially a Tammany Hall patronage measure that allowed favored constituents of corrupt politicians to carry concealed handguns. Under the Sullivan Law, the police not the Constitution would determine who could and could not concealed carry a firearm in New York. Simple possession of more common weapons razors, brass knuckles, or dagger, for example was a felony, whereas possession of a firearm without license was a misdemeanor.

Meanwhile, urban areas across the country begin to follow New Yorks example and passed similar legislation.

Current gun laws in New York are described as Byzantine and nearly impossible to understand.

Regardless of the strictness of the New York gun laws, however, Bloomberg is calling for harsher regulations.

For Bloomberg to blame federal gun control laws for the issue of crime in New York ignores some significant data. Under Bloombergs predecessor, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, New York' crime rate dropped 57 percent, and the murder rate dropped 65 percent. Perhaps Bloomberg was simply not cut out to fill Mayor Giulianis shoes.

Likewise, most guns involved in crimes are obtained illegally, so any further regulation will continue to strangle the innocent law-abiding residents of New York who are simply seeking an opportunity at self-preservation.

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