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Gun control debate intensifies

The massacre in Newton, CT has pressurized the gun control debate after 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 27 people using a semiautomatic rifle and two pistols.  The horrific massacre included 20 elementary school children.

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The push for stricter gun laws in the six months since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has had mixed results.

Since that day, 44 people have been killed in ten mass shootings.

And, 86 state gun laws have been passed.

But some states including Arkansas and Mississippi have used the spotlight on the issue to broaden both who can carry a gun and where they can carry it.

In April, the U.S. Senate blocked a federal proposal to expand background checks for gun purchases.

Push for stricter gun laws facing tough opposition

BRONX (PIX11) - With gun control still very much at the forefront of national and local discussions, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the most committed gun control advocates around, is not letting the issue die.

But there is a Texas based group now proposing to bring in more guns into the streets of New York, promising to be in 15 cities by the end of the year.

Armed Citizen Project’s founder Kyle Coplen spoke to PIX 11 over the phone and said after a person passes a background check and takes a safety, legal and tactical training class with Armed Citizen’s Project they would receive a shotgun.

“These guns are not going to be on the streets. They will be in the homes of law abiding citizens,” insists Coplen.


Armed Citizen Project’s founder Kyle Coplen spoke to PIX 11 over the phone and said after a person passes a background check and takes a safety, legal and tactical training class with Armed Citizen’s Project they would receive a shotgun.

Coplen’s proposal targets high crime neighborhoods, where the city has ongoing issues surrounding gun control.

Mayor Bloomberg agreed the group appeared to be following all the rules and laws thus far, but he does not see the benefit.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and hopefully it’s just a gimmick and the guy will go away,” said Bloomberg.

Coplen also admitted to PIX11, his organization has done no polling of New York City residents to see if this is a program they are even open to.


(NEW YORK CITY) – It is called “The Liberator.” Perhaps more suitable would be the “Game Changer.”

On Monday, the Texas nonprofit “Defense Distributed” produced the downloadable blueprints for the world’s first 3D printable handgun.

Its creator Cody Wilson, a University of Texas law student, has been labeled by Wired magazine as one of the 15 most most dangerous people on the web.  He considers the gun part of a Wiki Weapon entry in which he provides web users with open-source gun designs.

Twitter has been a buzz with the news of the download.   Law enforcement is paying close attention.  A member of the NYPD’s 23rd precinct calling a gun made out of 3D printing, “crazy.”

The gun is fully operational and untraceable. All that is required are blueprints and a top-tier 3D printer.

Once news of the downloadable prints emerged, PIX 11 News went to a Staples in Midtown and asked a saleswoman if they had 3D printers in stock.  She said that they did not, but it could be ordered online and delivered by Tuesday.

The cost for a printer? Approximately $1,300 is a start.

One of the leading manufacturers in 3D printers is MakerBot.  A company spokeswoman shared with PIX 11 News some of the benefits produced by 3D printers  – such as the creation of replica fingers for children or assisting NASA in further space exploration.


Chris Milnes has two MakerBot machines in his home.  He says it’s all part of, “The new industrial revolution.”

Milnes has been involved in 3D business printing since last autumn. “It’s the wild west right now,” is how Milnes described the current state of 3D printing.

As for the concept that gunslingers can now create the digital equivalent of the zip gun?

“Scary. I’m not a gun advocate, I want less guns.  So the idea that anyone, in anyone of these bedrooms, could be making guns that have magazines with lots of bullets really sacred me.”

Sal Lifrieri  is a former Director of Security and Intellegence Operations Under Mayor Giuliani.  He summed up the death machine in two words,? “Incredibly deadly.”

Lifrieri is now the President of the Westchester based security firm, Protective Countermeasures.  The creation of a plastic gun has been a concern in the past.  The potential has always been there.

Now it’s a reality.

“While its not going to be as effective as a traditional weapon, it’s just as deadly, especially in short range,” said Lifrieri.

When ask how this will change law enforcement in terms of actually identifying this type of weaponry before it gets into a place where it’s not supposed to be?  Lifrieri made two observations, “There is no metal in it other than the firing pin, so it’s incredibly difficult to pick up on a magnetometer and secondly because it’s smooth bore, you’ll never be able to track the bullet back to the weapon.”

One Tri-State Detective who has covered a variety of cases in his decades of law enforcement said the weapon is the “dawn of a new era.”

‘Shame on you!” two women yelled in the Senate as the background-check proposal was scuttled on Wednesday, prompting Vice President Joe Biden to ask for order.

But that was only the beginning of what has been a day of outrage following the vote.  The Senate blocked the proposal to expand background checks on gun sales and the reaction was swift.  President Obama said it was a shameful day for Washington.

“Instead of supporting this compromise. The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” said President Obama.

With the final tally at 54-46, the plan failed to get the 60 votes it need to pass. The proposal would have expanded background checks to sales at gun shows and on the internet. It was even a bi-partisan proposal.

Shame on you!

Vice President Joe Biden tries to restore order in the Senate after the women yelled “shame on you!”

“Time and time again, on issue after issue, I’m sorry to say, we’ve seen Republicans put their short-term political goals and interests ahead of the interests of mainstream America,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said “Today’s vote is a damning indictment of the stranglehold that special interests have on Washington. More than 40 U.S. senators would rather turn their backs on the 90 percent of Americans who support comprehensive background checks than buck the increasingly extremist wing of the gun lobby.”

It was a victory for the gun lobby. In a statement from the National Rifle Association, the Executive Director Chris W. Cox said, “As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”

Newtown parent Mark Barden, who lost his 7-year-old son Daniel in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, said the fight is not over. “We’ll return home now disappointed but not defeated. We return home with determination change will happen maybe not today but it will happen,” said Barden.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to sign a sweeping new gun control bill into law, one that some are calling the toughest gun legislation in the country.

The bi-partisan bill passed Connecticut’s Senate Wednesday and the House at around 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

This bill strengthens an existing ban on semi-automatic rifles and requires background checks for all weapons sales. That includes gun shows. It also limits the capacity of ammo magazines. The legislation establishes safety standards for school buildings and resources for mental health research and training.

This legislation follows the December, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza used a military-style semi-automatic rifle to murder 20 children and 6 educators. It horrified the nation.

Still, crowds for and against the bill packed the Capitol Wednesday. Those against the legislation, said it would harm lawful gun owners and not stop future massacres.

Malloy is expected to sign the legislation during a ceremony at noon at the Capitol.

Connecticut will become the 3rd state in the country to pass tough gun control legislation since the Newtown massacre. It follows New York and Colorado.

President Barack Obama has planned a trip to Connecticut on Monday. He wants to gain momentum for federal legislation that has stalled in Congress.

Hoping to trigger a big response, some local lawmakers want Beyonce to help get guns off the street.

It’s all part of a gun buy-back program that will offer free Beyonce tickets to those who turn in their firearms, no questions asked.


BROOKLYN, New York (PIX11 News) —  The owner of Wilensky Hardware—based on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island since 1920—told PIX 11 the opinionated; Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association is a “moron”—for claiming looters ran wild in south Brooklyn in the days after Hurricane Sandy.  “I think his facts are completely off on everything he says,” said Steven Feinstein, standing at the counter on Friday.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s main mouthpiece, wrote a blog post on “The Daily Caller” site Wednesday, giving various reasons why Americans need to “Stand and Fight” to protect the Second Amendment.

“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia,” LaPierre wrote.  “Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn.  There was no food, water or electricity.  And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get back at all,” La Pierre added.

Feinstein told PIX 11 if LaPierre wanted to be accurate about apocalyptic-type looting, he’d have to go back to the black-out of July 1977.  But some Coney Island residents agreed with LaPierre’s assessment, even though it was given from another part of the country.

“I think it is true, because once Sandy happened, everyone just went all ballistic,” said 20-year old Emily Santana.  “You would actually see people just making holes in the gates, to get into the stores.”

But pharmacy owner, Praveen Appana—who wasn’t looted—said LaPierre is “reaching” by using south Brooklyn in his argument to carry arms.  “Even if you have a gun, how can you guarantee you’re going home safe?  By the time you pull out the gun, somebody can shoot you,” Appana observed.

Most shop owners along Mermaid Avenue agreed that police presence was great, as the waters receded after the storm.  “Every couple of blocks, there was a squad car around,” said one clerk.

U.S Congressman Joseph Crowley, who represents sections of south Brooklyn, fired off a letter to LaPierre—in response to LaPierre’s “bizarre manifesto”.  Crowley invited LaPierre to visit the area, pointing out, “Far from the post-apocalyptic wasteland that you describe, what I saw in my hometown after one of the most devastating natural disasters was New Yorkers coming together and helping one another, just as we’ve always done after a crisis.”  The NYPD pointed out that no murders, no rapes, and no shootings took place in south Brooklyn’s 60th and 61st precincts, for at least a week after the storm.  Burglaries, though, did spike.

It has certainly been a talked about issue throughout the county.   The big question – whether or not to allow school administrators to carry a gun into school for safety.

Since the tragedy at Newtown Elementary school, schools across the country have been looking for ways to become safer.

Now, one school in New Jersey, is a step closer to becoming one of the first to allow it’s principal to carry a concealed gun everyday.  It’s happening at Passaic Valley High School. According to the school superintendent, Viktor Joganow, it is all because the principal is a retired police officer.

Raymond Rotello has been the principal for the past three years at the school.  Prior to that, he was a Little Falls police officer for Twenty-Five years and was even in charge of the firearm training at one point.   Because of his unique history, Superintendent Joganow says he has someone who not only can use a gun and has a permit, but someone who knows how to handle a crisis.

At last nights Board of Education meeting, the board approved this plan in an eight to zero vote.  However, it needs to pass one more vote for this new policy to pass.

Joganow believes this will pass with no problems and that there will be no adverse affects to the plan since Rotello has years of experience carrying a gun.