NEW YORK (PIX11) – In the wake of rising gun crimes, two local lawmakers want to give the federal government more power to go after gun traffickers with new legislation.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Carolyn Malonoey and the mothers of murdered young people, announced plans on Friday to reintroduce the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act. Gillibrand stated 90% of the guns used in crimes in New York City are trafficked guns.
“They’re guns that come from out of state. They are bought in other states that do not have as restrictive gun laws as New York State. They are trafficked up the Iron Pipeline I-95, and sold directly to criminals,” said Gillibrand. “Right now, there is no federal law that makes this illegal.”
“If you compare us to other countries, they don’t have anywhere near the gun violence that we have.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney said it’s high time to dispel the myth that guns make us all safer. “If guns made this country safer, we’d have the safest country in the world,” she said.
Nyasia Pryear-Yard, a 17-year-old honor student, was shot to death while dancing at a Brooklyn club in 2009. Her mother Jennifer called on lawmakers to pass this bill.
“It just doesn’t affect my community, but it affects all communities,” said Pryear-Yard’s mother Jennifer Pryear. “We need to stop the Pipeline from getting these guns that are coming up here and killing our babies.”
The bill’s other namesake, Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago, a 15-year-old majorette, was fatally shot days after she and her high school bandmates performed at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
Hundreds attended the teens funeral including first lady Michelle Obama who began a yearslong friendship with the teen’s mother afterwards.
The former first lady announced this week the Hadiya Pendleton Winter Garden, a public space planned for the Obama Center under construction on Chicago’s south side.
The gun trafficking and crime prevention act named for the two young women would make trafficking in firearms a federal crime, establish fines and penalties for those who knowingly ship, transport, or transfer firearms to an individual not legally allowed to possess a gun.
It would also go after individuals who act as organizers of gun trafficking operations.
The lawmakers and the group Everytown for Gun Safety cite Justice Bureau statistics, showing there are more than 400,000 related gun crimes committed, resulting in about 14,000 homicides each year nationwide.
Samuel Levy, of the group Everytown for Gun Safety said New York State has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. However, they are undermined at every step by trafficking that brings guns up the I-95 Pipeline and delivers them straight into the hands of violent criminals.
“Gun violence in America is surging during this pandemic,” says Levy. “It’s for myriad reasons, but chief among them is we awash in illegal guns. And that’s true in cities across America.”