Contact: Toni Valenti
New York County Lawyers Association Criminal Justice Section Issues Statement on Pending New York Gun Law Reform
In this era where our cities are awash with illegal firearms, the NYCLA Criminal Justice Section strongly supports legislation recently passed by the Senate and the Assembly (S7196 and A6762B) that would hold the gun industry accountable for irresponsible marketing practices. Specifically, the legislation would require manufacturers and distributors to adopt policies and practices to prevent legal firearms from being diverted to the illegal market. Further, the bill would allow state governmental agencies and private citizens to seek redress in court for harm caused.
It is no secret that gun violence is a staggering problem. We are all aware of the horrific mass shootings that, tragically, hardly constitute news in modern times. Beyond that, daily, New Yorkers are being killed and injured by guns at astonishingly high rates. More than 5,800 New Yorkers have died from gun violence in the past five years, and over 2,500 of those deaths were firearm homicides. In New York City alone, the number of shootings nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020, a precipitous rise made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. And sadly, in New York State, an average of 63 children and teens die by guns every year.
Moreover, communities of color suffer the most from gun violence. The NYPD has reported that, in the first nine months of 2020, 96 percent of shooting victims in the city were either Black or Hispanic. Indeed, gun violence is not only a criminal justice issue; it is a threat to the health, safety, and security of the most at-risk youth in our diverse city. Children cannot learn, businesses cannot thrive, and citizens cannot go about their daily lives in an atmosphere where disputes are resolved at the point of a gun. The pending New York legislation is an important step forward in holding the gun industry accountable for policies and practices that allow illegal firearms to flow freely into the city, where they are used disproportionately to harm communities of color. Therefore, the NYCLA Criminal Justice Section strongly urges the Governor to sign the bill.
About the New York County Lawyers Association
The New York County Lawyers Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as one of the first major bar associations in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.
The views expressed are those of the Criminal Justice Section only and approved for dissemination by the President; these views have not been approved by the New York County Lawyers Association Board of Directors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Board.
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