Schumer Decries Fed Funding Cut To Gun Background Check Program
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) revealed that the just-released White House budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2019 makes millions of dollars in cuts to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
NICS is used by law enforcement to check records on individuals who may be prohibited from purchasing firearms. Specifically, the proposed budget cuts the National Criminal Records History Improvement Program (NCHIP) and the NICS Act Record Improvement Program (NARIP), by 16 percent or from $73 million to $61 million in FY’19. Over 90 percent of the public supports a background check system on all gun buyers.
NCHIP works with states and local communities to provide any necessary resources to ensure that accurate records are available to protect public safety and national security. Additionally, the program works with states to identify individuals who are ineligible to purchase firearms and who potentially present threats to public safety. NARIP was implemented to improve the NICS system by providing assistance to states by improving the completeness, automation, and transmittal to state and federal systems of the records utilized by NICS.
Schumer authored the 1993 Brady Bill, which amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 to require background checks before a licensed gun dealer makes a sale and created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The NICS determines whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms and contains a buyer’s criminal and mental health records. So far this year, there have been 30 mass shootings. In 2017, the United States saw a total of 346 mass shootings.
“In the midst of the national tragedy in Parkland, Florida, and on the heels of now 30 mass shootings that have taken place this year alone, it is downright dangerous that the president’s budget would seek to undermine the gun background check system. While we are in dire need of an even stronger background check system in this country, like one that closes the Gun Show Loophole, the White House’s proposal would hurt one of the only firewalls we have in place to stop dangerous people from legally purchasing guns,” said Schumer.
Clarke Leads Letter To USPS Postmaster General
Congress members Yvette D. Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay) and Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, LES) along with members of the New York City congressional delegation called on the Postmaster General to provide solutions to ongoing postal delivery issues across the city last week.
In a letter sent to Postmaster General and USPS CEO Megan Brennan, Clarke demanded a detailed course of action to mitigate the multitude of ongoing postal issues facing several communities across the five boroughs. “Delivery methods have not proved a dependable means of communication for our residents and the small businesses that rely on this service. As part of our duty to ensure that our constituents are attended to and that their needs are met, we write to express our deep concerns over the fragmentation of this important public service” stated the joint letter.
Last week, Clarke met with the Brooklyn Postmaster for USPS, Anthony Impronto, in the wake of constituent complaints. According to local residents, the Ninth Congressional District has been suffering from poor postal service in recent weeks.
“After meeting with Brooklyn’s Postmaster this week, I remain deeply concerned about delivery, efficiency, and service, at postal offices across my district. Especially, the suspension of mail service for nearly a week last month, which affected many seniors and people with disabilities. After conferring with colleagues among the New York City delegation, it is clear that this issue far exceeds the boundaries of New York’s Ninth Congressional District and plagues entire region,” said Clarke.
“When postal deliveries are delayed and unreliable, New York’s residents, small businesses and local economies all suffer. I am proud to join my fellow New York colleagues in pressing the United States Postal Service on what they are doing to restore a timely delivery service and fully remedy this ongoing issue,” said Velazquez.
Cymbrowitz Calls For Booze Boat Loading Ban In Sheepshead Bay
Assembly member Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach) called on the city over the weekend to ban party boats from loading and unloading passengers in Sheepshead Bay.
Cymbrowitz is open to the boats docking in the Bay but wants the city to ban the boats from picking up and unloading passengers in the area. The South Brooklyn lawmaker wants to get serious about controlling the rowdy behavior of party patrons before and after the nighttime excursions including noise volume, disorderly conduct and traffic issues.
During a recent meeting with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Cymbrowitz told Glen that he was not satisfied with the city’s booze boat curfew of 11 p.m. and wants stronger policies put in place. Cymbrowitz feels his new party boat proposal will be one step closer to ensuring safety for local residents while also being a compromise for the party boat operators. Earlier this year, Cymbrowitz reintroduced his legislation (A.8194) to ban the party boats from Sheepshead Bay entirely after mounting resident complaints.
“While the city has honored its promise to implement an 11 p.m. curfew this season for party boats entering or leaving the bay, this isn’t enough to resolve the longstanding issues of traffic, rampant littering and drunk, disorderly passengers urinating on lawns and wreaking havoc on the neighborhood during the summer months,” said Cymbrowtiz.
“Moving the boats to another location is a good compromise that still gives the boats a place to dock but preserves the safety and quality of life of the community. You just can’t have thousands of people boarding and disembarking from party boats in the middle of a residential community,” added Cymbrowitz.
Mosley, Assembly Announce Criminal Justice Reform Measures
Assembly member Walter T. Mosley (D-Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Crown Heights) alongside Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced a package of sweeping criminal justice reform measures last week.
The package includes Mosley’s legislation, A. 9787, aimed at increasing transparency in grand jury proceedings when a court determines disclosure of certain information is in the public interest. The legislation would allow the court to release certain grand jury information in cases where a felony indictment is dismissed. The court would be required to afford the prosecutor or any other relevant persons the opportunity to be heard and to consider several factors in determining whether or not disclosure is appropriate.
Other proposals in the package include measures that would reform New York’s bail system, provide greater transparency of policing by collecting and publically reporting data, ensure fairness in court processing and increase transparency in grand jury proceedings. Among other measures proposed is the prohibition and limitation of the use of solitary confinement of inmates, “Ban the Box” legislation to prevent recidivism, and legislation designed to prohibit law enforcement officers from using racial or ethnic profiling during the performance of duties.
“This common-sense change is long overdue. Without undermining the process of the grand jury, this bill would give the public the right to know details of cases prosecutors make before the grand jury. This step would allow for better understanding as to why jurors decided not to move forward with a criminal charge,” said Mosley.
“Inequities in our current system have fueled routine injustice causing a ripple effect on families and the community and marginalizing mostly low-income people of color. These acts are inconsistent with our values and progressive ideals in New York state. Building off the momentous achievements of last year in Raising the Age of criminal responsibility, we hope to restore humanity and fairness to the criminal justice system,” added Mosley.
Golden Disagrees With Mayor On Smart Scanner Gun Tech
State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach) responded to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s comments on the Brian Lehrer radio program last week regarding “smart scanner” funding.
Last Friday, the Mayor was asked about gun safety in schools in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman High School shooting that took the lives of 17 students and staff on Feb. 14. De Blasio was asked about his opinion on Golden’s proposal to put “smart scanners” in every school. The new technology would spot a weapon in someone’s possession in a crowd of students versus inspection stations that currently only inspect one student at a time. Golden aims to prevent and detect guns being brought into school facilities through the implementation of the technology.
The Mayor responded by quickly disagreeing with Golden’s proposal claiming that the technology would not serve as a deterrent or preventative strategy to the mass shooting epidemic facing the nation. “Again I don’t think that will achieve what everything I just said before will achieve. I think this is a much more, it’s a problem that has to be handled with much bigger solutions. We will look at anything, I’m never going to rule out things but I don’t think that’s how we solve this problem,” said the Mayor. The Mayor instead said that schools will start focusing on increasing active shooter drills, random scanning days and relying heavily on intelligence gathering from the New York Police Department (NYPD).
“I agree with the Mayor regarding the high quality counterterrorism expertise and training of the New York City Police Department. However, I respectfully disagree with the Mayor on the issues of “smart” scanners and law enforcement officials being deployed in every public school. We have the technology available to prevent a tragedy. ,” said Golden.
Each student being educated in our schools deserves to be learning in an environment free from fear. “Smart” scanners and law enforcement in every school will go a long way in giving parents and students peace of mind,” added Golden.
Williams Celebrates Lunar New Year, Year of the Dog
City Council member Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) celebrated the Lunar New Year last week, which fell on Feb. 16 this year.
This year’s celebration marks the Year of the Dog as each Chinese new year is represented by an animal in the Chinese zodiac.
“I send my warmest wishes to Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and all who celebrate Lunar New Year. As we celebrate the Year of the Dog, which is characterized as communicative, serious, and responsible, let us all embrace those traits as take up the immense challenges facing our city, state, and country,” said Williams.
“Across America, those of Asian and Pacific Islander descent will carry on the traditions of their heritage, reminding us that this country’s strength lies in the richness of the diverse cultures that make up the American people. To everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year, I wish you a Happy Year of the Dog. May the year be marked by peace, prosperity and good health,” added Williams.