Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 9, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Miller, Rosenthal Introduces Bills To Ban Deadly, Untraceable “Ghost Guns”

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Council Members I. Daneek Miller (D-Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Laurelton, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens and St. Albans ) and Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) yesterday introduced legislation banning the possession of unfinished lower gun frames or receivers, which are then used to create untraceable firearms or so-called “ghost guns.”

Ghost guns and 3-D printed guns are especially popular among individuals who are unable to purchase guns legally because they have no serial numbers, which makes them virtually untraceable by law enforcement and allows criminals to bypass background checks and licensing laws. Ghost-guns can also be customized because they are assembled from unfinished parts.

Similarly, 3-D firearms are designed with a removable metal block that is not necessary for functionality and assembled from parts made of the same plastic material as children’s Legos, which conceals them from metal detectors. Tests conducted in 2013 by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on two different 3-D gun models showed that one successfully fired 8 times while the other exploded into a dozen plastic shards.

“New York is a national leader in gun-violence prevention, and the City Council has historically been at the forefront of its efforts to stem the use of deadly firearms,” said Miller. “No one should possess Do-it-Yourself capability to make or assemble unregulated, unregistered, and untraceable guns. As Congress and the Legislature debate this issue, we are acting forcefully to give law enforcement the tools necessary to arrest ghost-gun buyers and suppliers, confiscate these weapons of war, and accurately assess the availability of ghost-guns on our streets before tragedy strikes.”

Schumer, Gillibrand Look To INcrease Fed Funding For Nonprofit Terror Targets

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced a new bipartisan push to increase funding to protect nonprofit institutions that are at risk of being targeted for terror attacks.

As the Senate considers funding priorities for the upcoming Fiscal Year, Schumer and Gillibrand are leading the bipartisan coalition of 33 senators to provide a total of $75 million in the 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

This program provides essential funding for nonprofit institutions to install critical physical security enhancements and prevent attacks. The requested $75 million would increase total funding for the program by $15 million from last year’s level, strengthening the NSGP and helping to ensure that Congress is doing everything possible to protect communities from targeted terror attacks.

“There have been far too many heartless and horrific hate crimes targeting places of worship throughout America recently and we must do all we can to help people of all faiths worship in security and safety,” said Schumer. “This increase in funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program will help protect all houses of worship and other nonprofits from these horrific acts. I will continue fighting to find ways to stop the spread of hate, protect all houses of worship, and address gun violence and this funding is a critical way to advance these efforts.”

“Nobody should ever have to live in fear of being targeted for a terror attack. It is a tragedy that hate crimes are on the rise in our country, and one way Congress can help protect vulnerable communities is by increasing funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program,” said Gillibrand. “This program helps nonprofits pay for the tools they need to stay safe. I am proud to lead the fight every year in the Senate to shield against the people who would commit these horrific crimes. Congress must do everything possible to prevent any direct threats to our communities, and I urge my colleagues to include this vital funding in next year’s appropriations bill.”

Vallone Introduces Resolution To End Harassing Robocalls

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck and Whitestone) yesterday introduced a resolution calling on both Congress and the New York State Legislature to pass the Federal TRACED Act and New York State legislation S.3297A/A.675, respectively.

These bills would establish measures to protect consumers and combat harassing robocalls, which have rapidly increased in frequency in New York City and nationwide in recent years.

The TRACED Act would deter robocalls by imposing forfeiture penalties on parties that commit criminal robocall violations and require voice service providers to implement a call authentication framework. The state legislation would protect consumers by (1) banning unsolicited robocalls, (2) empowering the state attorney general to enforce robocall violations, while also allowing for civil penalties, (3) authorizing New Yorkers to sue robocallers, and (4) requiring telephone providers to offer consumers free technology to block robocalls.

“The proliferation of robocalls presents a real threat to the privacy and quality of life of New Yorkers, and telling us to just ignore these invasive phone calls is an unacceptable response,” said Vallone. “We cannot sit idle while telecommunication companies fail to offer call mitigation technology to their customers. Passing these pieces of legislation would give residents much-needed relief from this form of harassment, which has become a daily occurrence for so many. I urge our federal and state representatives to take action on this issue, and I will continue looking for ways to combat this intrusive trend on a City level.”

Lancman Introduces Bill Requiring NYPD to Report Certain Precinct-Level Data

City Councilman Rory Lancman

City Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica), chair of the Committee on the Justice System, yesterday introduced legislation requiring the NYPD to submit quarterly reports on the clearance rates of index crimes broken down by precinct.

The bill also requires the NYPD to continually update previous clearance reports to reflect any crimes in which arrests were made following original publication.

“The public should know specifically which precincts are succeeding and which are struggling to solve major crimes,” said Lancman. “However, the clearance rate data the NYPD is currently providing is not detailed enough to identify areas that are having problems closing cases. My legislation would require the NYPD to report clearance rate data at the precinct-level, instead of just by borough, which would give the City a greater understanding of which precincts need assistance or additional resources.”

The City Council in 2017 passed legislation requiring the NYPD to produce quarterly reports on the clearance rates of index crimes by borough. The NYPD has posted these reports since Q4 2017.

Van Bramer Protests Illegal Parking In LIC

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside) today will join Transportation Alternatives, the Court Square Civic Association, cycling advocates, and community members in Long Island City to rally against the epidemic of illegal parking.

Van Bramer will lead the charge in calling upon the NYPD to increase its enforcement against those who endanger others by blocking sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks.

This call for action is slated for 8:30 a.m., today, May 9 on the SE Corner of 43rd Avenue and Crescent Street in Long Island City.

Gianaris, Constantinides Rally To Preserve Astoria Houses Senior Center

State Senator Michael Gianaris
City Council Member Costa Constantinides

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Woodhaven) and City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst) today will hold a news conference to fight for the preservation of the Astoria Houses Senior Center.

The center, slated for closure in the FY 2020 City budget, is currently finishing a $500,000 renovation.

The news conference is slated for 9:15 a.m., today, May 9 outside the Astoria Houses Senior Center, 4-05 Astoria Boulevard, in Astoria.