Gillibrand’s Gun Trafficking Bill Sees New Life

U.S. Sen. Kisten Gillibrand and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Photo by Harry Parker

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced today, July 19, she is re-introducing the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act, an anti-gun trafficking bill that Gillibrand has been working to pass since 2013. 

The legislation is named for Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old shot and killed in Chicago in 2013, and Nyasia Pryear-Yard, a 17-year-old Brooklyn resident shot and killed in 2009. 

The bill seeks to address the illegal transfer of guns across state lines, by establishing gun trafficking as a federal crime. It also increases the penalties for those directly involved in the illegal movement of guns across state lines, those who organize the gun trafficking rings, and those who conspire to traffic guns.

Gillibrand says state police are hemmed in by their jurisdiction, only able to act when illegally trafficked guns enter their domain.

NYPD statistics show that the number of shooting victims and shooting incidents are up 22 percent and 28 percent respectively for the year. Gillibrand and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams gathered at Brooklyn Borough City Hall today, and spoke to the pain felt by families of the victims.

“Every year there are more than 800 gun deaths in New York State,” Gillibrand said. “It’s not a statistic. It’s 800 people, children, family members, loved ones, lives are taken far too early.”

Adams called gun violence a crisis facing Brooklyn’s families. 

“In Brooklyn alone, 306 people have been shot in the year to date, think about that,” Adams said. “Those families will never be the same. People connected to the victims will never be the same.”

Gillibrand is confident that now that Democrats control the Senate, the legislation stands a greater chance of reaching 60 votes. 

In 2013, the bill failed to pass, with 58 votes in a Republican-controlled chamber. Gillibrand says the demise of the NRA as a political force should be helpful to its passage but did not provide a timeline for voting this year.