Arizona Shooting Spree Leads To Call For Glock Boycott
The Arizona shooting spree on Saturday, January 8 jolted the gun control issue back into local headlines last week, with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio leading the way with a call for a boycott against purchases of the high capacity Glock gun clip which enabled the alleged killer to murder six people and injure 14 others in the blink of an eye.
Surprisingly, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the most ardent gun control advocates in the country, didn’t readily leap on to the de Blasio bandwagon, sparking some criticism.
In addition to de Blasio’s demand, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Congressmember Gary Ackerman issued calls to close loopholes in laws meant to block easy access to guns.
De Blasio kicked off the discussion by proposing that law enforcement departments, such as the NYPD, should boycott gun-makers who market gun clips holding 30 rounds of ammunition, such as the one allegedly emptied by Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old murder suspect, during his shooting rampage in Tucson.
De Blasio declared on January 14, in the N.Y. Post that if gun manufacturers of Glocks didn’t stop selling the high-capacity gun magazines, then the NYPD should start buying the firearms they need from a different company.
The Post backed the idea in an editorial (as did the N.Y. Daily News) in which it demanded the NYPD use its huge buying power to convince major gun companies to stop selling the high capacity gun clips.
Bloomberg’s reaction to the call for a boycott was, “We need a law to stop you from selling it [the high capacity gun clip],” he stated on his weekly radio show.
Then he added, “New York City doesn’t have enough buying power.”
The response to the boycott from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly came through his spokesperson in a statement which said, “Were the department to boycott manufacturers based on their sale and marketing of high-capacity magazines, there would be no source of reliable weapons for any newlyhired officers going forward, making a federal ban the practical solution.”
But, according to Schumer, the federal ban on assault weapons enacted in 1994 expired in 2004. The lawmaker said he favored reinstatement of the ban, but thought it was unlikely it could be passed with the Republicans in control of the House.
Meanwhile, Schumer called upon the nation’s military authorities to report to the FBI anyone, such as Loughner, who fail a military drug test. Then the FBI could list it in its national database that gun dealers must check before selling a firearm.
If Schumer’s proposal had been adopted, Loughner’s name would have been in the FBI database and that would have prohibited any gun dealer from selling him a weapon. According to Schumer, Loughner told an Army recruiter in 2008 that he had a history of illegal drug use, and the Army rejected his application.
Schumer said his proposal can become effective if issued as an executive order by the president, and he said he would ask President Barack Obama to issue such an order.
Elsewhere in this issue, there’s a story in which Ackerman states he will reintroduce a bill that would close a loophole in a gun control law which allows gun dealers, whose licenses have been revoked, to sell off their inventory of guns to anyone without doing a background
Ackerman said that Loughner’s deadly rampage “must close troubling loopholes that let firearms fall into the hands of convicted felons, fugitives… and severely emotionally disturbed individuals”.
Amid all the discussion about guns getting in to the wrong peoples’ hands, setting off tragedies such as the one in Tucson, the only sure thing that will come out of it is nothing. Soon after Loughner’s rampage, with many questioning where he got the Glock firearm and the rapid fire gun clips, the House Republican leadership announced no gun legislation discussions would be coming up in Congress.
STRANGE TWIST: In the aftermath of Congressmember Gabrielle Gifford’s nearly fatal shooting in Tucson and the concern about protecting all other lawmakers who might be threatened, a man from Hicksville was arrested last Friday, January 14 for allegedly making repeated telephone calls to Ackerman’s office in Bayside.
According to a story in Monday’s Times, the man never threatened the lawmaker and did not own a weapon or ever applied for one. The police also said about 40 calls were made between December 23 and January 13 and he was warned to stop making them or he would be arrested. He ignored the warning, made more calls and was then arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated harassment. He was also admitted to a hospital for observation and evaluation.
Ackerman said in the story that the calls did not have a political motivation.
Nassau County cops identified the man as James Guarnaccio, 55, a restaurant worker with a record of one arrest in 2005 for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Summing up the episode, Ackerman stated, “This story is not about this guy, it’s about what’s going on in this country. I think we are witnessing the wedding of the mentally ill with the gun culture, at a time when we have troubling mood music.”
CUOMO RIDING HIGH: A new poll shows Governor Andrew Cuomo at the top of his popularity with a 70 percentage point rating.
That’s just a point below his highest ever poll score of 71 percent in June 2009.
The fledgling governor will need all the public support he can get as he will be fighting to achieve very unpopular budget goals that involve closing a $10 billion deficit without any new taxes and borrowing, imposing a real estate tax cap to curb school spending and getting the budget passed by the April 1 deadline.
According to Albany insiders, if the state legislature starts playing its old tricks to oppose these reform moves, the young governor is prepared to shut down the state government in early April.
As part of his battle plan, he journeyed up north last week to Jamestown and Watertown to rally public support to get behind him. Also, a business group, the Committee to Save New York, whose goals parallel the governor’s, has pledged to spend $10 million to support Cuomo’s agenda and the governor himself will shortly launch a series of meetings with individual lawmakers at the Governor’s Mansion to woo their support. It’s also expected that Cuomo’s strategists will enroll Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the effort.
It looks like there’s a major battle shaping up in the state capital.
GIANARIS GETS HIGH COMMITTEE POST: Helping to launch state Senator Michael Gianaris’ career in the state senate, Democratic leaders there appointed the Astoria lawmaker as ranking member of the Codes Committee. The former assemblymember, who replaced George Onorato in the senate after he retired, Gianaris also received appointments to the Committees on Finance, Energy, Health and the Judiciary.
Commenting on his appointment as the highest ranking Democrat on the Codes panel, Gianaris stated, “Protecting my fellow New Yorkers by improving our laws has been a priority throughout my time in public service. I look forward to this new responsibility which will provide me the opportunity to have an even greater impact on all public safety.”
Regarding his other committee appointments, Gianaris said, “Each of the committees play an important role in shaping the direction of New York state. With these new assignments, I will fight to ensure that the voices of the hard working men and women of New York are not forgotten.”
Gianaris explained that the Codes Committee is responsible for all legislation that affects criminal and civil justice policies for the state of New York. The Codes Committee, along with the senate’s Finance Committee, are the bodies through which the vast majority of legislation must first pass before coming to the senate floor for a full vote, Gianaris added.
AVELLA GETS FIVE COMMITTEE POSTS: Queens’ other new state senator, Tony Avella (D–Bayside), also announced his freshman year committee assignments, the most promising one being the ranking Democrat on the Cities Committee, which deals with all legislation concerning New York City.
It was this committee chairmanship that gave former Republican senators Frank Padavan and Serphin Maltese a power base in the state legislature.
Avella, who was also named the ranking member of the Environmental Protection Committee, stated, “As a freshman senator, it is an honor to have been asked to serve on five committees and to be a ranking member on two. As ranking member, I will be the point person for the members of my conference on bills that will go before my committees. This will allow me to point out any problems or flaws pertaining to a particular bill or to emphasize the importance of specific legislation.”
FACEBOOK BANS CHILD PREDATOR AT AVELLA’S REQUEST: Avella also issued a statement reporting that he has been officially informed by Timothy Sparapani, Director of Public Policy for Facebook, that they have terminated the account for convicted sex offender Joseph Denice, who had allegedly used the account to contact minors.
Avella said he had reached out to Facebook immediately after concerned parents within his district reported to him that Denice, a Level 1 sex offender who was convicted of sex abuse in the second degree in June 2010, had been contacting children in the area via the social network.
Avella stated, “I am extremely pleased with the expediency in which Facebook terminated this account. Less than a day after I notified them of Mr. Denice’s history, they removed his profile and their security team began investigating his past actions on the site to look for signs of inappropriate actions.”
Avella said he had been working with Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown in the investigation of allegations that Denice has been volunteering to work at various schools in Northeast Queens since about 2007, including the ones at St. Mel’s Church in Flushing and St. Kevin’s Church in Bayside.
Avella contacted the offices of Schools Chancellor Cathie Black and Bishop of Brooklyn Nicholas DiMarzio to inform them of the Denice matter and of his intentions of meeting with parents and officials of the Queens diocesan schools involved.
Meanwhile, Assemblymember Mike Miller (D–Woodhaven) has become aware of the Denice investigation being conducted by Brown and Avella. He stated: “The situation highlights the need to pass a comprehensive overhaul of how we deal with sex offenders.” Miller already has several bills pending that deal with the situation.
“These bills would give parents the assurance that their child is safe,” he said. Miller also said the situation in Northeast Queens “could have been easily avoided and my goal is to prevent this from happening ever again”.
MILLER OFFERS UNINSURED FREE FLU SHOTS: Concerned about the consequences of uninsured constituents going around without the protection of a flu shot, Assemblymember Mike Miller (D–Woodhaven) is partnering with city health agencies to get flu shots for them.
Miller has arranged with the city Department of Health & Mental Hygiene in distributing vouchers from his district office at 83-91 Woodhaven Blvd. in Woodhaven. The free vouchers are redeemable for vaccinations at Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies.
Miller said the program is designed to reduce vaccination disparities among black and Hispanic Queens residents. Recent data from the health agency shows that only 46 percent of blacks in New York 65 years of age or older report being vaccinated in 2006-2008, compared to 60 percent of whites and 65 percent of Asians in the same age group.
“By offering these vouchers for free vaccinations not only are we keeping the Queens community healthy, but we are also encouraging those without health insurance to seek medical attention for an illness that can be very serious,” Miller said.
‘KILLING HEALTH CARE HURTS NYC’, WEINER: As Republicans in Congress began their effort to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, Congressmember Anthony Weiner (D–Queens/Brooklyn) warned that throwing out the program would cost New York City $3 billion more in health costs.
Weiner said that was the number that emerged in an analysis done by his staff. “Repealing healthcare reform would be a national disaster that would be felt most acutely in New York City,” Weiner said.
According to Weiner denying the average city residents the Obamacare benefits would send premiums soaring by about $2,000-a-year and almost 1.2 billion uninsured would be denied basic benefits.
The GOP-controlled House has the votes to easily repeal the law, but should it pass the Senate, Obama will veto it.
DROMM CRITICIZES BLACK’S ‘BIRTH CONTROL’ REMARK: Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D–Jackson Heights) a former teacher, denounced Schools Chancellor Cathie Black’s remark last week that birth control would help solve the school overcrowding problem, saying, “It is extremely unfortunate that Chancellor Black thinks school overcrowding is something you can joke about.”
Dromm, who taught for 25 years in District 24, one of the city’s most overcrowded areas, continued, “Ms. Black obviously doesn’t understand that the solution to overcrowded classrooms is planning something the Bloomberg and Klein administration has failed to do.
For the last nine years, the administration has inadequately planned for the future and thereby let down over a million New York City public school students forcing them into overcrowded classrooms year after year.”
Dromm concluded, “This is no joke and Cathie Black has demonstrated her incompetence once again.”
Black has since apologized for the remark, admitting it was a bad joke.