Gianaris Bill Protecting People From Hidden Dangers
State Senator Michael Gianaris’ (D-Astoria) legislation making it illegal to install or possess a concealed compartment in a vehicle passed through the New York State Senate Codes Committee.
Law enforcement personnel nationwide as well as within New York state have witnessed a surge in the number of hidden compartments found in motor vehicles, which often aid drug and gun trafficking. With the advent of advanced electronics, concealed vehicular compartments have become even more difficult to find.
“My bill would protect law enforcement on the front lines against illegal guns and drugs,” Gianaris stated. “These hidden compartments are a real danger and must be outlawed.”
The Bill, S2510, would amend the penal law by adding sections to define the crimes of unlawfully installing or possessing a concealed vehicular compartment in the first and second degree. The penalty for the first degree offense would be a class “E” felony and the second degree offense would be a class “A” misdemeanor. The bill would also amend the vehicle and traffic law to permit the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to suspend or revoke the registration of a motor vehicle repair shop where an owner or employee is found guilty of such crimes.
Gianaris also pointed out the increased dangers these compartments create. “Even more disturbing, these secret compartments are sometimes booby-trapped, causing serious risk to officers trying to access them by overriding the lock mechanism or otherwise breaking them open.”
The senator authored this bill when he was a member of the Assembly and carried it with him to the senate. The bill is currently sponsored by Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria).
Simotas had said, “These concealed compartments serve little purpose beyond hiding guns and illegal drugs from law enforcement. This bill will deprive traffickers of a favored resource, and I hope the legislature moves quickly to pass it for the sake of our police officers and our public safety.”