With a dramatic spike in shootings the past few months, it’s officially the “Summer of the Gun” here in the Big Apple — and elected officials in Queens think they have figured out a way to “end gun violence.”
The pols’ nine-point plan probably won’t “end” gun violence, but it’s a start, and a great way to score some political capital from New York City’s issue-du-jour.
Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown, Congressman Gregory Meeks, and State Senators Malcolm Smith were amongst nearly a dozen pols who met this afternoon in Queens to lay out their plan. It’s based primarily on educating people about the dangers of guns, and letting them know they can sell their illegal guns to the police without fear of getting in trouble.
“Now is the time where every member of our community must come together
to make a proactive commitment to see an end to this crippling gun
violence,” Smith says. “The bullets that have been descending on our community have
not discriminated based on age, race, religion, or social status. Every
day of inaction will mean another child will go fatherless, another
mother will lose her child, another brother will feel the pain of loss
of a sibling, and someone will never see a loved one again.”
Yesterday, we told you about Smith’s somewhat flawed plan to push for tougher sentencing guidelines for people busted with illegal guns. Currently, those caught with illegal guns face a maximum of two years in prison. Under Smith’s plan, illegal gun possessors would face a minimum of five years in prison.
In any event, below is how Queens pols think they can “end” gun violence in New York City:
▸ Build a community coalition to deliver the clear and unequivocal
message that carrying guns and committing acts of violence in Southeast
Queens is unacceptable. Reinforce the message through clergy sermons,
community rallies, events, lectures and concerts with support and
participation by community and business leaders, elected officials and
prominent individuals in the media, sports and entertainment fields.
▸ Educate community members about the fact that guns can be turned into
local precincts for a cash payment of $100 a gun and increase the
number of guns surrendered.
▸ Develop a public relations campaign encouraging community members to
report illegal guns and violent crimes and cooperate with law
enforcement by asking them to “Step Up for Your Community – If You See
Something, Say Something.” Change the culture and create concrete
incentives for local residents to stand up and speak out about crime and
violence that impacts on their neighborhoods and families. Implement a
variety of mechanisms to facilitate communication with law enforcement
about dangerous situations or crimes – including hotlines, text
messaging, or community/law enforcement liaisons.
▸ Support legislation that will limit access to assault weapons,
handguns and high capacity ammunition clips by criminals and individuals
with mental illness;
▸ Enforce existing gun laws strictly and fight for additional resources
for drug treatment and mental health services, alternative to
incarceration programs, after-school and summer programs for youth and
other educational, recreational and youth employment programs.
▸ Improve communication and dialogue and foster trust between law enforcement and residents of local neighborhoods.
▸ Increase police resources in precincts where violent crime is high.
▸ Work to close down illegal businesses and limit the hours of all
night establishments that are breeding grounds for underage drinking,
gang activity, drug trafficking, prostitution and violence.
▸ Provide more information to community residents about existing programs and services and how to access them.