Pols rally for stronger gun laws

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Council Member Dan Garodnick at City Hall (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Council Member Dan Garodnick at City Hall (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, along with other elected officials, rallied at City Hall last Friday to demand that Congress take action on gun safety reforms, in light of the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando.

LGBT and gun safety advocates were also there, pushing for the renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, which previously banned the use of semiautomatic assault weapons, but the law expired in 2004, as well as pushing for legislation that would require universal background checks and a bill that would prohibit those on a terrorist watchlist and those convicted of a hate crime from buying a gun.

Maloney has also pushed for legislation that would lift the prohibition on federal public health research on gun violence.

“No other bill relating to gun violence has been passed except for the study of gun safety,” she said at City Hall.

“The refusal to prevent future violence is unacceptable and the ban on public health research is totally insane.”

Maloney has continuously pushed for additional regulation, beginning with the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, and since then has pushed a number of bills to curb gun violence, including the closure of the gun show loophole, making gun trafficking illegal and lifting the ban on gun safety research.

“Members of the NRA say it’s to protect the Second Amendment but it’s more important to protect American lives,” Maloney said. “If make us safer then America would be the safest nation on earth but we’re not.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with other elected officials and LGBT and gun safety activists

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with other elected officials and LGBT and gun safety activists

Despite strong support from advocates in New York, the U.S. Senate wasn’t able to get enough bipartisan support for any of the four bills that had been proposed and the measures failed to pass the vote last Monday.

The Democrat proposals up for a vote would have prevented firearms sales to people on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist and would have required anyone looking to buy a gun to undergo a background check. The Republican legislation would have increased funding for background checks and would have required the government to prove probable cause within three days to block gun sales to suspected terrorists.

The vote came less than a week after Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy filibustered for 15 hours for universal background checks to prevent known terrorists from buying guns.

House Democrats also staged a sit-in on the House floor last Wednesday afternoon, and while Republicans had the cameras in the room turned off after a brief live stream of the protest, a number of elected officials fighting for stronger gun control legislation tweeted their support.

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