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Statement from Assemblymember Reilly on NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ address to the city on gun violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 24, 2022

The following statement is from Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R-Staten Island) following an address earlier this afternoon by New York City Mayor Eric Adams on gun violence…

“Mayor Adams acknowledged today what so many on his side of the aisle in New York politics have failed to acknowledge for the past two years – that our criminal justice system is broken, that there is a mental health crisis worsening by the day which has contributed to a record spike in crime, and that our law enforcement professionals must be permitted to coordinate with their federal partners to end the flow of illegal firearms into this state.

Let me be clear:  New York already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.  In New York City, it is almost impossible to obtain a license for a handgun without experiencing both a long wait and having undergone an extensive background check.  The firearms that New York City Police Officers are removing from our streets are often obtained illegally by those caught in possession.  For example, in last week’s deadly shooting that took the life of one NYPD Officer and left another fighting for their life, neither the Glock 45 handgun nor the high capacity drum magazine that it had been fitted with were manufactured or purchased legally in New York.

Without saying it, Mayor Adams acknowledged that the problem is not because of the lack of laws to curb gun violence, but instead a lack of enforcement of the laws that are already on the books to combat violence of all sorts.  And while he may label Republican lawmakers as the “opposition” blocking meaningful change in Washington, I would like to remind him that Assembly and Senate Republicans in Albany have been at the very front of this fight to fix New York’s flawed criminal justice reforms and restore public safety.  My Republican colleagues and I have tried several times to start the conversation with our Democrat colleagues, who control majorities in both chambers, about the impact of their shortsighted policymaking.

In fact, much of what Mayor Adams discussed today were policies already proposed by my Assembly Republican colleagues and I to address some of these concerns.  Last year, I introduced legislation that would amend New York’s criminal procedure law to authorize judicial discretion so that judges could assess a defendant’s dangerousness when issuing a securing order, extend the discovery period, permit immediate bench warrants for failure to appear for hate crimes, and place restrictions on the issuance of desk appearance tickets.  Additionally, I recently introduced legislation that would permit the possession of a loaded firearm to count as one of the extraordinary circumstances that allow an adolescent offender charged with a violent felony offense to be tried in the youth part of criminal court.

We want to have a real, honest, and meaningful conversation that transcends partisan politics.  I will gladly meet with Governor Hochul, Assembly Speaker Heastie, Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins, Mayor Adams, or any other New Yorker who wants to make our streets safer and prevent future tragedies.  As a former NYPD Lieutenant, I cannot stress enough how paramount public safety is in relation to a person’s quality of life and the economic vitality of our city.  New York City cannot be the crime capital of the world if it hopes to remain the cultural and financial capital of the world.  Wake up, New York, before there’s nothing left to fight for.”

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