In an op-ed in today’s Journal News, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman touts agreements his office has reached with major gun-show operators, which are meant to ensure background checks are performed at every sale.
It’s been over three months since the horrific elementary school massacre in Newtown. In that time, over 2,800 more Americans have been killed by guns. That means three months of delay and thousands of grieving families.
But in Washington the “headline number” is zero; that’s how many bills have been signed into law since the Newtown tragedy to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.
Instead of passing common sense measures like universal background checks — which one poll shows are supported by more than 90 percent of Americans — Washington is bogged down in the petty divisiveness and special interest lobbying that consistently stand in the way of progress.
The gun control debate doesn’t need to be dominated by rancor. Everyone deserves to live in a safe neighborhood, free from the threat of gun violence, which is why my office isn’t waiting to take action.
When I took office two years ago, we started investigating private sellers of guns at gun shows to determine whether they were complying with the state’s background check law. What we found was deeply disturbing.
Even when undercover investigators told gun sellers that they could not pass a background check because of an order of protection against them, the sellers volunteered to sell them guns without a background check. This is a clear violation of state law, and my office brought charges against the individual sellers. But that is only part of the solution.
We also worked together with gun show operators to develop new Model Gun Show Procedures that balance the rights of the sportsmen and gun collectors with the need to protect the public from the sale of guns to people who cannot pass a background check.
We’ve now reached agreements with more than two dozen of the largest gun show operators in New York — representing over 80 percent of the gun shows in the state. These voluntary agreements will ensure that background checks are conducted for every firearm sold at those gun shows. Among these was Westchester Collectors, based in Mahopac Falls, which operates gun shows in the Lower Hudson Valley.
(AP file photo)