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Velázquez gun bill wins praise from Bratton

January 29, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez says her legislation is a common-sense proposal. Photo courtesy of Velázquez ‘s office
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A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez aimed at reducing gun violence has won praise from New York’s top cop.

Police Commissioner William Bratton wrote a letter to Velázquez’s office offering his support for her bill, the Reducing Gun Violence in Our Neighborhoods Act, which would use technology to track guns to help police determine the origin of the weapons used in crimes on city streets.

The bill also seeks to establish a national registry for missing firearms and strengthen federal reporting requirements for lost or stolen guns.

“Our department recognizes that data is a valuable asset in our battle against violence, and we attempt to leverage it as part of our overall strategy to reduce gun crimes. To this end, legislation such as Congresswoman Velázquez’s that has as one of its goals the creation of a registry for lost and stolen firearms and the development of electronic tracking capabilities for firearms may have an investigatory benefit,” Bratton wrote in his letter.

“Please be assured that the New York City Police Department will provide whatever support is necessary to ensure the passage of the Reducing Gun Violence in Our Neighborhoods Act of 2015,” Bratton continued.

The legislation carries a 2015 date because Velázquez introduced it in November.

“Part of my bill is aimed at assisting law enforcement in determining the origin of weapons used in crimes on New York streets, so many of which flow into our city through the so-called ‘Iron Pipeline,’” Velázquez said. “I’m pleased Commissioner Bratton sees the value in this legislation and hope to continue building support for these commonsense proposals.” 

Nearly 600,000 guns are stolen each year from private homes in the U.S., according to Velázquez, who said that New York streets are often a destination for guns that are lost or stolen in states with more permissive gun laws, a trend that criminal experts have referred to as the “Iron Pipeline.”

More has to be done to curb gun violence, Velázquez said. She praised a recent executive order issued by President Barack Obama requiring gun dealers to report lost or stolen firearms.

Obama’s executive order would also expand background checks for buyers and would mandate that individuals whose business involves selling firearms register as licensed gun dealers, a move that would require them to maintain formal sales records.

“I applaud the president for taking these initial steps,” Velázquez said, adding that many of Obama’s ideas match the provisions in her legislation.

“Like my bill, the president’s plan bolsters funding for mental health services. This is important, but we should take a broader approach. My legislation would also invest in other innovative, anti-violence efforts that target resources to communities most often plagued by shooting incidents. Overall, the president’s executive action will help save lives and I support it,” Velázquez said.

Velázquez’s bill has been endorsed by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. 

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