Bay Ridge

Nadler: Keep guns away from sex criminals

April 18, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler says keeping guns out of the hands of convicted sex offenders “should be the easiest place to start.” Photo courtesy of Nadler’s office

Lawmaker introduces bill to prohibit them from buying weapons

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, said a loophole in the law is allowing anyone convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime against a minor to acquire a firearm. Outraged by that fact, he has introduced legislation that he said will help prevent guns from getting into the hands of sex offenders who prey on children.

“Guns in the possession of those who are unstable or unfit to use them can have devastating consequences, which is why it is so important for us to be proactive in ensuring that people who may do others harm do not have access to firearms,” Nadler said in a statement. “Keeping guns out of the hands of those convicted of sex crimes against a child should be the easiest place to start.”

Nadler (D-Upper West Side-Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst) said his bill, the Keep Kids Safe Act of 2016, would close a safety gap in an existing law to make it illegal under federal law for someone convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime against a child to transfer, acquire or possess firearms or ammunition.

Federal law prohibits persons convicted of a felony from buying, selling or possessing guns or ammunition, but it is perfectly legal for someone convicted a misdemeanor sex crime against a minor to buy a gun.  

That’s outrageous, Nadler said.

“The Keep Kids Safe Act ensures that predators who have been convicted of offenses against children are not able to buy firearms,” he said. “Allowing sex offenders who already have shown a propensity to target children access to guns is too great a risk. It is irresponsible to simply wait until the next tragedy happens before we act.”

The Keep Kids Safe Act would cover misdemeanor sex offenders against children and is modeled after the firearms ban that applies to those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes.

In addition to making it illegal under federal law for someone convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime against a minor to possess firearms, the bill would also make it a crime for anyone to provide such an offender with firearms or ammunition.

The legislation has been endorsed by several gun safety organizations, including Everytown for Gun Safety, the Violence Policy Center and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.