New gun control laws still remain unlikely
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and other New York politicians are speaking out in favor of stricter federal gun control laws in the wake of Friday’s rampage, when an assailant shot 26 people to death inside a Connecticut elementary school.
Even though it was one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history — and came just months after similarly gruesome episodes at a Colorado movie theater and a Wisconsin Sikh temple — experts believe that comprehensive new gun control laws are unlikely.
“I would love to be pleasantly surprised by the sudden appearance of resolve and spine in the corners of the Legislature that would normally be expected to advance legislation of this sort, but I’m not optimistic,” said David Birdsell, dean of Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs.
He suspects President Barack Obama will instead focus on negotiating the “fiscal cliff” — the term given for when current tax laws expire Dec. 31 — and immigration reform when the new Congress begins Jan. 3.
Meanwhile, the Senate has a Democratic Majority Leader, Harry Reid, who “often touts his sterling record with the NRA,” and the House of Representatives is still controlled by pro-gun Republicans, according to Birdsell.
Nonetheless, experts agreed that some level of gun control is perhaps possible now, especially with regard to enhanced background checks and regulation of gun-show purchases.
“This one was, I think, uniquely revolting and horrifying to the public,” said Robert Spitzer, a SUNY Cortland political scientist who has authored four books on gun control. “It provides an opportune political moment, if [Obama] chooses to use it.”
Brooklyn churches collect 134 guns
An NYPD-sponsored gun buyback program at two Brooklyn churches netted 134 weapons Saturday. “It seems like people were concerned about having guns around the house in light of what happened in Connecticut,” Rev. Reginald L. Bachus, pastor of Mt. Ollie Baptist Church in Brownsville, told Metro. Though hardened criminals generally don’t turn over their weapons, these types of events help “prevent guns from getting into the hands of the wrong people by accident,” Bachus said. Anyone who returned an operable handgun received a $200 bank card.