Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Attorney general says federal action needed on gun control

June 30, 2016

As published in The Buffalo News on June 24, 2016.

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Thursday pointed to the trove of assault weapons confiscated this week in suburban Rochester and offered his own advice to a federal government embroiled in controversy over gun-control laws.

The House of Representatives, currently paralyzed over the issue, should pay attention to New York and its SAFE Act, Schneiderman told reporters in his Main Place Tower office, and embrace the kind of legislation that enabled his agents to seize more than 100 illegal assault weapons Tuesday from a “rogue” gun shop in Henrietta, Monroe County.

“We want to ensure nothing like Orlando ever happens in the State of New York,” he said, referring to the June 12 massacre at a Florida nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

Schneiderman displayed several of the confiscated weapons following a sit-in by House Democrats in the Capitol protesting Republican reluctance to pass new gun-control legislation that requires background checks in some instances. Schneiderman emphasized that the SAFE Act instituted such measures in New York in 2013 and that more than 100 illegal rifles are now out of circulation as a result of the “most egregious” violations of the law to date.

“These guns don’t belong on the streets,” he said, adding that he was pleased to see fellow Democrats “at least agitate on the floor of the House” for some type of stricter gun control.

“I am pleased we are moving forward slowly, but in New York, we have shown leadership on this,” Schneiderman said.

The attorney general said the lack of background checks on a national level is problematic because of the potential for tragedies such as the one in Orlando. He pointed to other state efforts that have closed loopholes in rules governing sales at gun shows.

State Police charged three men Tuesday with illegally selling the rifles at Jackson Guns & Ammo in Henrietta: Kordell Jackson, 40, of West Henrietta; Ken Youngren, 30, of Alfred; and Joshua Perkins, 28, of Irondequoit.

Schneiderman also praised new state legislation regulating “zombie” properties – empty houses stuck in sometimes lengthy foreclosure proceedings and prone to falling into disrepair. The legislation creates a state registry for zombie homes, requires banks to maintain properties in foreclosure process, and establishes a toll-free phone number to make complaints.