THE BLOG

A Narrow Victory

Thanks to a vocal grassroots opposition, the Thune Amendment on concealed weapons was narrowly defeated in the senate yesterday, signaling a victory for gun control advocates throughout the country. I'm glad our efforts paid off, but the truth is, we can't rest on our laurels - the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike voted for the measure only underscores that we must remain vigilant in the fight against the NRA.

Fighting the Thune amendment -- which would have enabled residents of states with lax gun laws to carry loaded, concealed weapons in states that strictly regulate such possession - was imperative. But even with that measure stopped, the rash of guns entering here in New York, from other states, continues to be a major problem. According to 2008 ATF data, hundreds of guns connected to New York crimes originated out of state, and the numbers went up from the year before. In fact, 88 % of the guns used in New York City crimes are from out of state. Just this year, Virginia provided 372 guns; Pennsylvania racked up 247; North Carolina, 251; South Carolina, 240; Georgia, 252, and Florida, 203. By comparison there were only 345 guns used in city crimes traced to sales in New York State.

To combat this, we need an interstate strike force to share information on illegal gun trafficking investigations, in a central clearinghouse data center.

Currently there's no such information-sharing mechanism, meaning that even if several states have data on one specific trafficker, we don't know the overall extent of their activity. However, if we linked each state's already existing data center, we could better identify the large gun traffickers, and be able to track, target, and stop them before they enter the city and wreak untold damage.

As DA, this would be one of several new initiatives I'd implement to crack down on gun violence. We scored a good victory this week, but we simply cannot let up the fight.