The Obama Administration isn’t waiting for a stalled Congress to make a decision on immigration policy for youth, and Queens politicians and community groups are applauding the initiative.
President Obama issued a policy directive halting the deportation of illegal students who would qualify for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act on June 15. Some Republican politicians nationwide, even some who would support the change legislatively, are calling the policy directive a ploy to grab the Latino vote in the upcoming presidential election.
Many Queens politicians disagree, saying the president made the right call.
“For many undocumented immigrants, America is the only country they know.In their hearts and minds they are American. Sadly, Republicans either can’t, or choose not to understand this. By blocking the DREAM Act, they denied millions of undocumented Americans the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) said.
ALBANY — A Queens Democratic state senator took a shot at the chamber’s GOP majority for holding up a “common-sense” bill to take permitted firearms away from the mentally ill.
Jose Peralta’s bill would give judges the power to strip people of their guns and permits to possess them if they are involuntarily committed to an institution, forced into outpatient treatment or acquitted of a crime by “reason of mental disease or defect.”
It has passed the Assembly four times with bipartisan support — including this year with just four “no” votes — but it has never been taken up by the state Senate, even during the Democrats’ brief majority in 2009 and 2010.
“Cynics might say the bill gets squashed in the Senate because of all the campaign money the NRA gives to Republicans,” Peralta said. “But even the NRA is on record saying that the mentally ill shouldn’t have access to deadly firepower.”
“They feel that they know better than police chiefs and district attorneys. That’s ridiculous. The money speaks for itself. You follow the trail of money and you realize they’re being bought by the NRA,” said state Sen. Jose Peralta, D-Queens.
"Rather than unilaterally substituting your own judgment for that of district attorneys and chiefs of police from all over the state, put microstamping to a vote," said Peralta. "Listen to — and let the public hear — the arguments put forth in support of microstamping by law enforcement and [then, by comparison] those advanced by the National Rifle Association in opposition to the bill."
State Senator Peralta Renews Call for Bipartisan Action to End Gun Violence
State Senator Jose Peralta today renewed his call for bipartisan action to combat gun violence, proposing as a first step three "commonsense" measures that he believes Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature should be able to agree on.
"Now is the time and gun violence is the issue for Republicans and Democrats to do everything possible to find common ground," Senator Peralta said. The three bills that he has introduced and is recommending be considered immediately are:
A Queens lawmaker called out state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and his party Monday, urging the Republican leader to bring a controversial gun control measure to a vote during a special session in Albany.
Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) asked Skelos and his colleagues to visit the five boroughs, especially in light of a recent spike in gun violence, in order to see why the city’s lawmakers, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, support microstamping.
As the legislative session dwindles to a close, the Assembly on Tuesday passed controversial legislation to mandate microstamping in New York state. The bill has been delivered to the Senate, where it is unlikely to see a vote on the floor.
The bill (A.1157-b/S.675-c), sponsored by Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, D-Great Neck, and Sen. Jose Peralta, D-Jackson Heights, requires microstamping technology be implemented on all semi-automatic weapons sold in New York state. It passed with an 84-55 vote.
"Gun violence has caused great harm to many in our communities," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan. "This legislation would help law enforcement to bring the perpetrators of these violent crimes to justice and offer some measure of closure to the victims of these heinous acts."
Microstamping involves inscribing the firing pin of a weapon with numbers and letters signifying the make and model of a gun. When fired, the alpha numeric code is transferred to the shell casing, which is often the only evidence left at the scene of a crime. Proponents of microstamping say law enforcement can then use the shell casing to track the weapon that fired the round and identify a suspect in the crime.
"As we wait for the state Senate to act on this bill, brave law enforcement officers are being struck down by gun fire and innocent victims continue to be wantonly murdered," said Schimel. "We can't catch their killers because they fire anonymous bullets. I urge the state Senate to put the public's safety above the interests of extremists in the gun lobby and pass this important crime-fighting measure."
Peralta praised the Assembly for passing what he calls "common sense" legislation.
"For good reason this legislation has the support of law enforcement and mayors throughout the state and has been passed by the Assembly four times — because it would help put the most violent and dangerous criminals behind bars," he said. "The Senate owes it to the countless victims of gun violence in New York to pass this legislation too. I am calling for a floor vote in the Senate. It's time to stand up to the NRA and be counted."
Senator Gianaris' proposals said among his measures is "One that would restrict gun purchases to one per month because right now the big problem with people is that they will bulk purchase guns and turn them around and sell them illegally," he said, adding, "Sales on the secondary market don't require background checks." Other measures call for dealers to report all firearm and ammunition sales within 24 hours to the State Division of Criminal Justice, where records would be kept on file for at least a decade. Another bill would mandate a 10-day waiting period for all gun purchases. Senator Gianaris is also calling for limiting sales of ammo to permitted dealers, and he wants all gun buyers to be required to take a safety course.
The Republican-led State Senate should reconvene in Albany and pass gun control legislation, say a variety of New York City and state-level Democrats. Recent weeks have seen high profile shootings of Bronx children, coming with a concern that unacceptable gun violence has spread into formerly safe neighborhoods.