Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) recently cosponsored a legislative package that will strengthen the penalties for individuals who kill or injure police officers and toughen current laws to keep illegal guns off the streets. The New York State Senate and Assembly passed the legislative package during an emergency session of the State Legislature in Albany yesterday. Governor Pataki signed the legislation into law shortly thereafter.
"Police officers risk their lives everyday to help protect us and we must do our part to help keep them safe. The recent tragic deaths of two New York City Police Officers demonstrate that there are individuals who are willing to kill in order to escape justice, and we owe it to the men and women of our police departments to enact laws that will better protect them from these ruthless criminals," said Senator Fuschillo. "This legislative package will help get illegal guns off the streets and make sure that anyone who kills a police officer spends the rest of their life in jail."
The first component of this legislative package is the "Crimes Against Police Act". This new law will toughen the minimum penalties for committing certain crimes against a police officer. Under the new law, any individual who is convicted of intentionally murdering a police officer, peace officer, or corrections officer will automatically be given a sentence of life without parole. In addition, anyone convicted of Attempted Murder 1 of a police officer, peace officer, or corrections officer will receive a minimum sentence of 20-40 years to life.
Also included in the legislative package is an anti-gun trafficking measure that will help keep illegal firearms off the streets. Under the law, the sale of just one illegal handgun will be considered a violent felony offense punishable by up to seven years in prison, closing a loophole that gun traffickers used to escape felony charges.
The same punishment would apply to anyone convicted of possessing three illegal guns. Individuals found guilty of possessing or selling 10 or more illegal guns will face up to 25 years in prison. Previously, an individual who was caught possessing 19 or fewer illegal firearms could only be charged with a misdemeanor offense and receive no more than 1 year in jail.
"This issue demanded action, and the results that we delivered will go a long way towards reducing and eliminating violence towards law enforcement officers. I am pleased that we could all work together to create an agreement and pass these much needed protections for our police officers," Senator Fuschillo added.
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