New bill aimed at stopping guns from entering NY proposed following shooting of 7-year-old girl

Chantee Lans

March 30, 2022

Originally published in ABC 7 on March 30, 2022.

HEMPSTEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- A shooting that injured a 7-year-old girl has sparked new proposed legislation aimed at stopping guns from entering New York.

Currently under state law, selling an illegal gun is a felony.

New York State Senator Kevin Thomas says penalties depend on the number of guns involved in the offense.

His new bill would lower the number of legal firearms needed to qualify for a felony offense which carries harsher sentences.

"The longer we wait to pass this, the more children are harmed in our communities," said Thomas.
Thomas and Hempstead Mayor Waylon Hobbs heard concerns on Wednesday from Patricia Murphy, the grandmother of Iliyana Simmons.

The girl is recovering at home in Hempstead after being shot in broad daylight on Saturday while playing in her grandmother's backyard.

"She was saying im hit. I'm hit. Oh my god, why would somebody shoot me. I'm just a kid," said Murphy.

Murphy and mother, Radaih Simmons spoke to Eyewitness News about the horror that unfolded Saturday afternoon right in front of her home in Hempstead.

Gunshots rang out just before 3 p.m. on Evans Avenue.

"Somebody came from down the street and started shooting," said Simmons.

"My daughter is out there screaming, telling her baby to run," said Murphy.

Panic set in when Murphy realized her granddaughter was hit while playing in the backyard with her brother and cousin.

Just before the shooting, Murphy saw a man all dressed in black wearing a hoodie and a ski mask.

She immediately brought the child inside.

"I had the door open like this and I said y'all come in, as I'm saying come in, I hear gunshots and then Iliyana falls on the ground here," said Murphy.

Iliyana was shot in the arm and her mother rushed her to the Mercy Medical Center.

"I just went into survival mode. I had to make sure my daughter was okay," said Simmons.

"Something has to be done. Something has to be done. Thank God she's alive. We could've been making funeral arrangements," said Murphy.

The young girl is now back home but is left traumatized. Her grandmother says she had nightmares all through the night.

Police say the shooting is an ongoing investigation. They are still looking for the shooter, the intended target, and the motive behind the gunfire.

Watch on ABC 7.