03 December 2013

Hanukah Day Five: Strong Gun Laws

We're coming up on the one year anniversary since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Since then, a number of people in our community at CBE have come together to advocate and lobby for tougher gun laws in New York City and across the country.  We write letters, make phone calls, and show up at rallies.

It's never enough until the work is done, until fewer guns are out there, but we keep on pushing as hard as we can.

Yesterday, a number of us set up outside of PS 321 in Park Slope and gathered signatures asking Governor Cuomo to ensure that CAP Laws--Child Access Prevention--are added to legislation in New York State.  This legislation has been shown to serve as an important deterrent to gun owners in that it levies severe fines when children get access to these powerful weapons.
Here's what we asked people to sign:

Dear Governor Cuomo, Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer,
On January 15, 2013, The NY SAFE Act (New York Secure Ammunition and 
Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013) was passed by a bipartisan state legislature 
and signed into law by Governor Cuomo. The NY SAFE Act gives New Yorkers 
some of the strongest protections against gun violence in the nation. We are 
grateful for the concern and action taken by our legislature and are proud that 
New York was the first state to strengthen its gun safety laws in the aftermath of 
the Sandy Hook massacre.
Omitted from the new law, however, was a “Child Access Prevention” (CAP) 
law. CAP laws are intended to prevent firearm injuries to children by limiting their 
access to guns. CAP laws make gun owners criminally liable if they negligently 
leave guns accessible to children or otherwise allow children to obtain firearms. 
The strongest CAP laws set criminal penalties for owners who do not store 
firearms properly so that children cannot easily access them unsupervised. 
Other CAP laws simply prohibit someone from directly providing a gun to a 
minor. More than half the states in the nation have enacted CAP legislation, but 
there is currently no Child Access Prevention law in New York State. 
CAP laws are needed because too many children live in homes with access to 
guns. A Daily News story in July 2013 listed 40 children who had accidentally 
shot themselves or another child in the past 6 months. Studies show that poor 
gun storage is directly correlated to accidental gun-related death and injury. 
The more we do to keep guns from children, the more we can prevent such 
accidental violence.
I am a member of the Congregation Beth Elohim community in Brooklyn, New 
York. The synagogue has a history of leadership in social action and in curbing 
gun violence. I, the undersigned, urge you to take action and approve CAP 
legislation. New York State is a leader in gun safety legislation. Let us also 
be a leader in protecting our children from guns. New York Assembly bull A-
03941, the Children’s Weapon Accident Prevention Act, proposed last year, was 
designed to enact CAP laws in New York State. We urge you to support this or 
similar legislation. As stated in the Book of Psalms, "Our children are a gift from 
G-d."

On December 12th I'll be at City Hall with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, led by my friend and fierce advocate, Leah Gunn Barrett.  I hope you can join us.

We will also be continuing to pressure Stephen Feinberg, CEO of Cerberus Capital, whose company owns more than $900 million worth of gun manufacturers in this country, to fulfill a promise he made after Sandy Hook to DIVEST from that ownership in Freedom Group.  Here are the remarks I made in September that will simply be updated for the one-year anniversary of this tragic and senseless event in Connecticut.  

I hope you'll join us in the weeks ahead for this important fight.

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