New York Daily News

December 5, 2005

Pols aim for better gun database

By NICOLE BODE and LISA L. COLANGELO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Controversial Queens judge Laura Blackburne  
Photo: Michael Schwartz
 
Sen. Charles Schumer speaks at a news conference calling on the federal government to force all 50 states to report all guns stolen or involved in a crime to a database as New York does. Standing with him is Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrict Lynch. Last week's murder of Police Officer Dillon Stewart was conmmitted with a stolen gun.

The murder of Officer Dillon Stewart with a stolen gun prompted local leaders yesterday to call for the feds to force all 50 states to report all guns reported stolen or involved in a crime to a database, as New York does.

Standing with Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, Sen. Chuck Schumer noted 92% of illegal guns used to commit crimes in New York come from another state.

Only about half of the states voluntarily report such guns to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms database. In addition, Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, the gun-tracking database should be open to the public. It had been until a 2003 law imposed restrictions.

"We hope and pray that a tragic loss of a wonderful police officer will perhaps galvanize Washington to action so it might not happen again," he said.

Schumer also said the maximum prison time for convicted gun traffickers should be boosted to 20 years from 10 years.

"It's absolutely mandatory that if we are going to ask our police officers to lay down their lives like Dillon Stewart has, we must give them every tool they need," Lynch said.

Mayor Bloomberg reiterated his call for federal legislation to "stop the insanity of illegal guns on our streets."

"I wish every member of Congress had sat with the Stewart family for four hours at Kings County Hospital, as I did," Bloomberg said in his weekly radio address on 1010 WINS. "I wish they had looked into Officer Stewart's wife's eyes, and saw what I saw. You can't walk away from that experience and not feel a powerful obligation to do everything possible to prevent it from occurring again."