July 18th, 2012,
With gun violence increasing along with the temperature in New York City this summer, a congressional hopeful says now is the time to give cops a new tool to use to make collars in gun crimes.
Assemblywoman Grace Meng, a Queens Democrat, faulted the National Rifle Association and Republicans in the state Legislature for blocking a bill to require gun manufacturers to use bullet microstamping technology.
The upgrades, which the gun lobby says would be too expensive to implement, would allow police to trace gun cartridges back to specific weapons.
“It’s the least we can do for our men and women in blue who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” said Meng, who is campaigning for the newly created 6th Congressional District in Queens.
Meng, who won four-way Democratic primary late last month, will call on Monday for the Legislature, and the federal government, to require gun-makers to use microstamping.
Last month, a law mandating microstamping passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly by a vote of 85 to 60 — a vote that, ironically, Meng missed because she was busy campaigning in the run-up to the primary.
The bill stalled in the Republican-run Senate, thanks in part to aggressive NRA lobbying.
Meng said microstamping is part of a package of gun-reform measures that need to be instituted.
“Oftentimes, the only evidence left behind at the scene of a shooting are bullet shell casings,” Meng said, describing the importance of microstamping to police investigators.
Microstamping refers to the process of inscribing a gun’s make and model numbers on its firing pin, so the number is imprinted on the shell casing when the weapon is fired.
Meng’s Republican opponent this fall, City Councilman Dan Halloran, called Meng’s interest in microstamping a “diversion.” He noted how Meng said during the primary that she would have voted with congressional Democrats to withhold some federal funding to the NYPD because of its controversial surveillance of Muslim communities.
“Grace Meng wants to defund the NYPD for its successful counterterrorism policies. I guess she’s afraid of offending the politically correct liberal special interests that are backing her campaign,” Halloran, a former cop, said in a statement.
He said the way to make New York safer was to get more cops on the streets, not pass another piece of legislation.
The first week of July saw a 28% spike in the number of New Yorkers shot compared to the same period last year. So far this year, the number of shooting victims is up 8% from this point in 2011.
At a rally at Queens Borough Hall on Monday, Meng will join the co-sponsors of the state microstamping legislation, Sen. Jose Peralta of Queens and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel of Nassau County, to push for passage of the gun package.
A representative of the NRA did not immediately return a call seeking comment.