Legislators butt heads over gun legislation

By MIKE LaFAVE

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - The State Assembly introduced three bills Wednesday that supporters say will make New York a safer place. Opponents argue all the proposed legislation would do is infringe on Second Amendment rights.

The main bill would outlaw the sale of all semi-automatic handguns not equipped with microstamping technology.

Microstamping is a new technology meant to make investigating gun crimes easier. A microstamping gun stamps the bullet case with a code, so investigators know what gun that shell casing came from.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) says it will make New Yorkers safer and make law enforcement officer's job easier.

"These common sense measures will help protect New Yorkers by vastly increasing information available to law enforcement as it conducts criminal investigations by giving it the tools to forge meaningful links between evidence and crimes," said Silver . "I applaud my colleagues in the Assembly Majority for recognizing the importance of this package of legislation. By expanding the DNA database and requiring microstamping on semi-automatic weapons, we can help keep our neighborhoods safe."

Opponents argue a criminal can simply pick up the discarded casing or sand down the stamping mechanism to get around the microstamping.

They also suggest that microstamping technology will increase the cost of manufacturing firearms. They fear the extra expenses will then be passed on to gun owners.

Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C,I- Newport) is vehemently opposes the proposed legislation. Butler says, if passed, the law would pass down an incredible tax burden on New Yorkers with provisions that have not been proved effective or cost efficient.

"The bills presented today offer no proven solution and would continue to use taxpayer money as a credit card," Butler said. "These bills would reduce our Second Amendment right and also place an economic strain on those in the firearm industry, such as Herkimer County's own Remington Arms. These bills will only make it more difficult to do business in New York. That's why I voted in opposition."

Public Safety Commission Dan Labella has said in the past he is in favor of microstamping. He said back in July of 2009 that it acts as a barcode to help fight crime.

"With microstamping there will be a bar code on the spent casing itself and that barcode leads right to where the gun was used in that shooting," Labella said.

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