Saturday, March 04, 2006

Gun Control: A View From the Front Lines

The author is a 30-veteran retired Syracuse Police Lieutenant. He has sent a letter containing the essential points below to the New York State Senate. - Bluto

I am a retired police officer with over thirty years experience. As a Sergeant, and later Lieutenant, for the Syracuse PD, I worked with the Director of the Bureau of Research in City Hall. We examined and proposed programs for violent crime reduction. Now retired, I basically perform the same tasks on a contract basis.

I was recently informed of the new gun control laws proposed by the Assembly. Specifically these are A00491, A00506, A00561, A00574, A01105 and A01616, A02083, et al. Quite frankly this is another politically correct exercise in gun control rubbish that has never worked in this State to begin with.

The Assembly bills do absolutely nothing to curb gun violence. NYS already has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country and yet the City of Syracuse is experiencing an unbelievable increase in gun violence. These proposed laws are nothing more than cover for politicians who don't know what else to do.

Criminals do not care what these laws are. That's why we call them criminals.

Case in point. The recent .50 caliber ban is also an exercise in political correctness. There have been only two cases in the entire country where a 50 cal. weapon was used in a crime. The reason? These guns and the ammunition they require are so expensive that criminals do not use them. As far as shooting down an aircraft, that is patently false. An aircraft moving at nearly 200 mph on take off/landing is very hard to hit, even by an experienced soldier. A smaller caliber hunting rifle will also pierce the skin of any commercial or military aircraft because the aluminum is so thin (for reduced weight considerations).

The proposed laws are nothing more than a straw dog to gradually eliminate all firearms in NYS.

I was also responsible for all crime analysis in the SPD for nearly seven years and assisted other police agencies as far away as Auckland, NZ, in implementing GIS based crime analysis. In the early nineties, Joan Christenson [NYS Assemblywoman for Syracuse district] was running for the State Assembly. One of her campaign Workers contacted me in a ploy to determine that "assault weapons were the drug dealers gun of choice." At that time we had never had an assault weapon used against another person in the City and had only recovered one (AK47) that wasn't even an assault weapon because it could not be fired on full automatic. But she was more interested in fanning public alarm for political leverage then in contributing to rational public debate.

Drug dealers use handguns because they can conceal them easily and at close range require no skill to operate. A 17 year old dealer is not going to have an 8 to 9 pound assault rifle strapped under his hoodie with the stock sticking up over his head. Last year over a hundred people were shot in the City. No assault rifles were used. The current gun laws in this State are more than restrictive enough. Why don’t we simply enforce then with stricter penalties?

Why not limit judicial discretion so County judges cannot use limp-wristed sentencing options? It is not the gun laws that are weak, it is the pitiful imposition of sentencing and bail guidelines that frustrate police officers!

That is why Onondaga County used federal RICO prosecutions to break up the Boot Camp gang. Federal prosecutions have the teeth (federal evidence procedures and sentencing guidelines) to put fear in the hearts of gang-bangers. Gang members arrested for violent crimes have been known to BURST INTO TEARS when notified that they are "going federal."

It all boils down to this:

If the NYS Assembly is really interested in reducing violent crime, then why not adopt Federal prosecution guidelines and rules of evidence for state prosecutions?

The truth is the Democratic-controlled Assembly is not interested in reducing crime; only in reducing honest, law-abiding citizens' access to firearms for legitimate self-defense, sport and pleasure.

The facts never seem to deter the gun control addicts…

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