Brooklyn pols unveil three-part plan to combat illegal guns

From left: State Senator Andrew Gounardes, Moms Demand Action Founding Member Kristen Pettit, Bay Ridge Resident Jay Brown, Councilman Justin Brannan, Kings County District.Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Commanding Officer of the 68th Precinct Captain Andrew Tolson.
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes’ Office

In the wake of an uptick in shootings citywide, a group of Brooklyn pols unveiled a three-part plan to keep illegal guns off city streets on Friday.

 “A single act of gun violence can irreparably damage the lives of so many people in our communities,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “But these horrific acts can be prevented by getting illegal guns off of our streets and preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands.”

The southern Brooklyn senator, Bay Ridge Councilman Justin Brannan, and Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez joined members of the anti-gun group Moms Demand Action to announce a set of proposals to keep firearms off Brooklyn streets — by cracking down on gun trafficking from firearm-lenient states, hosting more gun buyback events, and continuing to support community-based anti-violence groups. 

“I remain fully committed to protecting public safety in Brooklyn by focusing resources on those who shoot and carry weapons in our neighborhoods, by going after firearms traffickers who bring guns into our city and by partnering with violence interrupters and other community-based organizations,” Gonzalez said in a statement. 

To ebb the flow of illegal guns coming into the state, the pols threw their support behind two bills in the Albany legislature that would require the state to release data on the origins of illegal guns trafficked into New York and to reclassify major gun trafficking to a more severe felony. 

“There is just no reason someone should be able to purchase guns down south and illegally resell them here in New York. We must increase the penalties for those caught doing so and go after the gun sellers in other states who fail to properly screen their sales. That’s how we’ll get to the root of the problem and get illegal guns off our streets,” Brannan said. 

The push comes as the city has seen a 91.2 percent uptick in shootings across the Five Boroughs this year compared to 2019 — with 1,152 shooting incidents so far in 2020, compared to just 603 last year. 

While southern Brooklyn has seen less of a crime spike than other parts of the city, the recent fatal shootings of longtime Bay Ridge resident Michael Scully on Sept. 7 and Arfan Butt in Dyker Heights on Sept. 12 sparked the pols’ call to action. 

“In Bay Ridge, we recently lost a neighbor, Michael Scully, to gun violence,” Gounardes said. “These heartbreaking events demonstrate why we have to redouble our efforts to end gun violence in our great city.”