FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CONGRESSMAN RANGEL TAKE FIGHT AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS TO CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS IN WASHINGTON, DC
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that he and Congressman Charles B. Rangel, the dean of New York's Congressional Delegation, will serve on a panel entitled "Crime in the Cities: America's Mayors Fight Back" at the 36th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in Washington, D.C. next Thursday, September 7, 2006. Mayor Bloomberg suggested convening a CBC forum on crime to Congressman Rangel earlier this year when the two were brainstorming ways to build on the work of April's Mayors' Summit on Illegal Guns held at Gracie Mansion. In addition to Mayor Bloomberg and Congressman Rangel, many of the 43 members of the House who are part of the CBC and Mayors Anthony Williams of Washington, Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit, and Ron Dellums of Oakland, are scheduled participate in the panel discussions. Additional mayors may join the session as well.
"Cities are the front lines in the fight against crime, and mayors need opportunities like the one the Congressional Black Caucus is providing next week to share best practices and innovative policing and enforcement strategies," said Mayor Bloomberg. "I couldn't be more grateful to Charlie Rangel for giving mayors across our country the opportunity to work with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus on goals we share, like maximizing penalties for those who posses, use and traffic in illegal guns and opposing potentially damaging and limiting federal legislation."
"Mayor Bloomberg is the leader among American mayors in the fight to stop illegal gun trafficking," said Congressman Rangel. "No conference on crime would be complete without him."
A former Assistant U.S. Attorney with experience as a prosecutor, and as the former Chairman of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, Congressman Rangel has long been recognized as a Congressional leader in the fight against international drug trafficking, narcotics abuse and drug-related crime. His crime fighting initiatives include authorship of the Edward Byrne Act which provided federal grants to state and local anti-drug law enforcement as well as the Drug Free Schools Act.
Mayor Bloomberg has made stopping the flow of illegal guns an important priority in his second term. To that end, he is using a comprehensive three-pronged approach of stronger enforcement, tougher legislation and innovative litigation to combat illegal guns.
In April, Mayor Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino hosted the first-ever Mayors' Summit on Illegal Guns. The Summit, held in New York City at Gracie Mansion, brought together 15 mayors from around the country to discuss the problem of illegal guns and share strategies on how to combat it. The nonpartisan group of mayors discussed cutting-edge policing and legal strategies, identified opportunities for greater coordination in combating the flow of illegal guns, and signed a statement of principles to guide their efforts going forward. The mayors also pledged to initiate joint lobbying against harmful federal legislation and begin possible companion litigation against rogue gun dealers. In June, Mayor Bloomberg announced that more mayors from across the country had joined in this effort, and now the total number of mayors in the coalition is more than 80.
Less than three months after announcing a groundbreaking lawsuit against 15 gun dealers in five states that sold guns illegally, Mayor Bloomberg in July announced that two of those gun dealers agreed to a landmark settlement providing for a Special Master selected by the City and appointed by the court to monitor their firearms sales activities. The Special Master will ensure that each dealer is in full compliance with all laws regulating the sales and purchase of firearms. No other city or state has ever won such an agreement.
Also, in July, the Mayor signed four bills into law that include tough new measures that will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals, prevent under-the-table sales and require those convicted of a gun crime to check in with the NYPD after they have been released from prison and ban real guns from being painted to look like toy guns. In June, the State Legislature increased the mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a loaded handgun to 3 ½ years, and eliminated the loophole that allowed judges far too much discretion in sentencing - changes the Mayor had called for in his State of the City Address last January.
Other enforcement efforts include creating specialized Gun Courts, which have resulted in longer sentences for gun offenders, working to introduce gun shot detection cameras that will discourage the use and possession of illegal guns, and establishing a "debriefing" protocol for every felony gun defendant, which is helping law enforcement agencies learn more about the identities of gun traffickers.
Stu Loeser / Virginia Lam (212) 788-2958
Emile Milne (Rangel) (202) 225-4365