Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani


Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, March 2, 1997

Good morning. It has been a week since the terrible tragedy that happened last Sunday at the Empire State Building. And even as we grieve for the families and our hearts and prayers go out to them, perhaps we can use this senseless tragedy to re-energize the fight for gun control.

A man came to this country from Gaza City on December 24th of last year. Ali Hassan Abu Kamal first arrived in New York and then traveled by plane to Melbourne, Florida, where he checked into a motel.

If this man had wanted to get a driver's license in the state of Florida, he would have had to have gone through some necessary and sensible requirements.

In Florida, you have to take a written test and a driving test to show you understand the rules of safety and the rules of the road. You have to take an eye exam, and your background is checked to see that you don't have a record of being a dangerous driver.

But he didn't want a driver's license, he wanted a gun. And he wanted a gun that could slaughter human beings quickly -- namely, a semi-automatic weapon. And it's much easier to get a license to buy a gun, even a semi-automatic weapon in Florida, than it is to get a driver's license.

All he needed was a registration card that he received by establishing residency at a cheap motel on the same day that he bought the gun. He then bought a .380 Beretta at gun store called The Oaks Trading Post.

This is the same gun store that sold the mass murderer William Cruse a semi-automatic weapon in 1987 that he used to kill six people, including two police officers in Florida.

If Mr. Abu Kamal would have tried to buy a gun in New York, he would not have been able to do so. Because in New York our gun control laws are much stricter and more responsible than in Florida.

To purchase a gun in the State of New York you have to give your full name, your date of birth, your residence, your occupation. You have to prove that you're a United States citizen, you have to show you are of good character, competency and integrity. And you have to demonstrate a real need for the weapon.

And thanks in part to our stricter gun control laws, crime is down dramatically in New York City. Shootings are down over 50 percent. Murder is down over 50 percent. But the fact is that 90 percent of the guns we take out of the hands of criminals in New York City come from out of the State of New York.

We need a federal law that bans all assault weapons, and if in fact you do need a handgun you should be subjected to at least the same restrictions -- and really stronger ones -- that exist for driving an automobile.

The United States Congress needs to pass uniform licensing for everyone carrying a gun. Congress must do more to prevent a tragedy like the one that happened at the Empire State Building from ever happening again.

From Gracie Mansion, this is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

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