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oped letters & comments
We must act now to
end gun violence
BY GREGORY MEEKS
Whether it’s Odessa and El Paso Texas, Dayton
and Vegas, or Orlando and Sandy Hook, it’s oft en
said that our nation barely has a moment to grieve
one mass shooting before the next one makes headlines.
But we must not forget that gun violence happens
every day, in homes and on our streets. Yes, even here in Queens.
According to the CDC’s most recent complete data set in 2017,
39,773 people died as a result of gun-related injuries. Gun violence is
a national epidemic, manifested by inconsistent gun laws, that spare
New York has strong gun control laws, this is true. But there is little
stopping someone from going to state with more gun stores and fewer
laws, driving up or down the “Iron Pipeline” of I-95, and using that
weapon here in New York. You may recall the death of NYPD offi ce
Brian Moore who was shot by a gun acquired in Perry, Ga.
In August, Queens saw an increase in shootings while, throughout
the city, crime has been on a downward trend. In the 113th precinct
which covers parts of Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans and Springfi eld
Gardens, shootings have increased by 40 percent this year, up to 14
from 10 the year prior.
One crucial way we can reduce gun violence in our community is
my instituting federal laws that set at least a fl oor of necessary gun
safety measures, like universal background checks and closing the gun
show loophole. Th e House passed a package of gun safety reforms
last winter, H.R. 8, as one of its fi rst major priorities aft er Democrats
Th is legislation is not only bold, it is widely popular across both
Democratic and Republican voters alike. According to a recent
Quinnipeac poll, 93 percent were in favor of universal background
checks, and 82 percent supported requiring a license to purchase a
gun. And yet, these House-passed bills are sitting in the Senate’ legislative
graveyard, waiting on Sen. Mitch McConnell to heed the will of
frustrated Americans tired of the Senate’s inaction.
Aft er all, despite these bills being strong measures to help keep guns
out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, they are the fl oor
of what Congress can do, not the ceiling. Th ere are more measures that
can help drastically reduce damage that can be infl icted by a singular
mass shooter. Th ose measures include banning Assault style weapons
like the AR-15 so commonly used in mass shootings, banning extended
magazines which allow shooters to shoot longer without reloading.
Th ere are also measures to reduce the gun violence we see every day
in our communities, like allowing authorities to temporarily confi scate
weapons from those accused of domestic abuse or who are a danger
to themselves. Over half of the mass shootings in the U.S. are connected
to intimate partner or family-based violence, and the majority of
those who kill an intimate partner have a history of domestic violence.
Th is month, Th e House Judiciary Committee moved forward with
three additional pieces of legislation: H.R. 1186, H.R. 2708 and H.R.
1236, which aim to remove weapons of war out of our streets and
restrict those seeking to commit hate crimes from access to guns.
I’ll soon be reintroducing my legislation from last Congress, the
Investor Choice Against Gun Proliferation Act, which would require
listed companies to annually disclose their fi nancial relationships with
the gun industry, allowing consumers and investors to make informed
decision that aligns with their morals.
Th ough his position changes by the day, even President Trump has
been forced to acknowledge the national momentum for gun reform.
We can credit that to local and national activism. I’ve recently met with
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who’ve been instrumental
in building the gun safety movement, to discuss how we can get
common sense gun reform over the fi nish line.
We have more guns in this country than we have people. When
compared to every other wealthy nation in the world, no other country
comes close to matching our rate of gun deaths. Th is is not the
American exceptionalism we want to be known for. It is time for the
Senate to bring gun reform legislation to the fl oor for a vote now.
Gregory Meeks is the U.S. Representative for New York’s 5th congressional
FOLLOW THE RULES
OF THE ROAD
As our city streets are becoming
more congested with bikers,
motorists and pedestrians,
the one commonality among
all three groups is that nobody
seems to observe traffi c rules
A “stop” sign means to come
to a full stop before the crosswalk
— not halfway through it
— and many motorists do not
make a full stop anymore. Th ey
just slow down and roll right
through the intersection.
When pedestrians have the
“walk” sign, motorists who are
turning into those intersections
are supposed to yield the right
Also, bicyclists oft en do not
observe full stop signs or red
traffi c signals anywhere —
they just pedal right through,
ignoring the red lights and stop
signs. Th ere have been several
pedestrians seriously injured
and killed by reckless bicyclists
because of their abhorrent
Many pedestrians are constantly
jaywalking all over the
city, creating traffi c nightmares
for motorists. And many people
— whether walking, biking
or driving — also are on their
phones, constantly texting and
not even paying the least bit of
attention to their surroundings.
Folks, let’s get with the program
and be more observant of
the traffi c rules and regulations
which are in eff ect for the benefi
t and safety of everyone, and
stop using your mobile devices
while driving, walking or
John Amato, Fresh Meadows
CHECK OUT THIS
Former New York City
Crowley urged “Queens
Library Equity” in a N.Y. Daily
News op-ed piece (09/23).
Citing $200 million in
unfunded capital needs for
Queens 66 library branches,
she called for “sanity in how we
allocate resources throughout
local branches of the Queens
Public Library system.”
But more sanity would result
from consolidating NYC’s three
separate public library branches
— one for Queens, another
for Brooklyn and one for
Manhattan, the Bronx and
Staten Island — into a single
A fragmented structure
wastes money on separate computer,
inventory, book buying
and & administration operations.
It stems from a time
before the fi ve boroughs were
consolidated into one municipal
government in 1898.
But 121 years is far too long
for three systems to endure.
Centralization will lower costs
and increase funds for all local
library branches. Th at’s something
NYC leaders should
Richard Reif, Kew
HERE’S WHY LIRR
SERVICE ON OLD
BRANCH WILL NOT
Any hope for restoration of
service on the old Rockaway
Beach Long Island Rail Road
branch has reached the end of
Th ere is no additional funding
in the MTA $51 billion
2020 - 2024 Five Year Capital
Plan to proceed beyond the feasibility
The original completion
date for the Rockaway Beach
LIRR restoration study was
June 2017. It was subsequently
delayed until December
2017 and again to June 2018.
Another year has come and
gone with no draft and fi nal
reports ever having been made
Th e MTA never committed
to a new schedule and release
date of the study. No wonder
they stonewalled release of the
study. Th e results probably concluded
that both feasibility and
costs had been found to be prohibitive.
Th e estimated costs previously
grew from $600 million to
a $1 billion over recent years.
Th is may explain why no further
funding has been allocated
toward this project.
You would have to fi le a
FOIA (Freedom of Information
Act) request with the MTA to
obtain a copy of the study. So
much for honest open transparency
in state government
that was promised by Gov.
Cuomo under his administration
for all state agencies and
authorities including the MTA.
Th e only winners from this
study will be the well paid consultants.
Th ey will move on
to the next transit planners
dream, leaving Rockaway residents
once again holding an
It appears that elected offi -
cials who supported this project
such as Congress member
Gregory Meeks, Borough
President Melinda Katz, State
Senators Joseph Adabbo
and James Sanders, Jr., State
Assembly member Stacey
Pheffer Amato and NYC
Council members I. Daneek
Miller and Eric Ulrich, have no
clout with Gov. Cuomo, MTA
Management, MTA Board
Members and the Albany MTA
Capital Program Review Board.
Th ey all talked the talk, but
could not walk the walk, coming
away empty handed with no
additional funding to advance
R.I.P. Rest In Peace
Restoration of LIRR service on
the old Rockway Beach branch.
Larry Penner, Great Neck
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