ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — In the wake of rising gun violence in Elmira, U.S. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the City of Light Church to announce her plans to reintroduce a gun trafficking and crime prevention act.
“We’ve seen the rise in gun violence across the state, including here in Elmira,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “Last weekend, the police here responded to three shootings within hours of each other. We have to take action.”
The Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act would provide law enforcement and prosecutors with the tools to go after those directly involved in the illegal movement of guns across state lines, gun dealers acting illegally, individuals who organize the gun trafficking rings and those who conspire to traffic guns.
According to Sen. Gillibrand, nearly 75% of guns in New York State connected to a crime and recovered by law enforcement are trafficked from out of state, many along the Iron Pipeline up I-95.
“We have to work across the aisle, and across federal, state, and local government to pass common sense gun reform to get illegally trafficked guns off our streets,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “Right now, there’s no federal law that defines gun trafficking as a crime.”
Sen. Gillibrand said criminals will face stiffer penalties through this legislation.
“Under my legislation, you’ll be able to convict them and sentence them to 25 years,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “We need to show that this is a crime that destroys lives and destroys communities. This bill will amend the federal code and make sure that trafficking in federal firearms is a federal crime and establish both fines and penalties for those who participate. It’s common sense legislation, bipartisan legislation, and it is a piece of legislation that has long passed due.”
In addition to Senator Gillibrand, Anthony Alvernaz, police chief for the Elmira Police Department, Dora Leland, an Elmira resident, and Willie Owens, co-founder of Program of P.E.A.C.E. and Stop the Violence, were in attendance.
Chief Alvernaz added his thoughts as there has been nearly 90 shootings in Elmira this year.
“I don’t think it’s any great secret that we have way too many guns already saturating the streets of Elmira,” said Alvernaz. “The last thing we need is more guns being funneled over the border.”
The full press conference from Gillibrand’s visit is attached below: