By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The person who pulls the trigger isn’t the only one responsible for the death caused by a gun.
That’s the thought behind legislation proposed by state Sen. Marty Golden, who is seeking to expand New York’s anti-gun laws.
In the wake of a rash of shootings in New York City this summer, including the death of a 4-year-old Bronx boy who was hit by a stray bullet in a playground, Golden has introduced a bill to crack down on users of so-called “community guns.”
A “community gun” is a weapon that is shared, usually by gang members, and passed along to different people within a group. The gun is often hidden by one member of the group in a public place and then retrieved by another for use.
“By sharing a gun, or leaving it in an accessible location, the safety of all is jeopardized. This legislation will discourage the criminal practice of a ‘community gun’ and, at the same time, make safer the residents of New York State,” Golden said.
The bill would increase the penalties for the sharing, availability, sale, exchange, giving, or disposal of a “community gun” to be used to commit crimes and intimidate others, Golden said.
The bill also gives prosecutors greater ability to attach criminal liability to all those responsible for sharing or making available a community gun, the senator said. The crimes would be prosecuted as felonies.
The proposed legislation would make the unlawful sale or transfer of a firearm that intentionally causes the death of another person within a three-year period a felony.
“Law enforcement experts have reported that the use of community guns is on the rise, yet those who are making these illegal guns available are not being held accountable,” Golden said. “We must advance our laws here in New York to halt this pattern in order to keep our streets safer and protect our citizens.”
Under current law, prosecutors have to prove that a person knew the gun they were sharing was going to be used in a crime.
Assemblywoman Barbara Clark, who represents Queens Village, is considering becoming the Assembly sponsor of the bill, according to Golden.
The bill has attracted the interest of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York Daily News reported.
“We cannot further reduce gun violence if criminals have unfettered access to guns,” John Feinblatt, the mayor’s policy chief, told the Daily News.