Sillitti shares her response to this “uniquely American tragedy”
By Hannah Devlin
On June 23, the Supreme Court overturned New York’s law which required applicants for concealed carry gun permits to demonstrate “proper cause.” The law overturned is one which dates back to 1913. This decision will expand rights to carry firearms, while simultaneously striking down an embedded state law.
In the wake of recent mass shootings, a tragedy that has begun to happen more frequently over the past decade, this decision has generated fear for many. Especially after the fatal Buffalo shooting this May, the Supreme Court decision has alarmed many New York residents.
Due to this decision, the Port Washington News reached out and spoke with Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti. After a career in public service in Nassau County, Sillitti is a first-time elected official who represents the 16th Assembly District, one which includes Port Washington, Great Neck and its neighboring towns.
“Gun violence is, unfortunately, ever present in our lives,” said Sillitti. “It is a uniquely American tragedy.”
In response to the Supreme Court, New York legislators met at an extraordinary session to discuss the state’s action.
“We did pass several bills before the end of session for the Supreme Court decision,” explained Sillitti. “It was a 10 bill legislative package that addressed some loopholes in current law and [will prevent] guns from falling into the wrong hands.”
One of the ways in which the state chose to respond was by passing a list of designated sensitive locations where firearms are not permitted.
At this session, Sillitti brought a draft of a previously submitted bill that aimed to prohibit firearms in polling places. These locations had not previously been considered, and while compiling the list of sensitive places, Sillitti had submitted her legislation to the leadership.
This bill was taken into consideration and ultimately incorporated into the session’s legislation. Alongside polling locations, the sensitive locations included in this law are government buildings, medical care facilities, places of worship, public transportation and educational institutions, among others.
Due to safety concerns, there are exemptions for law enforcement, including police, military personnel, security guards, etc.
In addition to these sensitive places, the legislation passed had a number of other provisions as well. This includes an in-person interview for concealed-carry applicants, contact information, character references and access to social media accounts. These requirements are aimed to assess the applicant’s character and, ultimately, guarantee the safety of New York residents.
Additionally, the state raised the age on purchase of a semi-automatic rifle to 21, mandates safe storage of guns in houses with children under the age of 18 and has created a new crime of making a threat of mass harm.
These provisions were put into place in response to trends which occurred in many recent shootings. The legislation passed was also done in an attempt to protect embedded, established law.
“In this case, we’re not talking about a decades old law, like [Roe v. Wade]. This is a century-old law that was struck down,” said Sillitti.
Sillitti also made it a point to explain that lawful gun owners should not be worried about the new state legislation.
“If you are a lawful gun owner, this law shouldn’t really affect you,” said Sillitti. “This list is a pretty common-sense list where guns shouldn’t be permitted.”
Sillitti concluded by encouraging her constituents to reach out with any questions or concerns.
“We do have, in New York, some of the strictest gun laws in the nation,” said Sillitti. “And we want to keep it that way”