Westchester County Legislators

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Westchester Democratic Legislators Statement on Congressional Vote to Scale Back Gun Regulations

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) “Today, Congress took a major step toward making it easier to access guns. The House of Representatives voted to overturn a rule which barred gun ownership by some who were deemed ‘mentally impaired’ by the Social Security Administration. Congress’s action only further serves to exacerbate the issues we are facing here in Westchester County and is a further reason for the Board of Legislators to override County Executive Astorino’s veto of the prohibition of gun shows on County park land and facilities.

“This rule applied to a small group of individuals who suffered from a range of long-term mental illnesses and were unable to manage their own expenses. Sadly, Congress felt that these individuals who are suffering so greatly were still eligible to purchase deadly weapons.

“Whether it be overturning rules like this, aimed to keep guns out of the hands of some who are deemed unstable and need to have others handle their money, or laws aimed to keep guns away from those convicted of domestic violence charges, scaling back regulations on guns is a growing trend nationally.

“Federal law does not require states to make information identifying those who suffer from these mental illnesses available to the federal or state agencies that perform background checks and studies show many states fail to voluntarily report the necessary records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), especially with respect to people prohibited from possessing guns for mental health reasons. Because of this, some individuals who have been deemed dangerous can pass background checks and obtain firearms. In cases where perpetrators of domestic violence access guns, states that require a background check for every handgun sale have 38% fewer instances of women being shot to death by intimate partners.

“To scale back laws making it harder for those with known serious mental illnesses or backgrounds in abuse makes our County less safe. Plain and simple. We implore our colleagues on the Board to heed the calls of countless numbers of Westchester County residents as well as experts in their respective fields and override the County Executive’s veto allowing the use of County funds and facilities to promote guns. The time is now to take a step to protect Westchester taxpayers and stem the proliferation of guns and gun culture in our County."


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