BY SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI
On Tuesday, I heard on the radio a report, both tragic and familiar: there was another school shooting.
This time, it was in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. I heard a radio host describe how afraid she is to raise her son in a world where school shootings have become regular news. She said her son already suffers from anxiety and that she was truly afraid of how these shootings will cause him to worry even more, every day, at just 8-years-old.
As a father of two young children, I was struck by her words. As parents, it’s our job to protect our children, and it’s heartbreaking when we can’t promise them that another school shooting will never happen again.
Following the tragic Sandy Hook shooting, I supported some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The SAFE Act banned assault-style weapons, mandated universal background checks, and banned high-capacity magazines in our state.
Now I’m calling for further gun reforms to make New York safer and to serve as a model for other states to follow. I stand behind increasing the waiting period to purchase a gun, funding for gun violence research, and a judge’s right to take guns away from someone deemed a threat to themselves or others.
To combat the issue of gun violence, though, we also have to look at mental health, bullying, and security in our schools. I don’t believe any of these issues are mutually exclusive.
First, there has to be more funding for mental health services, which I fully support. Second, the mental hygiene law needs to be clearer, which is why I proposed legislation giving mental health professionals the tools they need to report if someone is threat to themselves or others.
In our schools, more has to be done to stop bullying. The effects of bullying can last a lifetime, which is why I’m working to pass the Law to Encourage the Acceptance of All Differences (LEAD). The LEAD Act will provide schools with the tools they need to identify, prevent and prohibit bullying both in school and online. We also need more resource officers in our schools, legislation that I support.
Unfortunately, federal gun laws have significantly lagged behind our state. For example, federal law doesn’t require private gun sellers to perform background checks. According to the Giffords Gun Center to Prevent Gun violence, a 2017 study estimated that 42 percent of US gun owners acquired their most recent firearm without a background check. This is not acceptable.
I will join hundreds of thousands of people this Saturday in Washington, DC for the March For Our Lives. Sibling rallies are expected across the country, and I encourage everyone who wants to protect the safety of our children to attend. This is a time for all of us to come together, remember the innocent lives lost to gun violence, and say, “Enough is enough.”