U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison), called on her colleagues Thursday to pass “common sense" legislation to protect people and law enforcement. She spoke about the need for passage of the “Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act” to help prevent senseless violence in the wake of the recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin that took many lives.
“This bill would require ammunition dealers to be licensed and maintain records of ammunition sales,” she said. “Those purchasing ammunition must do so in person and present photo identification which in effect prohibits the mass sale of ammunition online and through the mail.”
Lowey spoke at Clarkstown Town Hall in New City along with , Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, Clarkstown Town Board Members Shirley Lasker and Stephanie Hausner, Haverstraw Supervisor Howard Phillips and Councilmember Hector Soto.
Lowey said law enforcement officers should never be in a position where they can be outgunned by someone with more ammunition. She said it should not take a tragedy to push the county into debating the merits of existing laws.
Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan spoke in support of the legislation.
“With all due respect to the Second Amendment, I want to thank Congresswoman Lowey and Congresswoman McCarthy for bringing a good common sense law to the House that will help solve violence and prevent violence in the future,” he said.
Lowey is a co-sponsor of legislation introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) to reinstate the assault weapons ban and restrict sale of large capacity magazines that can hold dozens of rounds of ammunition.
asserted there was a need for the legislation to limit online sales of ammunition and weapons to protect citizens and law enforcement.
“Now we all here appreciate our right to bear arms and our right to defend ourselves and our home and our family,” he said. “To somehow suggest that the ability to buy anonymously unlimited quantities of ammunition which is going to be used offensively certainly not defensively is absurd. It’s something that needs to be tightened up immediately. “
He said restrictions should be applied to purchases of assault weapons.
“Assault weapons are never used defensively,” said Zugibe. “They’re used offensively. I think our founders would roll over in their graves if they saw the extent to which people try to extend the second amendment.”
Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee voiced her support, saying action was needed so people can feel comfortable going about their daily lives.
“Limiting access, controlling access and making assault weapons and high caliber ammunition more difficult to purchase is a step, absolutely a step in the right direction,” she said.
Cornell characterized the bill as government assuring the safety of the public.
About 10 opponents of the legislation showed up at the Clarkstown Police Department but did not get a chance to speak with Lowey. They held signs reading, “We oppose the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act.”
Irene Tiburcio of Chestnut Ridge explained her objections to the bill.
“We believe it is an infringement upon our Second Amendment rights,” she said. “This bill may also include or they may sneak in other aspects of gun sales or ammunition sales other than online. It may require dealers to go through stringent regulation prior to any ammunition sales.”
Kevin Stelling of Clarkstown said his opposition to the bill was not based on politics, but for keeping his individual rights. He said criminals would get ammunition and guns regardless of the law.
“There are other steps available to screen buyers,” he said. “There are more methodical ways of screening buyers.”