Rep. Nydia Velazquez to introduce sweeping legislation designed to curtail illegal weapons

Rep. Nydia Velazquez plans to introduce expansive federal legislation this week designed to rupture the “iron pipeline” of illegal weapons into New York City while simultaneously bolstering anti-violence and mental health programs.

“By better harnessing technology, requiring gun owners to report missing firearms and establishing a national database for lost guns, we can assist law enforcement and encourage owners to be more responsible in safeguarding their weapons,” Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) said in a statement.

Her bill, called the “Reducing Gun Violence in our Neighborhoods Act,” seeks to levy a federal tax of $100 on every firearm sold (exempting guns acquired by law enforcement officers). Revenue from the tax would be funneled into Department of Justice grants to fund local community mental health services and anti-violence programs.

The legislation also seeks to establish a “passive identification capability” into all firearms sold in the U.S., allowing all firearms to be identified by a mobile or fixed reading device. People who sell guns without this ID system would face penalties of up to $1,000 per gun.

A national database of all lost and stolen guns would also be established under the act: Gun owners who fail to report a gun lost or stolen within 48 hours of discovering it missing would be fined $10,000.

The bill has garnered support from Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus. Vance, Jr., Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, and other organizations.

Despite strong New York state gun laws, “More than 8,500 firearms were recovered and traced in New York in 2013,” with nearly 70% coming from other states, noted Vance, who said the trafficking of illegal weapons “demands a national solution.”