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OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

Congress can’t pass gun laws, but at least our local politicians are sane

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks at a press

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks at a press conference calling for the permanent funding of the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act during rally at Silverstein Family Park in lower Manhattan, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

I’m going to cheer you up today by reminding you of one more reason we are lucky to live in NYC and its vicinity. While we have our share of incompetent and, yes, crooked politicians, at least they all band together in sanity around the issues of terrorism and 9/11 heroes.

New York lawmakers have been fighting to reauthorize the Zadroga Act, which funds health screenings and treatments for 9/11 responders but was allowed to expire, leaving them hanging. After much foot-dragging, Congress is expected to reauthorize the bill this week. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, too many national politicians who talk tough about battling terrorism have a funny way of showing it — like fighting attempts to stop those on federal terror watch lists from buying guns. Between 2004 and 2014, those on the lists purchased guns from American dealers more than 2,000 times, according to the FBI. But the attempt to halt this scary practice is merely “a distraction” from the fight on terror, says House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).

A bill to restrict sales of guns from those on the federal no-fly list was recently shunted aside by House Republicans. Those who argue against the bill say they’re concerned about people put on the list by mistake. So, clean up the list while you protect Americans! Of course, the fat wads of cash opponents receive from the NRA have nothing to do with it.

The politician leading the fight to ban gun purchases by those on the terror watch list is Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican.

“This is a tragedy waiting to happen,” warns King, who also supports extending the Zadroga bill. “We see all the potential threats and dangers that we have, and we’ve seen what’s happened in Paris. Don’t make it easier for them by allowing them to go into a gun shop and buy a gun.”

Despite all the support for this bill, Congress has blocked it. Frustrated Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy recently said he would issue an executive order to bar such purchases in his state by suspected terrorists. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering doing the same in New York.

Good for them — because waiting for national politicians to do the right thing is a waste of time.

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at


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