On Valentine’s Day, family members who have lost loved ones to gun violence along with advocates and law enforcement officials joined senators and assemblymembers at the state capitol to urge the state senate to include microstamping in their budget proposal. The governor’s executive budget eliminates CoBIS, the state’s pistol and revolver ballistic identification database, leaving a gap in the ability of law enforcement to link shell casings back to the gun that fired them.
Every year in New York State, hundreds of gun-related crimes go unsolved because the crime gun is never recovered and police are unable to connect the shell casings left at the scene of a shooting to the perpetrator.
Microstamping ensures that when a gun is fired, information identifying the make, model and serial number of the gun is stamped onto the cartridge as numbers and letters. This technology allows law enforcement to trace firearms through shell casings found at crime scenes, even if the crime gun is never found.
Since 2008, I have been working to advance microstamping legislation in the New York State Legislature. Over 100 law enforcement agencies, police departments, and mayors from across the state have endorsed the bill. Although the New York State Assembly passed the measure last year with bipartisan support, the senate has refused to bring the bill to a vote.
Advocates and family survivors of gun violence met with senators to discuss the need for microstamping in New York State and urged its inclusion in the senate budget proposal.
“My brother’s unsolved murder is a gut-wrenching experience that our family must endure daily. Elected officials are unaware of what challenges law enforcement officials face when they willingly pursue offenders while outmatched through more savvy methods of evasion. We fully support legislation that will aid our protectors in apprehending, and above all, preventing others from having to experience the untold sadness felt by the grieving family members of those stolen by gun violence,” said Dionne Gordon, whose brother, Maurice Gordon, a Federal law enforcement officer from Freeport, was shot and killed in front of his parents’ home in Jamaica, Queens in 2010. Officer Gordon is survived by his wife and two young children. Although 25 shell casings were found at the scene of the crime, Officer Gordon’s murder remains unsolved.
Microstamping is all about public safety and catching criminals. The family survivors can speak to that issue as no one else can. Law Enforcement Officer Maurice Gordon was shot and killed; 25 shell casings were retrieved. No suspect, no gun, no leads. What do you tell his family when there is a preponderance of evidence by way of shell casings, and you have the means to stop these crimes, but not the political will.
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence also released “Anonymous Shell Casings: Unsolved Crimes Waiting for Microstamping to be Passed,” a new report highlighting over 140 unsolved gun crimes in New York where no crime gun was found, but shell casings were recovered. To read the report, click here.
Michelle Schimel is the New York State Assembly representative for the 16th Assembly District. She was first elected in a Special Election held on March 27, 2007.