Press Releases

Statement on Mass Shootings & Federal Gun Control

This past weekend, a terrible duo of mass-shooting murders left the country reeling in shock and grief. Further devastating was the unmistakable chord struck in our memories that connected these events to the shootings and deaths that have preceded them, including one in our city just last week.

Not even one year ago, after a November spate of senseless killings, the New York City Bar Association condemned the “wave of violence in the strongest possible terms, sends condolences to the families of the deceased, and extends its sincerest well wishes to survivors” while also calling on our nation’s leaders to condemn “hateful rhetoric and identity-based violence.” After 59 people were killed in Paradise, Nevada, in 2017, then-City Bar President John Kiernan lamented that “this heartbreak touches every American and we grieve for those who were injured and for families who lost loved ones.” The anguish of his words echoed that of his predecessor, Carey Dunne, who asked after the tragic 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, “How many more young children have to be murdered before we come to our senses?” Each of these statements, which mark only some of the most horrific such events in our recent past, included firm calls for enactment of federal regulations that would severely restrict the ability of any person to obtain the weapons of war that make this type of killing possible. Because these calls and so many like them have fallen largely on deaf ears in our nation’s capital, this week we are left with our thoughts and prayers going out once again to still more victims and their families.

Even in renewed sorrow we must not stop, we will not stop, calling for necessary gun-control measures that will help keep Americans safe from such massive violence. The persistent availability of overwhelming firepower to those who would bring violence into public spaces has brought fear into those spaces as well. Freedom from fear is among the most basic protections that the law affords all who reside in and visit our country, and where fear has blossomed, the law has failed. So our laws must change. We know this is possible because we’ve seen New York and other states change them.

We renew our call for a federal ban on the type of assault rifles that allow a shooter to exact the highest possible death toll in a matter of seconds or minutes. We renew our call to expand and make universal the background checks that ensure guns are kept out of dangerous hands. We renew our certainty that only reforms of the law and principled leadership will free Americans from the fear that these killers have brought into the open. We must make the law serve that fundamental and enduring interest.