Today, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) released a letter that he recently sent to B. Todd Jones, Acting Director of The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requesting a meeting to discuss the illegal trafficking of guns into New York City. He was joined by City Councilman Al Vann, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblywoman Annette Robinson and other community leaders in denouncing the escalating gun violence experienced this week and calling for a greater level of governmental intervention.
"This past week there have been several troubling incidents of senseless gun violence that have shocked the residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant and other central Brooklyn communities throughout the Congressional District," said Jeffries. "These shootings are made possible by the presence of illegal firearms that are often trafficked into New York City from states in the deep South and other parts of the country. We must all do more to combat the flood of guns into our neighborhoods."
The ATF is a federal agency under the Department of Justice responsible for enforcing the nation's gun laws. It often partners with local law enforcement to combat gun violence and safeguard our communities.
Inexcusably, the ATF has gone without a confirmed director for more than six years. There have been several attempts by President Bush and President Obama to appoint an official director, all of which have been stalled in the Senate without reasonable explanation.
"People have a right to live in our community without fear that they can be struck down by a bullet at any moment," Jeffries said. "As a member of the House Judiciary committee, combating gun violence will be a top priority. I look forward to working closely with the ATF, my colleagues in government and other community leaders to promote greater enforcement of existing gun laws and the enactment of stronger ones when necessary."
Congressman Jeffries wrote the letter after a 34 year-old, father of three was fatally shot at a local diner in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn last Sunday. Subsequent to the issuance of the letter there have been several additional shootings in Brooklyn, including a 92 year-old senior in East New York, a 2 year-old toddler and a slain 41 year-old ABC news staffer in Bedford-Stuyvesant.