THORNWOOD, N.Y. – As part of the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents (LHCSS), Mount Pleasant Schools Superintendent Susan Guiney and the 77 other members of the council issued a call for action against violent crimes related to guns, specifically within schools.
Seventy-eight superintendents in LHCSS signed the letter as a reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The letter calls for "adequate funding and access" to mental health services provided at the state and federal level, for the federal assault rifle ban to be reinstated and for the federal "gun show loophole" to be closed.
"We, the superintendents of the 78 school districts represented by the (LHCSS), call on our state and federal legislators to immediately enact stricter gun control legislation," the letter reads.
Guiney said Wednesday afternoon that the call for action was thoughtful, but that a difficult road may be ahead in seeing action.
"It's a two-pronged approach that calls for both a regulation on weapons and also easier access to mental health services," Guiney said. "We support the Second Amendment and it’s there for a reason, but at the same time something needs to be done."
At gun shows in New York state, purchasers of firearms, such as pistols, shotguns and rifles, must undergo a "National Instant Criminal Background Check."
Under federal law, unlicensed dealers at gun shows are not required to perform background checks. Violators of New York state's "gun show" laws are subject to misdemeanor criminal charges. Gun show operators who violate this law are subject to a fine of up to $10,000. Pistol owners are permitted by New York state, and shot guns and long guns are not permitted in New York.
Scott Sommavilla, president of the Westchester County Firearm Owners Association, said legislation should start where there is common ground, instead of immediately tackling gun control measures.
"Every single one of these has been a mental health issue," said Sommavilla, referring to mass shootings such as the massacre in Newtown, Conn. and the Virginia Tech University shootings, the two deadliest in modern U.S. history.
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