Crime Control & Law Enforcement
Throughout my time in Congress, I have had a long-standing record of supporting our police and law enforcement. Below is some of the recent work I have done in Congress to assist law enforcement and fight crime:
• Support Funding for our Law Enforcement. As the son of a police officer, I know how important it is to make sure our law enforcement officers have the funding and tools they need to keep our streets safe. I have strongly supported the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) aggressive counterterrorism program and opposed its liberal critics such as the New York Times, the Associated Press, and the ACLU. I have repeatedly advocated for and secured: annual funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, which provides federal justice funding grants for state and local governments to support law enforcement programs, courts, and drug treatment programs; as well as the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program, which provides federal grants to state and local law enforcement to hire and train officers, purchase and deploy new crime-fighting technologies, and develop and test new and innovative policing strategies.
Even though our current debt crisis makes fiscal restraint critical, we must ensure that our law enforcement officers have the funding they need to continue protecting and serving our communities.
• Crack Down on Illegal Gun Trafficking. In 2003, two NYPD detectives lost their lives after being shot point-blank in a sting operation to purchase illegal guns. Illegal guns have plagued the streets of New York. That is why I introduced the Detectives Nemorin and Andrews Anti-Gun Trafficking Act (H.R. 722). My legislation respects Americans’ Second Amendment rights while seeking to crack down on those who break our laws by trafficking in illegal guns and committing crimes with stolen weapons.
• Block Terrorists from Buying Firearms and Explosives. Right now federal law prohibits nine categories of dangerous persons from purchasing or possessing firearms. Remarkably, persons on the terrorist watch lists are not among these prohibited purchasers. After 9/11, it makes no sense that the federal government cannot stop gun sales to suspected terrorists. My legislation – the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2013 (H.R. 720) – closes this glaring gap in federal background checks. This legislation was first endorsed by President Bush’s Justice Department, and has support on both sides of the aisle.
The Boston Marathon bombings highlighted the dangers of explosives in the hands of terrorists. In response, I introduced the Explosive Materials Background Check Act (H.R. 2836) to stop similar attacks in the future and to close loopholes in our current explosives laws that put our communities at risk. My bill requires a background check to purchase dangerous quantities of explosive powders and makes it illegal to manufacture homemade explosives without a license. The lack of background checks allows felons, the mentally ill, suspected terrorists, and other dangerous individuals to have access to these explosives—no questions asked. I am intent on correcting that.
• Help Rehabilitate Troubled Youth Through Community Programs. I am a strong supporter of H.R. 1318, the Youth PROMISE Act, which would create a new grant program to assist local communities rehabilitate troubled youth through gang violence prevention and intervention practices, mentoring and after-school programs, and other evidence-based programs that have been shown to reduce crime more effectively and at a lower cost than incarceration.
• Provide Broadband for First Responders. In 2012, Congress passed and the President signed into law my legislation, the Broadband for First Responders Act, which enhances public safety by making more spectrum available to public safety agencies. It facilitates the development of a national wireless public safety broadband network to ensure our nation’s first responders can effectively communicate in crises.