Crime Control & Law Enforcement
Throughout my time in Congress, I have established a long-standing record of supporting our law enforcement professionals and first responders. Below is some of the recent work I have done in Congress to assist law enforcement and fight crime:
• Support Funding for our Cops and Firefighters. 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 (federal justice funding grants for state and local jurisdictions) and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program (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).
As Co-Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I have been a leading advocate of funding the needs of our fire service professionals. The Firefighters Grant Program (FIRE) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program (SAFER) are key to improving the readiness of our nation’s heroic firefighters and emergency service providers. My efforts to ensure local safety officials have the critical equipment and financial support they need include: a) serving as the Lead Republican in support of the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act to reauthorize FIRE and SAFER grants; b) fighting for full funding of the grants when cuts were included in the President’s recent budget proposals; and c) introducing legislation – the Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment & Retention Act – to streamlines tax treatment of certain deferred compensation plans (e.g. the Length of Service Award Program) for volunteer firefighters and emergency responders, which increases the plans’ accessibility and recruitment value for townships.
Even though our current debt crisis makes fiscal restraint critical, we must ensure that our first responders still have the funding they need to continue protecting and serving our communities safely and effectively.
• Ensure Complete and Up-to-Date DNA Registration of Child Sex Offenders. State and local governments are faced with a severe DNA backlog and when these cases go unprocessed, criminals cannot be convicted and are able to commit repeated crimes. This backlog must be eliminated. I have authored legislation – the Convicted Child Sex Offender DNA Index System Support Act – to authorize funding to establish a grant program specifically for eliminating the DNA backlog of child sex offender cases.
• 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.
• 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. H.R. 722 increases penalties associated with the sale or transfer of a stolen or altered firearm to persons prohibited from possessing firearms; and for committing a crime with a stolen or altered firearm.
• 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.