Four recent crimes drove Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Mothers Against Guns (MAG), the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, and a victimized cab driver named Enois Melbranche to denounce the outbreak of violence and call for tougher gun restrictions.
Melbranche was shot in the face while driving his cab in Bedford-Stuyvesant right after picking up three young women on Lafayette and Franklin avenues on August 7. The 62-year-old Haitian immigrant had been driving a cab for nearly a decade before the incident occurred.
When he was treated at Kings County Hospital doctors said he might never drive again. To date only one girl, April Pierce, 19, has been charged in the shooting. She was charged with attempted murder, robbery and criminal use of a firearm.
The reign of gun violence did not end there for the month of August. On the 22nd, another cab driver was shot in the face while driving a taxi in Elmhurst. On the 25th, a woman was robbed and raped at gunpoint in Ozone Park. And on the 27th, another cab driver was shot in the Bronx.
Those who gathered last week argued that this frightful bloodshed continues due to lax state gun laws in New York.
Addabbo, who is making a Senate run against Serphin Maltese, said that more has to be done to protect society-at-large.
“It is just plain wrong that New York State does not have stronger laws in place to protect our families and loved ones from illegal guns and persistent gun violence,” said the councilman.
In addition, Addabbo stated that the mayor has nonetheless made great strides when it comes to gun restrictions, but progress still has to be made.
“I applaud Mayor Bloomberg’s outstanding efforts to free New York City streets of illegal guns purchased out of state, but we need to do more here in New York State,” he said.
Due to the feverish rally of brutality against New York City taxi drivers, Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, spoke about how high risk of a job driving a cab has become.
Representing 11,000 drivers, he highlighted the fear brought on by recent events and pushed for more security.
“Taxi drivers are on the front lines of violence everyday, and this month has been one of the bloodiest,” Desai said.
“The State Senate has repeatedly failed to support comprehensive legislation to limit gun violence to the direct detriment of hardworking people. Recent events are further proof that we need stricter gun control laws now.”
It has been reported that almost 60 percent of guns used in crimes originate from just one percent of gun dealers. Many legal guns make their way into the illegal market by way of straw purchases – individuals who by guns legally and resell them to people who would otherwise not be able to buy them, including children.
The president of MAG urged leaders to act before the epidemic spreads.
“Gun violence is an unnecessary evil that destroys the lives of so many in our society and unless common senses state and federal legislation is enacted we will continue to see the flow of blood in the streets of our communities,” she said.
Every year the Brady Campaign issues a legislative scorecard, and New York scored a 51 out of a possible 100 points.
“We want to keep our communities safe and supportive places for people to raise their families, yet recent gun violence is a serious obstacle to that goal,” lamented Addabbo. “I support the right to bare arms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, but there have to be limits.”