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Sanders, anti-gun activist mom announce ammo bill

City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) has sponsored a bill that would require people buying ammunition to show a gun permit, an idea spawned by the founder of a Queens-based anti-violence group.

Sanders was scheduled to introduce the bill, which would also raise the minimum age to purchase a rifle or shotgun to 21, Wednesday alongside Mothers Against Guns President Liz Bishop Goldsmith, who lobbied the councilman to make her idea a law.

Goldsmith developed the idea and started Mothers Against Guns after her godson was shot and killed in 1994, she said. Under her leadership the group, originally based in Cambria Heights and now run out of Goldsmith's home, has expanded to include several chapters around the country and one in London, she said.

Sanders was drawn to that motivation, he said.

"I was deeply moved by her stories of personal loss and inspired by her work as president of Mothers Against Guns," he said in a statement. "If the city were to more strictly regulate who is permitted to purchase ammunition, we could make it more difficult for criminals to commit acts of gun violence while setting an example for the rest of the country."

The city bill, which has gained support from a handful of co-sponsors, including Councilmen Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), would require ammunition dealers to collect more information from buyers, including proof of permit, caliber, make and model of the weapon. The bill would also amend the city code to raise the minimum age limit for purchasing a rifle or shotgun from 18 to 21.

Sanders was also slated to introduce a resolution calling on the state Legislature to pass Assembly bill No. A1166, which would prohibit the sale of ammunition unless the customer produces proof of a valid license.

"Without bullets a gun is useless," Goldsmith said. "Very few crimes are committed by persons with registered handguns. I feel it's going to be a great deterrent."

The legislation has won the seal of approval of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said the group's Executive Director Andy Pelosi, who was expected to be on hand Wednesday.

"This is something that we'd like to see replicated around the state," he said. "New York City can be a model for the rest of the state."

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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