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New laws to protect cops like Astoria’s Enchautegui

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The passing of the two laws on Dec. 21 follows closely on the heels of the deaths of two city police officers shot and killed in the line of duty - Dillon Stewart, who was killed after pulling over a man who ran a red light in Brooklyn on Nov. 28, and Daniel Enchautegui, an Astoria-born Bronx-based officer who was shot off-duty while investigating a burglary in Pelham Bay on Dec. 10. Arrests have been made for both shootings.The new laws will increase penalties for offenders arrested for possessing more than three illegal handguns, lead to longer sentences for violent crimes against police officers and guarantee life in prison without the possibility of parole for the intentional murder of a police officer.City lawmakers have praised the passage of the bills and said the city will be safer with criminals off the streets for longer periods of time."It's about time that the Legislature gave gun violence the top priority it deserves and passed gun legislation that will save lives and hopefully avoid tragedies like the ones we've seen over the past weeks," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.Pataki also recently announced that $4.5 million in new funding and 100 new state police investigators will be dedicated to help remove illegal guns from city streets.Additionally, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said the state Assembly will resume discussion on bills to curb gun violence when the legislative session resumes this month. One issue is the banning of cop-killer bullets, which he said has the support of more than 140 police departments across the state."It's important to note that we're not talking about bullets that have a legitimate use in hunting and law enforcement," Gianaris said. "We're talking about ammunition that can pierce a bullet-proof vest."The assemblyman said he expects other legislation, drafted by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, to be passed by the Assembly that will crack down on purchasers who buy guns for resale to criminals, require gun dealers to cooperate with police during investigations of violent crimes, require better security for gun dealers to prevent weapons from being stolen and prevent minors from getting their hands on guns.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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