Malverne Village chief of police John Aresta, whose uncle was gunned down in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road Massacre, told Fox Business News on Wednesday that he supports gun control laws for personal reasons and because of his position as the village’s top cop.
“I send my guys out there everyday to protect and serve the people of my village and the state of New York,” he told the show’s host one day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun control legislation was passed by the state legislature. “We don’t see a reason, and I personally don’t see a reason why anybody would need a 30-round clip or a 10-round clip for an assault rifle.”
The state’s new gun control measures calls for a ban on assault weapons and any magazine that can hold more than seven rounds. It also looks to limit the access of guns to the mentally ill by requiring therapists to report to local mental health officials when they believe a patient may cause serious harm to themselves or others.
When Aresta was asked if this law would have prevented the shooting, he said it’s possible, though conceded that nothing is guaranteed.
“It’s very possible [Colin] Ferguson would’ve been picked up on a mental health issue,” Aresta said.
The semi-automatic handgun Ferguson used in the shooting does not fall under the state ban, but “the magazine clip he used would have been,” Aresta said.
He then added that he’s talked to his officers, many of whom are NRA members, and said even they don’t see the need for assault weapons. When he asked them if they know anybody that goes hunting with an AR-15, they responded, “nobody really does,” Aresta noted.
Critics of New York’s assault weapon ban and the one proposed by President Barack Obama said it won’t curtail gun violence because most gun crimes are carried out with handguns. The police chief also admitted that the village doesn’t see many assault weapons crimes in the village.
Still, he said, “I don’t see a reason why you would have to defend your home like that when police are readily available,” referring to assault weapons because his officers can respond to a 911 call within minutes.
The LIRR shooting on Dec. 7, 1993 claimed the lives of six people and wounded 19.