Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz wants to put a spotlight on those who commit gun crimes as a way to curb the violence in his borough and beyond. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Just as sex offenders have to register, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz wants those who commit gun crimes to go on a list, too.
"You have to register your place of residence, work, where you're being educated," Diaz said. "You stay on this registry for 10 years."
The registry would include offenders 18 years and older. Diaz said it would simply make public an already existing list.
"If you get convicted of a gun crime, you get on a registry," Diaz said. "The problem with that is that while it's a good idea, only the police department has access to that list."
John Small, a criminal justice professor at Monroe College, worries that such a list could have unintended consequences, as he learned from one student during a class discussion.
"He raised his hand," Small said. "He said, 'Listen. In my hood, where I come from, there would be a certain amount of people that can't wait to get their name on a gun offender registry. Can't wait. It will be a badge of courage.'"
Diaz disagreed. He said that gun crimes carry a stigma, and that a public spotlight on these offenders will reduce repeat offenses.
Right now, he's pushing for an amendment to the city ordinance that created the police gun crime registry. State Senator Jeff Klein is pushing for a statewide registry.
Diaz wants the legislation to pass in the city and state and then be a model for the nation. But Diaz said that even if it doesn't pass immediately, the legislation's introduction keeps the conversation about gun control going.
"What I'm afraid of is that as time goes by, like every other issue, less and less people will continue to talk about it," Diaz said.
The legislation may have an uphill battle, but Diaz is confident it will pass because he said it's a middle ground for both sides.
"This is about criminals," Diaz said. "This is different than the registries we've heard from in other states, that have every gun buyer get on a registry."
In the end, he said everyone wants their families protected.