Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 31, 2013

Corwin looks to remedy act's 'flaws'

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — ALBANY — After citing disappointment with the state’s recently-enacted gun control law, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, R-Clarence, is in the process of authoring new legislation that would improve public safety, particularly school safety, by addressing the root causes of violence in our society.

“While we are in the first stages of the process, I believe it is vital that we include members of law enforcement, school psychologists, educators, mental health providers and other groups in this very important discussion,” said Corwin, who voted against the NY S.A.F.E. Act. “The problems with the NY S.A.F.E. Act stem from the fact that the legislation was crafted behind closed doors without the valuable input of these groups.”

Corwin said that provisions such as background checks for the purchase of guns, increased penalties for those with illegally-obtained weapons and more accountable person-to-person transfer of guns were important, but felt funding from the bill could be better spent.

$36 million is being proposed to create the database of lawful gun owners; Corwin prefers spending those funds to assist school psychologists in creating gun and violence awareness educational programs, similar to anti-bullying measures.

“My goal is to address the root causes of violence in our communities and to provide our schools with the resources needed to educate children about violence and guns, to reduce the stigma attached to mental health and improve access to mental health care for those who need it,” said Corwin, who supports repealing the NY S.A.F.E Act.

Assemblywoman Corwin has been reviewing proposals from the National Association of School Psychologists. Following the Sandy Hook attack, NASP proposed eight policy and practice recommendations to help improve school safety.

These recommendations include establishing trained school safety and crisis teams, improving policies that limit exposure to media violence among children and reducing the stigma around mental illness and to promote mental health on par with physical health.

“We all wanted to prevent anther Sandy Hook, but the bill that was enacted does not do that,” Corwin said. My goal is to create a commonsense and meaningful bill that will address the root causes behind Sandy Hook-type incidents so that we can prevent such terrible tragedies from happening again.”

Assemblywoman Corwin will be meeting with law enforcement, mental health care providers, educators and other local organizations to discuss her legislative proposal, but also welcomes public input. To share your views, please find her on Facebook or email her at corwinj@assembly.state.ny.us.