WNYT.com

The Capital Region reacts to new gun control legislation

Posted at: 01/15/2013 8:57 PM
Updated at: 01/16/2013 2:18 PM
By: Lily Jamali

ALBANY - The gun control bill passed into law by the state legislature got bill applause from Patricia Gioia.

"It's great. It's absolutely marvelous. I mean New York State is going to be the first in the nation to have such strong legislation. I strongly believe in it.

This belief stems from the fact the Gioia lost her daughter, Mary Regina, to gun violence in 1985.

"This kind of legislation today means a lot to me because it brings back a lot of memories and I know Mary must be smiling down on us and very happy about this," Gioia said.

Gioia and Mary Lasher-Warner are chapter leaders from the Capital Region's branch of Parents of Murdered children. Both women have been paying close attention to the contentious gun control debate at the Capitol.

"My daughter Liza was murdered. She was the victim of domestic homicide 8 years ago and she was murdered by a gun," said Lasher-Warner. Her daughter's husband who committed the murder.

"He had mental health issues so this legislation passed today because of the mental health issues is especially meaningful to me," said Lasher-Warner.

The law includes a provision that requires mental health professionals to report patients who threaten to use a gun illegally, allowing authorities to strip those patients of their firearms and revoke their gun permits. The provision caused a stir of disapproval in the mental health community. Meanwhile, some say the bill doesn't go far enough.

"Most people that commit these types have mental health issues. In New York State, we don't have the proper crisis facilities. Most families seeking help for loved ones with mental health illnesses can't get the services that are needed," said Michael Carey, a well-known mental health advocate in the Capital Region.

Lasher-Warner says despite its flaws, the bill is a big win for parents like her.

"I'm sorry. I don't think it's the be-all-end-all but I do believe it's a step in the right direction," Lasher-Warner said.