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Golden law puts gun thugs in jail

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Think gun-toting thugs should go to jail? So does Bay Ridge’s state senator — whose bill mandating prison for criminals carrying an illegal gun finally passed this week.

A previous loophole in gun law allowed perps carrying only one illegal firearm to avoid jail time. The new law requires a jail term for anyone caught carrying any illegal, loaded firearm.

Sen. Marty Golden’s bill, which was signed by Gov. Pataki this week, raises the penalty from mere probation to a mandatory sentence of three-and-a-half years. The “more-than-one” rule has at last been replaced with a “more-than-none” rule.

“This is monumental legislation for the city,” said Golden, a Republican. “Within a year and half, I expect to see a decline in crime, in robberies, in murders, because of this tremendous bill.”

Golden (left), a retired New York City police officer, has been working on the bill for more than two years — “Nothing in Albany comes easy,” even for the majority party, he said — and was ecstatic to finally see it become law.

“I’ve seen first-hand what a gun does,” said Golden, who was injured in the line of duty as a police officer.

He said the bill’s greatest strength would be in getting gun-toting criminals — who previously only got probation — off the street.

“It’ll be interesting to see how many of these clowns end up behind bars,” he said.

Golden wasn’t the only person singing Golden’s praises this week. Jackie Kuhls, the executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said the law demonstrated “an overall strategy to reduce the flow of illegal guns.”

She also praised Golden’s efforts and his willingness to listen to groups like hers.

“He’s generally been a friend on the issue,” she said, adding, “He’s especially good at having an ear open to law enforcement.”

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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