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Lawmakers Demand Penalties For Those Who Give Guns To Criminals

Sen. Adams And Assemblyman Weprin

State Assemblyman David Weprin (left) and Sen. Eric Adams are calling for penalties for those who supply guns to criminals. (Credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It turned out it was a neighbor who bought the guns a convicted felon used to kill two firefighters near Rochester on Christmas Eve, and now some state lawmakers want a way to jail people who knowingly give guns to criminals.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) appeared at a news conference Sunday with a picture of a musket in his left hand, and a picture of an assault rifle in the other.

WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reports


“This is what our forefathers thought about,” he said referring to the musket, “not these.”

“Just as the firepower has increased, the laws must increase to ensure people are held responsible,” he said.

Adams and state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) want responsibility not just for the triggerman, but the middleman – like the 24-year-old woman upstate to the convicted felon who killed the firefighters.

“That murderer, who could not have purchased a gun on his own, committed the heinous act,” Weprin said, adding that supplying guns to criminals should be a Class B Felony.

Added Adams: “We can’t say bartenders are responsible for overserving their patrons when individuals who own guns are not responsible for who they give those guns to.”

As the law stands now, the Webster buyer can only be charged with lying on a form.

Michael Chiapperini, 34, and Tomasz Kaczowska, 19, were killed this past Monday after 62-year-old ex-convict William Spengler armed himself with three weapons and set his house on fire in Webster to lure first responders into a death trap, police said.

Two other firefighters, Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino, were both hospitalized in serious condition.

Police said they also found a body in the Spengler home, presumably that of his sister, 67-year-old Cheryl Spengler.

Police said Spengler was using a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle – the same gun as used by the gunman in the Newtown massacre. He was also armed with a .38 revolver and a shotgun.

Spengler had served 17 years for manslaughter in the death of his grandmother. He served time until 1998 and was on parole until 2006.

The woman who supplied the guns — Dawn Nguyen, 24, of Rochester — faces a state charge of filing a falsified business record.

Do you think a law is needed to deter people from giving guns to criminals? Leave your comments below…

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)