Decision Maker

Pete King

  • NY02
  • Representative

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Petitioning Donald Trump, Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, Pete King, Nita Lowey

Police Officers Right to Carry Firearms

We live in a society where terror attacks or mass shootings by disturbed people are almost common, everyday occurrences. Yet despite all these horrific events, we continue to disarm the very people who could be key in stopping some of these mass attacks. We train our police officers to respond to these types of incidents, yet in their off duty status we allow way too many private venues to ban them from carrying their weapons inside. In many police departments or other law enforcement agencies, officers are trained with a variety of weapons, including handguns, shotguns and rifles. We trust them with these weapons, and in fact even after they retire they can carry the weapons and have to qualify with them annually.  Eleven years ago, HR 218 was enacted into law. The Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act, simply known as the national carry law, allows sworn police officers, both active and retired, to carry a gun anywhere in the US. The intent of the act, and its subsequent revisions, is quite clear. Trained, armed police officers are a good thing, and there should be a consistent federal model rather than allowing individual states to set laws prohibiting off duty police officers from carrying weapons. Before the enactment of this law, many other police officers were actually in technical violation of the law by simply traveling to work. An example would be in the Northern NY suburbs where the direct route into New York City required 15 minutes or so of travel through New Jersey before crossing a bridge and reentering New York. The insanity of that was driven home to me late one night while traveling home from work in New York City after an evening shift. I found myself stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on a foggy parkway just over the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey. As we crawled along the parkway, several gunshots rang out. Needless to say as I crawled along I grabbed my gun and peered into the fog to see what was happening. As it turned out, there was a jeweler who was followed home from New York City, who was purposely rear-ended in his car by a group who then robbed him and during the course of the robbery fired several shots. By the time I got to where the robbery took place the suspects were gone, but it was a tense few minutes. It would have been more harrowing had I not carried my weapon with me, and so HR 218 takes issues like that off the table.  Unfortunately, there is another huge impediment to a true national law enforcement officer’s carry act. Although LEOSA preempts state and local laws, there are two notable exceptions built right into the law: State law permits private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property (such as a bars, private clubs, amusement parks, etc.), and can prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park. Additionally, LEOSA does not override the federal Gun-Free School Zone Act (GFSZA) which prohibits carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of elementary or secondary schools. Although the GFSZA authorizes on-duty law enforcement officers to carry firearms in such circumstances, off-duty and retired law enforcement officers are still restricted from doing so unless they have a firearms license issued from the state in which they reside and then it is only good for the state in which they reside. Individuals must also obey any federal laws and federal agency policies that restrict the carrying of concealed firearms in certain federal buildings and lands, as well as federal regulations prohibiting the carriage of firearms on airplanes Of course, there are other venues where a police officer is not allowed to carry a weapon absent some special circumstances, such as planes and various federal facilities. Even some of these restrictions can use some further examination to see if they actually serve the purpose of both the law and the public at-large. A few years ago I went into New York City to attend a concert at the Nokia Theater. As is my usual practice, especially when traveling into NYC, I had my firearm with me. Security would not let me in, so I asked for a supervisor. The house manager came and spoke with me, and told me their policy was not to let anyone with firearms inside. I even spoke with several officers working the event, and they said even they can’t carry their firearms inside off duty. So now I was faced with what to do with my weapon. I let my wife go inside, while I ran several blocks to the nearest police precinct. They were kind enough to hold onto my weapon, although they had no facilities to do so and I suspect they get asked to do this fairly frequently. One of the officers at the desk was willing to hold the gun in his locker. Now as I head back to the theater, I am unarmed and my value as a trained law enforcement officer is diminished.  Recently I made several trips into New York City. I know now to call in advance to ascertain any venue’s policy on off duty law enforcement and firearms. More and more are banning weapons, and some tell you ridiculous things such as "lock it in your car". Unless your car is actually equipped with a lock box for weapons, being told to leave a weapon in a car is extremely naive and irresponsible, and just points out how ill-equipped these “security” personnel are. Frankly, when you arrive at most venues, their security is not equipped or trained to deal with armed intruders. Some have off duty officers moonlighting, but many have unarmed, and poorly trained security staff that they rely upon. For most people, that means leaving the weapon at home, the result being you have totally disarmed officers which to me defeats the intent of the LEOSA.  I assume most of those in charge of these large venues feel their security can handle any matters that occur, and if not the local police are just a phone call away. I have already expressed my opinion that most of the security at these venues are not trained or equipped to handle an active shooter situation. Even if there are armed personnel inside, their ability to intercede in an active shooter scenario depends on where everyone is situated if and when such an event occurs. It takes seconds for an armed individual to wreak havoc, especially in a crowded location. The closer an armed and trained law enforcement officer is the sooner the carnage may be terminated. Yet the very same people who you would hope would arrive when you call 911 are the people you don’t trust to bring their weapons inside? Does the training go away because you are off duty? I mentioned involvement in some off duty events earlier in this letter, and have made several off duty arrests during my career. I know that any of these situations could turn bad real fast, and if I were not armed I would be far less likely to act. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since most police departments now prefer off duty officers to observe and call for on duty help rather than taking enforcement action off duty, when possible. But no one in law enforcement, or the public for that matter, would mind an armed off duty officer terminating an active shooting event by being armed and in the right place at the right time. Just ask Trooper Edward Andersson, a 27-year veteran of the Arizona Department of Public Safety whose life was saved by an armed citizen passing by intervened. Imagine a trained officer was passing by but left his gun at home because he was going to an event at a facility that banned officers from carrying their weapons. In my opinion, the LEOSA needs to be amended to remove the right of private property owners that allows them to prohibit those officers covered under the act from carrying their firearms inside private premises. The provisions regarding Gun_free school zones should also not apply to those covered under the act. It is just a legal trap that an officer from out of state can easily fall prey to. I can understand retaining the right for government to prevent the carrying on government property, since most of those locations have trained, on duty law enforcement in place. But to give full force and effect to the spirit of the LEOSA, you need to allow officers to carry their weapons with them. Having officers leave their weapons home because at some point in their travel they are going to enter a private business that will not allow them in forces officers to disarm or to forgo enjoying concerns, sporting events, theater and the like. Please join me in getting these important changes to the LEOSA enacted. The safety of our citizens can not be understated, and we may now have a President who might be able to help make this happen. 

Dan Weisberg
5,371 supporters
Petitioning Charles Schumer, Kathleen Rice, Kenneth LaValle, Kirsten Gillibrand, Pete King, Andrew Cuomo, Catharine Young, Steve Israel

Local Marine Mammal Contingency Plan

We propose the "Local Marine Mammal Contingency Plan" to be written into law.Giving local authorities or properly trained citizens to the right supersede the Federal government and gain the legal right to provide needed rescue efforts when these federally protected mammals become stranded or beached within locally regulated waters. This week's events in Moriches bay on Long Island have proven that waiting on the Federal government (NOAA) cannot be the only course of action for these animals. It also proved that our Local Agencies, the NYS DEC and the Riverhead Foundation are unprepared for a handling a situation like this. NOAA, and their affiliate lacked any physical efforts to aid the whale, instead continually stating that they were "carefully monitoring and assessing" the situation. By the time NOAA had vets on-site, it was determined that the whale "looked sick" and needed to be killed. It is common knowledge that a beached marine mammal must to be kept wet with either towels, buckets or hoses when beached to prevent sunburn, blistering of the skin and damage from gulls. NOAA's lack of presence and lack of delegation of actions clearly indicates their pre-determined decision that the whale would be "euthanized"The unnecessary death of this humpback has not gone unnoticed by thousands of Long Islanders and many others from around the Country and World. NOAA delayed any attempts of rescue only to bring a vet in four (4) days later to kill it via injection. Officials claimed they were monitoring the whale since it arrived into the bay, but lacked critical information about what lead up to the whale becoming beached.Federal officials claimed the whale was sick and that whales often beach due to illness - - however eyewitness accounts indicate the whale was previously healthy and may have made a mistake in navigating the shallow bay. The results of the necropsy will surely show evidence the whale was in "poor health", however that is to be expected after four (4) days of stranding.The entire community agrees that the whale could have been saved by if actions were immediately taken to assist the animal. Local organizations, citizens and local government agencies rallied together and rounded up a dedicated crew of 7 boats with pumps and hoses, to 20+ divers and even a barge with the capability to dredge a path to free the whale without physically interacting with the whale. These dedicated citizens were in place to begin a rescue attempt when the federal government told them to stand down and threatened fines and arrests.The desired Plan would not permit anyone to act on their own to save a protected species. Rather, it would facilitate a "task-force" comprised local authorities, Fire Departments, foundations and organized groups to be able to handle these situations without needing to wait for NOAA to arrive on-site at their convenience. We must take action to make change the response system for protected species that find themselves in trouble without relying on a federal agency located hundreds of miles away.

Local's Only
4,197 supporters
Petitioning Philip Berdolt, Richard F. White Jr., Terence McSweeney, Dawn Hopkins, Alexander G. McKay, Peter Leis, Terrence Pearsall, Gil Cardillo, Kathleen Gooding, Michael Rosato, William B. Sickles, Arthur ...

Eliminate the new Suffolk County Parks fee structure

If you don't have time to read the entire petition, key points are in BOLD. Dear Parks Commissioner and Suffolk County Legislators, In 2016, the Suffolk County Legislature voted to increase the fees for residents using its parks, golfing facilities, boating facilities, and campgrounds.  This represented a 10% increase over the previous year’s budget. Reasons cited for this increase included the “...increased cost of providing the facilities and activities.”  Now again, in 2017, our legislators have voted to increase the fees.  This time, at a rate of almost 11%.  These increases add up to a 21% fee hike over a little less than 2 years.  Lawmakers cited a need for more funds in order to provide “...crucial services.”  Additionally, disabled veterans, volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel who previously used certain facilities at a reduced, or no cost, are now being charged.  We, the taxpayers, campers, boaters, golfers, disabled veterans and nature lovers of Suffolk County wish to express our disappointment with these fee hikes and our disillusionment concerning lawmakers we voted into office - believing they had their constituents’ best interests at heart.   Suffolk County residents pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation.  On a house assessed at $550,000, we pay 2.219% taxes, or $12,205 per year.  Compare this to the 1.578% paid by New York City residents ( $8,679) or the average 1.211% national rate ($6,661).   Simply put, our property taxes are almost double what most other Americans pay.  A portion of these taxes go to the parks, and it is that money that we believe should be enough to cover the costs of running the parks. We understand the the cost of living rises each year, but we also understand that our property taxes rise accordingly.  Why, then, this need to increase a budget by 21% over the course of barely two years?  This type of fee hike is largely unprecedented and is aimed at a group of people who, until now, have been silent. Lawmakers tell us that this increase in fees is for our benefit.  The money will help provide “facilities and activities” and will also facilitate the implementation and running of “crucial services.”  This ambiguous language represents an effort on the lawmakers’ part to justify fee increases without providing any concrete or practical examples of its beneficial use.  Many of us have enjoyed the county’s parks all our lives, yet we are at a loss to recall any improvements of “facilities”, and implementation of “activities” or any upgrades in “crucial services.”  Where are the fruits of this increased revenue?  Where is the proof that this money has benefited the taxpayers?   As campers, for example,  we can cite no improvements, upgrades or additions to campgrounds that have been in any way proportional to the fee hikes.  In fact, at most campgrounds, the bathroom facilities are just as smelly, dirty, leaky, and unsanitary as they’ve ever been, and activities at county campgrounds are- and always have been...non-existent.  So again, just what exactly are we getting for our extra fees? We stand united in stating that we find these fees to be arbitrary, unfair and unnecessary.  It seems to us that the County’s ongoing struggle to balance the budget has placed a biased and undue burden on those of us who choose to enjoy the natural beauty of Long Island.  Our tax dollars already pay for these parks, and the previous fees helped to augment that revenue.  This 21% hike is ludicrous and we have not seen any evidence that the money will, in fact, be spent in a way that reflects the desires and needs of those constituents enjoying the facilities and activities.  Additionally, there are a number of poor practices that we believe should be reconsidered and repealed. The “revamped” Suffolk County Campground Online Reservation System.  A travesty.  This is a system that creates complete chaos for those trying to secure a site. The lack of a waiting list (to fill those cancellations) , is a perfect example of the minimal foresight employed in the site’s creation.  New York State campgrounds, for example, provide a waiting list for cancelled sites - why can’t Suffolk County? “Flagship Campgrounds”  What exactly does this mean?  Water views?  As previously stated, we are already being taxed to enjoy the natural environment - now there is to be an extra fee for that same enjoyment.  When the term “Flagship Campgrounds” first appeared, many of us had visions of renovated campgrounds without garbage strewn about, with clean bathing facilities, with maybe an events center or recreational building for children’s activities, group games, or movie nights.  Perhaps new playgrounds or a dog park...Turns out “Flagship Campgrounds” are the same old same old.  Just a fancy word and a lot more money for the County.  Nothing new for the taxpayer… Perhaps the saddest and most insidious aspect of this rate increase (and the false representation of the use of the revenue), is the perceived  intent to create yet another “elitist” environment where only those with means can enjoy the natural beauty of Long Island.  We are all Long Islanders and taxpayers and citizens with equal protection under the law.  Are boating, camping, public golfing and outdoor recreation on public lands to stay available to all citizens?  Or is this yet another example of our government’s propensity to create and perpetuate an environment where only a select few can enjoy those things originally designated for the masses?  Many families who camp, for example, do it for the love of nature - but also because it provides a fun vacation that is budget friendly.  A week long vacation that would normally cost $100 can now cost close to $200.  This is a week’s worth of groceries for some Long Islanders.  Are our elected officials so out of touch that they think these fee hikes won’t impact the average boater, camper or golfer?   These fees are exclusionary. Plain and simple. Finally, we must address the issue facing disabled veterans; many of whom live on VA pensions with restricted means to recreation, outdoor activities and travel.  These are men and women who served this country and suffered as a result.  They still pay their property taxes like the rest of us, and were (in the past) exempt from paying additional fees for camping, boating, or golfing.  Now, in 2017, veterans will have the initial fee waived but will be responsible for paying all the other fees associated with this new fee increase.  For example, a veteran who used to camp for the cost of the $13 reservation fee, will now have to pay approximately $175 per week.  Again, to lawmakers, perhaps this is not a large amount, but to a disabled person living on a fixed income, it is.  How often do officials get elected on the promises of protecting and respecting our veterans?  How many TV commercials and public events show candidates touting their reverence for those who served?  Politicians are often elected (at least in part) for holding such views and beliefs. What message does this revocation of benefits send?  It is shameful that after instituting a 21% tax increase, somehow there is still not enough money to continue to honor our disabled vets with “free” access to our parks. We are boaters, campers, golfers, and disabled veterans. We are Long Islanders who are faced with a growing sense of being disenfranchised by the officials we helped to elect. Taxes levied to benefit our parks have become burdensome and exclusionary.  They are arbitrary and they show no signs of actually improving the institutions for which they are raised.  We respectfully request that these fees be reconsidered, and that the unfair treatment they represent be discarded as actions that are in opposition to the true spirit and tradition of the public parks philosophy. Our county parks are a wonderful part of our shared heritage.  Will that heritage now only belong to a select segment of our population?  

Concerned Green Key Holders
2,665 supporters
Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives, Maxine Waters, Jeb Hensarling, Luke Messer, Ann Wagner, Dennis Ross, Randy Hultgren, Mick Mulvaney, Stephen Fincher, Steve Stivers, Bill Huizenga, Lynn Westmoreland, ...

Protect Shareholders. Strike the Financial Choice Act 2.0.

Shareholder democracy is being profoundly threatened by Section 844 of the Financial CHOICE Act 2.0. This new legislation, which was heard by the Congressional Financial Services Committee on April 26 and then passed by the House on June 8, contains a provision that would fundamentally impair investors' rights to file shareholder resolutions. It is now scheduled to be voted on in the Senate. The new rule would permit only a tiny fraction of the globe’s wealthiest investors (those who own more than 1% or more of a company’s stock) to file shareholder proposals. For example, raising the ownership requirement to 1% would leave only 11 investors with enough shares ($3 billion) necessary to file shareholder proposals at Wells Fargo. All other shareholders would be blocked from using their shareholder rights to address equity, justice, sustainability, climate, risk, and good governance issues. Sign our petition and make your voice heard. We will be sending signatures, as well as the letter linked below, to the Senate. Let’s work together to defeat this destabilizing legislation that will profoundly affect consumers, investors, and the economy at large.

As You Sow
2,602 supporters
Petitioning Donald Trump, Jerry Brown, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Gary Peters, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), International Animal Rescue, Animal Planet, Animal ACTion ...

End Kitten Mills

Kitten mills are places where female cats are bred and bred over and over to make many litters of kittens. The kittens are born with diseases because the female cat had many diseases due to shortage of water, starvation, and filthy places to stay. The kittens that are bred are usually cramped together in a tiny cage filled with old urine, bugs, and dirty food. Kitten mills ordinarily take place in small houses that are not taken care of. Kittens are also found dead on a daily basis because of all the filthy conditions they are in. This problem impacts all animal lovers and people who want cats as pets. TIP: Don't buy your pets from pet stores because the animals usually come from kitten or puppy mills! Help put a stop to this by signing the petition! Thank you and #StopAnimalAbuse

Shanti Hilton
2,061 supporters
Closed
Petitioning koreaun@mofa.go.kr , Yvonne Holley, kore, korean, Ban Ki-moon, Pete King

THIS MUST STOP THE INHUMANE TREATMENT OF DOGS IN S KOREA MEAT TRADE

THE SUFFERING OF THESE POOR DOGS. MOST OF THESE DOGS JUST FROM THE TRANSPORT DIE. HORRIFIC CONDITIONS AND HOT TEMPERATURE kill THEM IF NOT THEY WAIT IN THE CAGE PILED ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.

Teresa Mione
949 supporters
Petitioning Andrew Cuomo, New York State House, New York State Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, Catharine Young, State Farm Insurance Cos., Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, New York Governor, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Ma...

End Discriminatory Breed-Specific Insurance Regulations in New York State

Up to 99% of pit bulls surrendered to shelters are killed. Part of the problem is that homeowners are finding it more and more difficult to obtain homeowners’ insurance that accepts their breed of dogs. In recent years, several insurance companies have blacklisted dog breeds they consider dangerous, making it all but impossible for dog owners to get the insurance they need to protect their home. These policies break up families, send pit bulls and similar dogs to kill-shelters in droves, and put serious financial strain on shelter resources. It is time for New York State to join Pennsylvania and Michigan in prohibiting breed-specific insurance exclusions (BSIE), so we can stop the needless separation of families and the eventual euthanasia of innocent dogs. Every year, statewide rescue centers take in homeless pit bulls in danger of being euthanized at shelters. Many of these dogs were surrendered when their owners faced the heart-breaking decision of giving up a beloved family member in order to keep a roof over their children’s heads. Too many children have cried, heartbroken, as their parents rip them away from their favorite companions. Even grown men have broken down because they can no longer keep their best friend. In my own efforts to find homes for rescued animals, all too often, families who would love to rescue an animal is desperate need of a home look into it and conclude that they are not allowed to rescue the dog due to their homeowners insurance policy and fear being dropped for adopting the "wrong" breed of dog. I can't explain how heartbreaking this is to anyone who devotes time, energy and resources to animal rescue, knowing that the best homes with the most secure families cannot accept these dogs. Instead, their only hope for adoption lies within families willing to risk insurance loss by secretly adopting a pit bull, or people with low moral standards who cannot offer proper veterinary attention, and in the worst cases, those individuals who have less than honorable intentions when it comes to what they are looking for in the use of the animal. There are better ways to minimize insurance risk than forcing families to give up their dogs. If insurance companies want to reduce risk they should require dog owners and their pets to go through obedience training or provide proof of Canine Good Citizen certification. Requiring homeowners to show such proof, rather than denying them coverage outright, reduces the chance of dog bites and liability for all parties involved while keeping dog owners in their homes and dogs out of shelters. Pennsylvania and Michigan have protected homeowners and their dogs from discrimination while also ensuring that insurance companies don’t face an unfair burden. It is time for New York State to do the same by creating legislation that prohibits breed specific insurance blacklists. Help us keep families in their homes and dogs from being abandoned and euthanized, and tell New York legislators to ban breed-specific insurance policies.

Joanna Sclafani
516 supporters
Petitioning Andrew Cuomo, New York State Senate, New York Times, Jerry Nadler, Pete King

Stop the tint law from passing in New York

New York State is about to pass a law which will cause a burden on the law abiding citizens of New York. With an absurd car tint law that requires Car Inspectors to check car tints before passing the inspection. This law dose not amend any problems, rather causes New York citizens further stress. Instead of targeting the law abiding citizens, New York State should work on laws that help employment, mends New Yorks education sector flaws, and many other concern issues other than car tints. This law is by far the worst form of legislation to be put into effect. This law requires sedans only to be have higher inspection standards. What the legislators forget is that criminals drive all sorts of vechiles. Enforcing tint laws on vehicles wont stop criminals. Any law abiding citizen would lower there windows if they were at a police stop. This law needs to be repealed.

Sheheryar Malik
104 supporters
Petitioning Betsy DeVos, candice jackson, Kemp Hannon, Andrew Cuomo, Donald Trump, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Pete King, Tom McKevitt

Transgender Student Protection Under Title IX

A transgender person is one who identifies with a gender different from the one marked on his or her birth certificate. For example, a person born as a female, but who identifies as a male, is considered transgender. Students who are transgender face unique difficulties and appear to be at a far higher risk of suicide than other students, with some studies showing that roughly half of all transgender students attempt suicide at least once by the age of 20. In May 2016, at the request of educators and school administrators, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice issued landmark guidance clarifying the rights that hundreds of thousands of transgender students have under Title IX — and schools obligations to respect them. In 2017, the Trump administration withdrew the guidance, leaving many students, parents, and educators unsure about transgender students’ rights under the law. It is my hope that with this petition we can reach those in power to make a difference in Transgender rights under Title IX and make those rights clear and concise to those that must enforce the policy, those who attend schools, and those who work at schools. I have seen personally the effects of discrimination in schools against trans students and it is heartbreaking to watch young people go through it.  

Regina DeSantis
91 supporters
Petitioning Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, John McCain, Charles Schumer, Robert Menendez, Ted Cruz, Elizabeth Warren, Mitch McConnell, Barbara Boxer, Marco Rubio, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Rand Paul, Bill ...

President Donald Trump needs to release his tax returns

President Trump needs to release his tax returns in order to clarify whether or not he has had commercial interests in Russia.  This needs to happen in light of the recent events involving General Flynn, Paul Manafort and Russian intelligence agents.  We need to fully understand all of the possible conflicts of interest that President Trump may have.

Michael Hessdorf
58 supporters