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Buchwald, Castelli Clash on Guns and Crime

Democratic challenger claims assemblyman is soft on gun crime.

The race for the 93rd state Assembly District got contentious over the weekend, as Democratic challenger David Buchwald assailed Republican incumbent Robert Castelli over past votes on gun legislation.

“In a short time as assemblyman, Robert Castelli has voted to allow dangerous criminals to have guns and to keep law enforcement from having the tools it needs to solve as many gun crimes as possible," Buchwald said at a Saturday press conference with supporters, which was held at in Chappaqua.

In particular, Buchwald hit Castelli for voting three against legislation he argues would help make it harder for domestic violence abusers to get guns. One of those bills, A04488A, passed the assembly on June 14, 2011, and again on March 21, 2012. The earlier bill was voted on in 2010.

“There are some votes that tell you a lot about your representative," Buchwald, a White Plains Councilman, said about the domestic violence legislation. "This was a crucial test of Assemblyman Castelli’s commitment to Westchester values, and he flunked that test.”

Buchwald also slammed Castelli for voting against a bill that would require certain firearms to be capabable of doing microstamping of ammunition stored. The vote was held on June 17. Buchwald argued that it would help in tracing shell casings back to guns that fired them, which in turn would help in catching the perpetrators.

Hitting Castelli, Buchwald painted him as someone who is not working in the best interest of police or in supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“He’s been siding with the NRA and against Governor Cuomo, and our law enforcement professionals," he said.

Castelli's campaign hit back, and made a bid at playing offense.

In a response statement, Castelli's side described the domestic violence bills raised by Buchwald as being flawed because they did not address a federal loophole that enabled people convicted of misdemeanor-level domestic violence to purchase guns.

His campaign noted that he voted, in 2011, for legislation that achieves such an aim. That bill was signed into law by Cuomo.

“As a public servant who spent my entire career in law enforcement and higher education as it relates to criminal justice, I know first-hand how domestic violence and abuse are far more prevalent than many realize,” Castelli responded in his press release. “That is why I have fought not only for stricter penalties for abusers, but also for laws that focus on preventing these heinous crimes and protecting victims in an effort to curb domestic violence.”

Castelli's campaign also argued that the use of microstamping is not an effective tool against crime.

Castelli, a former professor of Criminal Justice at CUNY John Jay and a chair of the Criminal Justice Department at Iona College, also noted his academic credentials in the area. He is also a former New York state trooper.

Playing offense, Castelli went after Buchwald for a recent rise in White Plains crime. His press release cited data showing a 32.3-percent increase in Part One Crimes" from June 2011 compared to June 2012. Part One includes violent crimes, burglary and theft. The release also claimed that violent crime has increased by 50 percent since Buchwald joined the White Plains Common Council.

Barry Caro, a spokesman for Buchwald, argued that Castelli's assertion about crime in White Plains is misleading. He stated that violent crimes have only gone up slightly from last year (43 versus 41, as of last weekend). Much of the overall crime increase can be attributed to a rise in larceny, he explained. He also disputed the 50-percent rise claim.

"To be clear, and to be explicit, Assemblyman Castelli's claim that there's been a 50% increase in violent crime in the last 3 years is an outright falsehood," he wrote in a response. "It is completely untrue, and the fact that he's making up numbers is a sign of desperation and a clear instance of dishonesty."

The 93rd district includes New Castle, Mount Kisco, Bedford, Harrison and part of White Plains.

Bruce Yablon August 21, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I have a simple and direct questions - do YOU think a person convicted of domestic violence be allowed to go out an buy a gun? Bob Castelli voted Yes - they should. David says, no - that is extreme. David does NOT want to take you guns - unless you are convicted of domestic violence... I will assume you are not. Thank you
Charlie Smith August 21, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Federal law forbids the sale of a firearm to individuals convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Bruce Yablon, the Bedford Democratic Chairman, knows this, so it is unclear to me why he is going around lying about Bob Castelli. However, differences between New York state and federal domestic violence statutes has created a gap in the law where the information from those found guilty of domestic violence crimes in New York courts is not transmitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) used for background checks of those purchasing firearms. Luckily, Bob Castelli sponsored and passed a new law that says when a defendant is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor offense in New York, the court will transmit the defendant's information to the Division of Criminal Justice Services which passes it on to the NICS. THANK YOU to Bob Castelli for closing the loophole.
Charlie Smith August 21, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Now that Bruce Yablon has been caught in a lie, will he retract his statement? The measure of a man...
Charlie Smith August 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Bruce Yablon, what you are suggesting is utterly preposterous and politically disingenuous. I know that is your job as Bedford Democratic Chairman but I do not think you would want someone going around lying about David Gabrielson or Chris Burdick. In fact, you should really be ashamed of yourself. I expected a lot better from you. No lawmaker in any legislative body in this country would ever vote to allow a person convicted of domestic violence to purchase a gun And as Bob Castelli pointed out in his response, he actually co-sponsored and passed a bill that prevented people convicted of domestic violence from buying a guy, as you well know. As the Governor's press release "Governor Cuomo Signs Domestic Violence Firearm Protection Legislation" states, "Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed a law to ensure that individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors will be barred from legally purchasing firearms." The bill was cosponsored and voted for by Bob Castelli, which makes you a LIAR. So ashamed of you Bruce. I await your retraction.
Charlie Smith August 22, 2012 at 12:05 AM
The Bedford Democratic Chairman Bruce Yablon may think he is simply doing his job by supporting David Buchwald's campaign of lies and distortions. But does he also support David Buchwald's vote to layoff cops in White Plains? The Department of Public Safety COMPSTAT report shows that Part I crimes increased by almost 50% (1171 in 2010 and 1344 in 2011, 14.8%, and 480 to 635, 32.3%, in 2012) since David Buchwald voted to lay-off cops. Not so fun when you're playing in facts instead of falsehoods is it Bruce? How do you defend Part I Crime (Murder, Robbery, Rape, Assault, Burglary, Larceny, Grand Theft Auto) going up on David Buchwald's watch while he is out there giving raises to highly paid Commissioners? You don't. Instead, you choose to invent a false claim in the hopes of scoring some cheap political points. No wonder people are so disgusted with politicians like David Buchwald. We need more public servants like Bob Castelli.
DPM August 22, 2012 at 01:00 AM
As a police officer, I am sick and tired of hearing that the Assembly Democrats' yearly onslaught on gun rights has the support of law enforcement. Put bluntly, they do not. Perhaps a politically appointed head of a department might publicly state he or she is in favor of the bills, but this is by no means indicative of the beliefs of the rank and file. The NYS Sheriff's Association has come out every year in opposition to microstamping, for example. Thank you, Mr. Castelli, for realizing that passing more and more laws is not the answer to combating crime.
Bruce Yablon August 22, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Yes, I am the chairman of the Bedford Democratic Committee - I never hide that fact. Thank you for repeating the distortions and lies of the Castelli representatives. The quote from Travalino is “Since David Buchwald has served on the White Plains City Council, violent crime in White Plains has risen 50%.” I am not a police officer so Part 1 crimes sounds really bad. Except it lumps crimes like shop lifting and other petty larceny and I since 2009 there has been an economic downturn so an increase in shoplifting is not very surprising. When you look at violent crimes like, Murder, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault, the rate is DOWN by 20% since 2009. Also, the statistics Travalino are using are - well you decide... Here it is: "There were 24 burglaries as of 6/8/2010 and that increase to 50 burglaries by the end of 2010 which is a 100% increase in 6 months after laying off 12 police officers" Mr. Smith, I have know doubt from your thoughtful comments that you can do basic math - 24 during the first 6 months and 50 for the full year is NOT a 100% increase - in fact the rate stayed THE SAME. It is a shame that Travalino is doing such a disservice to Bob Castelli, a man who I may disagree with but I have great respect for. In past elections he did not have spokesmen ignoring 3rd grade math to lie and mixing violent crime and non-violent crimes together to imply that White Plains has gone from the pinnacle of safety to the Sudan because of David Buchwald.
Bruce Yablon August 22, 2012 at 01:32 AM
PS I am not ashamed of you so cut back on the melodrama. I would love to do this all night, but I have to work tomorrow AM. Good night and thanks for the dialogue!
Bruce Yablon August 22, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Alright - I lied - I am NOT going to bed yet. I was about to but I read your earlier post and felt I would respond to your thoughtful questions. The bill Bob voted against would add to those who can not purchase guns in NY state as the following: Section 1. Subdivision 17 of section 265.00 of the penal law is amended by adding a new paragraph (c) to read as follows: (C) AN OFFENSE WHICH WOULD CONSTITUTE A FAMILY OFFENSE PURSUANT TO SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED TWELVE OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT, WHERE THE VICTIM OF SUCH OFFENSE WAS A "FAMILY OR HOUSEHOLD MEMBER" AS DEFINED IN THAT SECTION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately. So no, I will not take retract what I said as it is true - he voted against the bill to deny guns to those committing an offense against a family member, but thanks Charlie for asking!
Bruce Yablon August 22, 2012 at 01:49 AM
DPM, I don't know who you are but I appreciate you chiming in. There are officers on both sides of this issue so I can tell you I don't know what the right answer is, but I do know that MOST officers I know including a close family friend who retired as a detective from the NYPD after 1 month on the pile (took early retirement because he could take sifting for bits of body parts any more) would like fully automatic assault weapons to be either banned of tightly regulated and large clips (wrong term I know) for semi-automatic weapons also limited. Also, he was opposed to lax laws in some states leading to guns running up the I-95 corridor into NYC to be used targeting him. I agree that no law can stop a criminal from committing crimes but fining ways to help reduce the damage from people who 'snap' or to more quickly identify the owner of a gun or bullets could help. Guns have serial numbers and I don't think ANY officer opposes that - why not the bullets? Just asking so don't bite my head off.
DPM August 22, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Mr. Yablon: I'd like to address your response to my earlier post. First, and perhaps most importantly, "fully automatic assault weapons" are and have been banned since the National Firearms Act of 1934. With respect to your question "Guns have serial numbers... why not the bullets?" the answer to me is simple and actually touched upon in your previous reply. New York has the 4th strictest gun laws in the nation and by your own account (or that of your officer friend) many of the guns used in crimes originate in other states. As none of these states have or will ever likely even consider microstamping as an alternative, a shell casing recovered in New York - presuming the gun came from out of state - would not even have a microstamped casing rendering the point moot. May I also remind you that New York tried ballistic fingerprinting with the CoBIS (Combined Ballistic identification System) that ran from 2001 to 2012 and cost taxpayers in excess of $44 million. The system, regardless of which side you fall on in the gun debate, resulted in zero convictions of anyone for anything. Hence, as a police officer, firearms instructor, and Smith and Wesson M&P armorer, it is difficult for me to believe that public safety is the main goal of those pushing these legislative proposals.
Ross Revira August 22, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Mr. Yablon the biggest impediment to effective law enforcement in the State of New York has been the New York State Assembly. This group of lawmakers led or should I say dominated by extremely liberal New York City Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has blocked numerous attempts to enhance real law enforcement tools. It has been the pattern of the Assembly to protect the criminal's rights at the expense of the public's safety. In this regard Mr. Buchwald will fall right in .
Bruce Yablon August 22, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Please provide examples.of this
Ross Revira August 22, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Assemblyman Karim Camera led a group of New York Democrat politicians to Washington recently to see Attorney General Eric Holder about stopping the NYPD's highly effective "Stop and Frisk" program. This program has proven to be a most highly effective way of saving lives and preventing crime. Please provide the readers of the Patch with Mr. Buchwald's view on the use of "Stop and Frisk".
Marcus J. Brutus August 22, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Thank you for your voice of reason Mr. Ehrlich. But Mr. Yablon may actually feel he has a better shot at painting Assemblyman Castelli, a former state trooper and criminal justice professor, as somehow soft on crime, than portraying his candidate, Mr. Buchwald, who is a Sheldon Silver sycophant and the darling of the teachers’ and municipal workers’ unions, as representing anything other than a continuation the taxation death spiral that is making quality education unsustainable and driving homeowners and jobs from our state.
Todd Hannon August 22, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Guns dont kill people any more than pencils mispell words. They are just a tool, and if a criminal cant go out and buy a pencil they will go find a pen, crayon, or chalk etc. The more we reduce gun rights the less capable ordinary citizens are at protecting themselves. Thank you Mr. Buchwald for solidifying my vote for Castelli, because I too side with the NRA, GOA, and 2nd ammendment over Cuomo anyday.
Dan Seidel August 22, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Bruce - you Jeff's little brother? from WH? if so - say hi! (and to your parents as well) - long time!! here's a query: If one is convicted of an assault, and one has a gun permit - does one lose the permit for an assault conviction (I honestly do not know)? If not, however, does losing a permit for a domestic assault give rise to an equal protection argument? PS the micro stamping thing is garbage - hull/empties are sold for reloading (I have to pick up my brass at a range? to keep them from falling into criminal hands? THAT is a huge burden) as well as triggers and barrels easily replaced when they wear out/the etching sanded off. Now if I change my trigger - it does wear out, as do many other parts of a pistol - am I subject to arrest on a D Felony, as I have heard? THAT is NOT GOOD. The mirco stamping req. is not sustainable under a strict scrutiny analysis. That issue is a feel good, knee jerk propaganda piece. Amazing how most of the gun owners who are law abiders never get into trouble with their guns. Always the ones who would break the law anyway who do damage, whether with a gun or without. Difficult issues. no clear answers, but since we are a Republican Democracy, the state better have a real good reason before a Constitutional right is restricted. I would not vote for an automatic denial of permits for assaults - I'd leave that up to the issuing judge in those matters. Case by Case basis - each to its own facts.
Dan Seidel August 22, 2012 at 05:50 PM
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/01/bruce-w-krafft/just-how-practical-is-microstamping/ Check the site (ignore the political bias) and read the science. Microstamping does not work - not in today's technology - the tech is failed, untested tech and there are too many methods to avoid the stamp. Better police work will catch the criminal, not looking for a imprinted stamp that may or may not appear, be legible, traceable, able to be matched to something. Bad money spending idea which has resulted in zero convictions - ZERO. Take that money and payback some NY victims of Bernie Madoff, right? :>)
Dan Seidel August 22, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Nora: here's the skinny on an "organized militia" - the People have the Right to form one whenever they deem necessary to protect America and the Constitution - we need not rely upon a "national guard" for THAT is an organ of the government and the Citizens one day may have to organize to fight that as well - see the Battle of Athens , Tenn. 1946 armed pitched battle between the Citizens and the Police/political family entrenched in that County - over election ballot boxes. Google that and watch the 13 minute video - read the news articles. It is the People's right to keep and bear arms - that right SHALL NOT be infringed. Read the Framers and Founding fathers papers and quotes. end of story.
Dan Seidel August 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Let's also be fair here: the police layoffs were accomplished because the Mayor calls those shots- Tom negotiates the contract, NOT David or the CC. The police got their 12 hour shifts under Delfino/Bradley and THEN crime goes up - that was weird - OT went up as well (it was supposed to go DOWN). Anyway, from "scuttlebutt" most of the crime in WP is petty stuff - drunken fights, assaults, petty thieving, store ripoffs, some car ripoffs, drugs. Been living here for about 34 years - it's still the same - maybe some more theft because of the economy (check the stats - that is true), but nothing really heavy. The serious stuff is always shocking if you are from around here - that stuff just is unusal. I am not afraid to walk the streets at night or go out - my kids and others' are not afraid to walk the streets late at night to go home from town, if they are not driving. So do not blame David for police layoffs - that was not and still is not his or any other Council member's decision - it is a pure Mayoral call and collective bargaining "chip" - the layoff card was played when negotiations with the Police Union went sour - pure contract issue, NOT Buchwald's. PS: disclosure here: I am a Dem E.D. Leader from WP, but anyone who knows me knows everyone who screws up in public life is fair game for me, including David. So far, other than the gun issue, David is pretty good. And his family is law and order too.
Robert Reynolds August 22, 2012 at 09:20 PM
In New York State, the police have no duty to provide police protection to any particular individual. The Courts in New York have held that "generally, a municipality may not be held liable for the failure to provide police protection because the duty to provide such protection is owed to the public at large, rather than to any particular individual" As the Chair of the Public Safety Committee of Manhattan Community Board 12. I will be holding a Public Hearing in September 2012 on NYS Senate Bill S1427 & S1863 with an emphasis on self-defense education & firearm training for women. Bill S1427 PURPOSE: This proposed constitutional amendment would provide within the New York State Constitution for a right of the people to keep and bear arms for traditionally recognized purposes Bill S1863 PURPOSE: This legislation would remove a gun licensing officer's ability to deny or restrict the issuance of licenses to law abiding citizens who have successfully undergone the state's strict application process and appropriate New York State and Federal Bureau of Investigations fingerprint background check required under law. Sept 12, 2012 at 6:30 PM at Isabella, 515 Audubon Avenue New York, NY 10040. If you live in New York State feel free to take a look at the information that I will be presenting as well as sign my on-line petition included at the link below. I hope that you will come out and support me as I support you. Fraternally. http://cavalierknight.com/documents.html
Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli August 22, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Dear Sir, While I do have a letter up on the town website, you are incorrect about the remainder of your comments. Early on in this project, myself, Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Congresswoman Lowey, State Senator Oppenheimer, and County Executive Astorino were all asked if we would issue letters of support for the funding of the project, and we all did so. None of us, at the time we issued those letters of support for federal and state funding, had seen, or knew the specifics of the project. The requests for funding were made ten months prior the application, which was to go before the Planning Board. It is the nature of this type of project that funding must be secured before you proceed. However, for the record, I do not support the location/scope of the current Conifer project (which I found out about after the fact), but, did issue a letter in support of the town’s request, as did all the other elected officials I mentioned above, both Republicans and Democrats alike. I hope this clarifies my position on the comments you’ve made. Respectfully yours, Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli
Todd Hannon August 22, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Bruce, the fact that you are the Chairmen of the Bedford Democratic Committee and did not know that fully automatic weapons have been illegal for most likely your entire lifetime just reiterates how far our political and educational system has deteriorated.
Proud American August 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Ladies and Gentlemen, While Mr.Castelli's oppenent will do anything and everything to get elected. Assemblyman is a excellent choice that you will need to send back to Albany for another term. He has been working tirelessly on behalf of his commuty and always bring the best results for his district. This liberal democrate Mr. Buchwald is running a negative campaign. Shame on you Mr. Buchwald. Mr. Castelli has been serving his country way back before you were in diaper. He served his country in Vietnam followed by 22 years in the State Police, 14 years as a college professor who trained the men and women who wanted to serve and make a difference in their communities. ****We need BOB CASTELLI who puts his district above politics*** Buchwald is PART OF THE SPECIAL INTERESTS and he will always put their interests above ours. Together, Mr. Buchwald and his democrats, including the Assembly Speaker Sheldon, are increasing our tax money. Bob Castelli 2012. A real man with intergrity and honesty in POLITICS. CASTELLI2012.
Dan Seidel August 23, 2012 at 12:22 AM
and I believe if memory serves me correct, David's mom learned to shoot as a young woman, something I commend to all young women.
Bassett August 23, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Mr. Castelli, Thank you for your response below. If as you say you are now not in favor of this ill conceived project, one that was originally refused by the Town's Planning Board when it was first presented to them in mid 2000 because they said that the site was not a place for anyone to be living I ask you to please make your feeling against this clear and public in a letter to the New Castle Town Board and to all the other relevant Town Boards. I am sure that all of our local papers would be more than happy to print your second thoughts. It would also be helpful to see such a letter on our Town's site. Thank you.
Bassett August 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Mr. Castelli, The voters in New are waiting for you to speak out against the Conifer project, Since you do have a letter on record in support of the terrible project it is time for you to tell the voters that you are now against it. Are you so unfamiliar with the spot for which it has been proposed that you would ever had thought it a good thing ?
Thomas October 01, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Buchwald is not a "Sheldon Silver sychophant and darling of unions". he has voted in White Plains against union raises and has favored a hard, but fair position in negotiations. It has been shown that the crime statistics put out by the Castelli campaign are simply lies Just google WHite Plains New York crime statistics and you will see. Castelli really did vote against the bill involving domestic violence, you can't change that fact. As for stop and frisk, who in God's name told you it was highly effective? I am an attorney in the courts in NYC and I can tell you it has caused more problems then anything else, causing several lawsuits and diminished community support. As for the Second Amendment it is one of my favorites It does create an individual right to keep and bear arms, but that right is to be "well regulated".
Ross Revira October 01, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Meaning of "well regulated" The term "regulated" means "disciplined" or "trained". In Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that the adjective 'well-regulated' implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training.. Now Thomas being a trained liar, excuse me lawyer you know what "well regulated" meant considering the recent Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller. Now that you are proven to be deceptive one would have to conclude that anything else you say is also not true. Thomas, Buchwald, Silver three liars , excuse me again lawyers.
DPM October 02, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Thomas' comment as someone claiming to be an attorney is particularly troubling to me. A first year law student would have a better grasp on the meaning of "well regulated" in light of the Heller decision than this practicing attorney appears to. Simply stated, I don't trust Buchwald or the leader of his party in the Assembly. Conversely, I do trust Bob Castelli and appreciate his having the guts to stand up for my rights.

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