Back to Metroland's Home Page!
 Columns & Opinions
   The Simple Life
   Looking Up
   Myth America
   Rapp On This
 News & Features
   What a Week
   Loose Ends
   This Week's Review
   The Dining Guide
 Cinema & Video
   Weekly Reviews
   The Movie Schedule
   Listen Here
   Art Murmur
   Night & Day
   Event Listings
   View Classified Ads
   Place a Classified Ad
   Online Personals
   Place A Print Ad
 About Metroland
   Where We Are
   Who We Are
   What We Do
   Work For Us
   Place An Ad

Bullet Tracing

Albany’s Common Council looks to connect a name with a purchase when it comes to ammunition sales

‘I figure that if they can do it in Los Angeles, we can do it in Albany,” said Albany Common Council member Dominick Calsolaro about the legislation he and other council members were reviewing during a recent meeting of the Public Safety Committee.

Similar to a law currently on the books in California, the Calsolaro-sponsored legislation would require any business within city limits that sold handgun ammunition to keep a record of who purchased bullets, what bullets were purchased and when the transactions occurred. The new requirements would bolster already existing state laws that call for a valid handgun permit to be shown by anyone wishing to purchase handgun ammunition.

With gun-related crimes finding their way into the local news at an almost daily rate these days, Calsolaro argued that such a law might help police track the people responsible for such crimes—and possibly keep the chambers empty in a few illegal guns. He said he modeled the legislation after a Los Angeles law that’s widely recognized as contributing to the city’s gradually decreasing level of gun crime.

Currently, the only businesses that sell ammunition within the city of Albany are the large chain stores Wal-Mart and Sports Authority. While a representative of Sports Authority said she was unable to comment on the potential new requirements, a Wal-Mart spokesman said he didn’t foresee having any problem with such a law, and if such a law were passed, the store would “certainly do whatever the law requires.”

While Calsolaro and the Albany Police Department have not always seen eye to eye, in this case, the police department has seemed concerned only that such a proposal might not be ambitious enough. During the November committee meeting, Albany Police Chief James Turley argued that records kept of all ammunition purchases—not just handgun ammunition—would better serve the city.

“You may need a permit for a handgun, but you don’t need a permit for a shotgun,” he explained. “Shouldn’t there be a record of the shotgun ammunition sale, too?”

Add to that the ability to use some bullets (like the .22 caliber, for instance) in both handguns, which require a permit, and rifles, which do not, and the advantages of having a broader application of the law become more apparent, said Turley.

While APD spokesman Detective James Miller said that the majority of gun-related crimes do indeed involve handguns, he agreed that having a record of other ammunition sales could only help with the investigation of such crimes.

Whether the legislation applies to handgun ammunition or all ammunition in general, however, there has been some agreement between all concerned parties: If the recordkeeping requirements remain confined within the city’s borders, it’s not likely to be very effective.

“I would like it to be countywide, and eventually regionwide,” Calsolaro explained, “because that’s where most of the gun shops are located.”

“It’s going to be a waste of time if people can just travel outside the city to buy their ammunition or if they can just order it through the mail,” said Jim Frampton, owner of J & J Outdoor Sports in Guilderland. “They really need to do their research before they make those sort of laws.”

Calsolaro said he plans to look into the possibility of broader application and speak with officials from Albany County and other neighboring municipalities about potential cooperation, and then possibly rewrite the bill and reintroduce it next year.

—Rick Marshall

What a Week

Zoning, Schmoning

The usual route for a business wanting to build on a lot not zoned for its type of use would be to request and comply with a zoning variance. But instead, the developers of the controversial plan to put a Walgreens Pharmacy and a Panera Bread Co. on Holland Avenue, near Albany’s University Heights complex, are trying to get the underlying zoning changed—from office to highway commercial, basically exempting them from further design review. Such “spot zoning” is illegal in many cities. Public comment will be taken at the Dec. 5 Common Council meeting.

Warming Up for a Heated Debate

Montreal greeted up to 10,000 representatives from 189 nations on Monday, Nov. 28, in the first global climate-change conference since the Kyoto Protocol was put into effect in February. Although it is the worldwide leader in harmful emissions, the United States refused to sign the protocol, and refused to attend the current conference. “A targets and timetables approach will not work for us,” said chief U.S. climate negotiator Harlan Watson, according to Reuters.

Out of Energy

Many school districts struggling to work within their budgets have taken aim at energy costs. While many have taken to turning down their thermostats and keeping some lights off, the Saint Paul, Minn., City School District has enacted a $25 per appliance annual fee for any staff member who wants to run an appliance, such as a coffee pot, fridge or fan. Teachers are not amused.

Oh, You’re in Trouble Now

The fiasco surrounding Sony BMG’s decision to include hidden software capable of damaging consumers’ computers (and increasing their chance of virus attack) on more than 5 million albums has caught the attention of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. While Spitzer hasn’t announced yet whether he’ll follow the lead of his Texas counterpart and sue Sony BMG, he has encouraged consumers to avoid buying any of the CDs and scolded stores for not taking them off their shelves. Spitzer also reported that his investigators were able to purchase many of the malignant discs at local stores in the last week despite a recall announcement almost a month ago.

Not Your Soldier Day

photo:Rick Marshall

At 3 PM on Nov. 17, children just dismissed from school stared curiously out of smudged bus windows at a crowd of around 40 gathered on the corner of Washington Avenue and North Main Avenue in Albany. Members of UAlbany’s Campus Action, other college students, veteran activists, and high-school students had gathered in front of the Naval Recruitment Center to protest recruiting practices in honor of “Not Your Soldier Day.” The protestors held signs commemorating individuals from both sides of the war killed in Iraq. Behind the protestors stood four officers on foot and three on horseback; they chatted calmly, trying to keep their hands warm, waving at school kids as they passed by. The officers had just come from responding to a brawl at Albany High School, a few blocks away.





—David King



“Delaware Avenue’s haunted.”

“Delaware Avenue?”

“Yeah. Something bad happened there.”

—CDTA Route 18 bus, in the midst of a discussion of haunted houses.


Overheard:“Question his manhood.”

—Ralph Nader, at a press conference Tuesday supporting Alice Green, in response to a question about how Green could convince Mayor Jerry Jennings to participate in a debate.

Loose Ends

Roumen Dimitrov, the RPI postdoc who had to return to Bulgaria after losing his work visa over a clash with his research advisor [“Go Unpublished or Perish,” Nov. 13, 2003], reports that he is now working for the University of Sofia in Bulgaria in the department of Theoretical Physics. The Biophysical Journal paper that had been delayed by the disputes, and which Dimitrov had been told when he pulled out of his severance agreement would not be published, was published in July 2004. Dimitrov is also pleased that he has in fact received credit for the algorithms he contributed to his RPI advisor’s Web site. . . . Albany’s Women’s Building has pulled itself out of its financial troubles of two years ago [“Tough Times at the Women’s Building,” Feb. 19, 2004] and is setting its sights high. Under the interim leadership of Carmen Rau, the Holding Our Own foundation, which had originally helped finance the mortgage on the building, stepped in to help stabilize the organization. “When women’s building ran into trouble, Holding Our Own stepped forward from silent partner to a more stewardship role,” said Rau. “This is how it was supposed to work, because . . . sometimes things go wrong.” A series of town-hall meetings focused the vision, and raised nearly half the funds needed to retire the mortgage. A fund-raising campaign has also been launched to install an elevator, the office space is full and has a waiting list, and the space is in use—on a very steep sliding scale—by different groups every night of the week. Looking forward, Rau said volunteers are organizing security shifts so the building and its library can actually open its doors for several hours every day, and new collaborations are being spawned from the art show they recently mounted (pictured, up until Dec. 10). . . . The Delaware Avenue Price Chopper—the only grocery store near downtown Albany—is getting a new look. The Golub Corp., which owns the Price Chopper grocery chain, is renovating the façade to resemble the Madison Avenue Price Chopper, said Mona Golub, Price Chopper’s spokeswoman, and the interior will get a new paint job. Golub has said in the past that the Delaware Avenue store faces special challenges, including the fact that it’s less than half the size of most grocery stores built today [“Food and the City,” Feb 19, 2004]. At the same time, she reiterated the company’s commitment to keeping the store open. The Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association worked closely with the Golub Corp. on the original design of the Delaware Avenue store to make it fit better into the historic neighborhood. The latest changes to the store are taking place at the same time that a number of long-abandoned homes in that section of Hudson/Park have been bought and are also undergoing renovation.

Send A Letter to Our Editor
Back Home
Banner 10000006
Banner 10000007
wine recommendations 120 x 90
Copyright © 2002 Lou Communications, Inc., 419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210. All rights reserved.