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Guns for bodega owners?

October 28, 2010 2:07:07 PM PDT
Who would have thought that a portion of the gun control debate would be focusing on a Hispanic activist passing out gun permit applications to (predominantly) Hispanic and Korean bodega owners, and the decision to green-light the permit would be made by a police department controlled by one of the fiercest anti-gun advocates in the country in the person of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

Who would have thunk it indeed?

But that's exactly what's happening tonight, as Fernando Mateo, the activist who is fed up with bodega owners being used as target practice by thug robbers, is letting shopkeepers know that they can go through the system to apply for a legal gun permit.

"Fernando Mateo's got a right to do that," said hizzoner today. "We do an awful lot of research before we give a carry permit or a permit to have a gun in your home in New York City. We take it very seriously."

The Mayor's in the middle of a little brouhaha because after leading the campaign to stop guns, especially illegal ones. The Mayor is now overseeing a process of drastically reducing the application fee for a gun permit. And by "drastically reducing" I mean cutting it from $340 to between $25 and $110.

The reason for the reduction, says the Mayor, is to make sure the Supreme Court doesn't rule the City's fees unconstitutional because they're outrageously high.

"We try to be in compliance with the law," said the Mayor, defending his reasoning. "As you know, we're worried about making sure the Supreme Court agrees with us, and that's why we're trying to change the fees that are charged. But guns in the hands of criminals and guns in the hands of kids are what I'm focusing on."

We'll have the latest on the gun permit changes, and the campaign to pass out these permit applications to bodega owners, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, danger at the world's largest jail complex, Riker's Island. Some of the floors housing Riker's 14,000 inmates have inoperable fire safety systems alarms and sprinklers.

That's the claim from workers at the facility, and tonight we have undercover video that seems to support that claim.

Our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer has an Eyewitness News exclusive story.

And our Kemberly Richardson takes a look at a new product, now in trials, that could offer an alternative form of birth control. It's a topical gel. Just rub it on your arms, legs, any body part, and, presto, baby proof.

Finally, we're keeping tabs on the condition of former Pres. Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorenson, who is in the hospital after suffering a stroke last Friday. The 82-year-old still has an office with his law firm in downtown Manhattan. He wrote some of Kennedy's most memorable speeches.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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