BRONX, N.Y. – U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) today commemorated National Gun Violence Awareness Month by joining the family of Angellyh Yambo, local elected leaders, and students from University Prep Charter High School to announce new federal legislation banning ghost guns and expanding the perimeter of gun free school zones.
“I’m proud to introduce the ‘Angellyh Yambo Gun Free Zone Expansion Act of 2023’ in honor and memory of a beloved daughter, friend, and honor roll student who should still be with us today,” U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “We are the only country in the industrialized world with an epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings, and the notion that this reality is the inevitable price we pay for our freedom is outrageous. We do not have to live in a world where Americans and especially children routinely fall victim to mass murder in the very places where they’re supposed to be safe. It is far past time for the federal government to crack down on the proliferation of weapons of war on our streets, including untraceable ghost guns, and implement other gun safety measures to protect our communities and save lives.”
The “Angellyh Yambo Gun Free Zone Expansion Act of 2023” would ban the transfer and possession of ghost guns and expand gun free school zones from 1,000 ft. to 5,000 ft. for all public, private, and charter schools and early childhood education centers. This legislation would go further than current federal regulations requiring manufacturers of ghost gun kits to become licensed under the Gun Control Act, include serial numbers on the kits’ frames or receiver, and run background checks prior to a sale of a ghost gun kit.
“Gun violence is a national crisis that demands a national solution. The ‘Angellyh Yambo Gun Free Zone Expansion Act of 2023’ will help kids in our community feel a little safer walking from and to school,” said Mary Hernandez, Angellyh Yambo’s aunt and CEO/Founder of the Angellyh Yambo Foundation.
“We are extremely proud of the ‘Angellyh Yambo Gun Free Zone Expansion Act of 2023’, which will make the Bronx and the rest of the nation safer. This bill will help prevent gun violence in our communities by prohibiting people from carrying firearms with 5,000 ft. from school grounds” said Alexandra Maruri with the Angellyh Yambo Foundation.
Ghost guns are untraceable firearms without a serial number that anyone – even minors, prohibited purchasers, domestic abusers, and gun traffickers – can buy online and assemble at home without a background check. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the use of ghost guns in U.S. crimes has soared by more than 1,000% since 2017.
Tragically, in April 2022, a ghost gun was used in the senseless murder of honor student Angellyh Yambo, 16, who was innocently caught in the crossfire of a shootout while walking home from University Prep Charter High School in the South Bronx.
In the year since her death, Angellyh’s loved ones and relatives have established a foundation to create safe havens for children and have been engaged with Rep. Torres’s office on common sense policy solutions to combat the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. and make communities safer.
According to the CDC, guns are now the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers. So far in 2023, there have been more mass shootings than days in the year, putting the U.S. on track to set a new record for mass killings.
“With the proliferation of gun violence reaching epidemic proportions across our city, state, and nation, the need for cross-governmental collaboration is greater than ever before,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “This is why I fully support the ‘Angellyh Yambo Gun Free Zone Expansion Act of 2023’ introduced by Congressman Ritchie Torres. This legislation aims to strengthen federal laws around the use of the unregulated and untraceable ghost guns by expanding protections pertaining to the use of firearms near educational facilities. I want to thank Congressman Torres for honoring the life of Angellyh Yambo and her loved ones by introducing legislation that works to ensure the safety of our students around educational institutions nationwide.”
“Thank you to Congressmember Ritchie Torres for proposed changes to federal law to expand gun-free zones around schools to 5,000 feet and include early childhood education programs in the protected area, as well as prohibiting possession of ghost guns,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark. “A teen with a ghost gun allegedly killed 16-year-old Angellyah Yambo and wounded two other teens as they walked from their high school in April 2022. Naming the proposed legislation for Angellyah is poignantly appropriate, as her family has channeled their grief into advocacy against gun violence.”