Pete Slivka is a retired police officer who worked in the Westchester DA’s office in White Plains. As a former law-enforcement officer, he is allowed by law to possess a gun, but that is only if he chooses. For Slivka, though, keeping his gun makes sense. “I never know if I’m going to run into someone who may have a grudge against me personally for arresting them,” he says. “Also, if I need to help and defend somebody else…it’s an honor to still have it, believe me.”
What does it mean to you that the Journal News published your name as a gun owner? I’m worried. I’m worried about someone burglarizing my residence when I’m not there, and if they should be successful in taking what I own, I’m scared it’s going to be taken and used in a vicious crime that is going to hurt another person.
Are you worried that the people you put in jail will now know where you live? They shouldn’t know where I reside! Why should they have the right? They were the bad guys, and I was the good guy!
Sandy Hook obviously led to extensive new gun legislation in New York State. Do you think guns should be regulated more? No, I don’t think they should be regulated more. I think harsher penalties for those using them illegally should be imposed. If somebody steals or uses a firearm to murder somebody in the commission of the crime, putting them away for life is too lenient; I’m sorry, I am still pro-death penalty. There should be no leeway. You use a gun to stick someone else in a robbery, there should be a mandatory, ‘Hey, you’re doing ten years because you used a gun.’ Put that on top of the robbery charges.
What about more thorough background checks? Background checks are done thoroughly by the Police Department of Westchester, the County police. I don’t know how much more you are going to try to impose without saying nobody is allowed to have anything. Then you’re taking it away from everybody, and the bad guys are still going to have weapons to hurt people with. If you can’t get weapons in this country [legally], they will just bring them in from other countries, like drugs are brought in.