Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A humpback whale sighting in the Long Island Sound near Port Washington over the Labor Day weekend prompted experts to remind boaters to give the whale its space.Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation biologists are monitoring the whale’s movements and urging the boating public to stay at least 150 feet away from the creature.“They are federally protected, and interacting with them in any way falls under harassment,” said Rachel Bosworth, a spokeswoman for the group, which noted that such sightings are not unusual.The whale appears to have first made news when it was spotted Aug. 30 in the Sound off Milford, Conn., more than 50 miles northeast of Port Washington, where boaters reported a similar sighting on Labor Day, Sept. 7.“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mark Tutino, who spotted the whale breaching last week, told News 12 Connecticut.Humpback whales, among the largest mammal species, have a life span of 45-to-50 years, eating only krill, plankton and small fish. They have been protected worldwide since 1966 because of the decrease in their population. It is believed that there are only 30,000-40,000 humpback whales left, which is only 30 percent of their original population.The humpback sighting isn’t the only whale reported in the Sound lately. A trio of Beluga whales was spotted in the waterway in May.Marine biologists have been unable to perform a health assessment of the humpback whale because it is swimming freely, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have been notified.Riverhead Foundation officials ask anyone who spots the whale to call them at 631-369-9829. Videos or photos may be sent to [email protected]
The failure of the Air Force to report the conviction of the gunman in the Sutherland Springs shooting underscored the holes in the system.That Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a fierce opponent of most gun control, is helping lead the effort is seen as boosting its prospects.Of course, neither of these modest measures would be sufficient to address gun violence.Congress should reimpose the ban on the military-style semiautomatic guns that have — even without bump stocks — become the weapon of choice of mass killers.This week the Supreme Court let standa Maryland law banning the sale of these weapons.Hopefully that will encourage more states to take similar action while they wait for Congress to do its job.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Even the National Rifle Association said the accessories should be subject to regulation.But the momentum for action was short-lived, the NRA’s seeming support was a subterfuge, and Congress has failed to act, saying the matter was better left to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Never mind that agency says it lacks authority under the law to do so.Some states and cities are trying to fill the gap.Massachusetts this month became the first state to ban bump stocks since the Las Vegas massacre, and several others are considering similar restrictions.“We’ve come to the conclusion that Congress just won’t act on this issue, gun control, so we’ve decided to try to do as much as we can on a state level and on a state-by-state measure,” said Massachusetts state Rep. David Linsky, D.The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Dec. 6 on rules regulating firearm accessories, but prospects for action before Congress adjourns are not seen as good.Gun-control advocates are more hopeful about legislation advanced by a bipartisan group of senators that would require federal agencies and states to improve their reporting of criminal offenses and other information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post.A loophole in federal gun law allowed the gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting to modify his weapons to perform like machine guns.A lapse in the national instant background-check system allowed the gunman in Sutherland Springs, Texas, to purchase his weapon despite what should have been a disqualifying conviction for domestic violence.Congress has before it sensible solutions to address both problems.Will it enact them this time or, as after other tragedies, fold under the pressure of the gun lobby?After a gunman in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured hundreds on Oct. 1 by using bump stocks to spray bullets into a crowd listening to country music, congressional action seemed almost certain.Bipartisan support emerged for legislation to ban the devices, which essentially circumvent laws banning automatic weapons made or imported after 1986.