Just about every day, I receive at least 25 emails related to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s gun control legislation and what Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on guns is up to.
It’s getting to the point where it’s becoming hard to determine what’s true and what’s not. So many questions, so many answers. What does registering and/or confiscating my gun(s), and those of millions of law-abiding citizens, do to prevent the killings of our children or any innocent people?
Here are a few other provisions I question. The tracking of high-volume ammunition purchases makes New York the first state to have real-time tracking information. It requires all dealers to register with the state police, and each sale will require both a state background check and transmission of a record of the sale to state police, enabling them to determine alerts of high-volume purchases. I wonder what our “limit” is. I know of several skeet shooters who go through 200-300 rounds per week. In addition, dealers are required to report any loss of inventory.
Could this be another Combined Ballistic Identification System (CoBis) all over again? We poured $44 million into putting all of those gun casings on file over the 11 years the law existed, and it resulted in no convictions for anything.
Statewide recertification of handguns and assault rifles will require those who own a handgun or an assault rifle to recertify every five years through their county of residence, which will allow the state to establish an electronic gun permit database that can be run against other databases containing the names of people who would be disqualified from possessing firearms. These disqualifications would include those with criminal convictions, involuntary commitments, those subject to orders of protection, as well as death records.
No longer will you be able to just give/sell your guns to a private party, with the exception of immediate family. Such transfers will have to be done through a Federal Firearms dealer and include the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS), which undoubtedly will require a fee.
The one that I really question is the description of the so-called “assault rifle” and its total misinterpretation when comparing it with the modern sporting rifle.
Let’s take a look at some of the reactions to the rushed-through New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms (NYSAFE) Act from the professional law enforcement groups who will have to enforce these laws.
I’ll begin with my county’s law enforcement officers, the Saratoga County Deputy Sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association (SCDSPBA). This organization represents the sworn men and women police officers of the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. When I read the group’s response, I was not only impressed, but very proud. On Jan. 24, SCDSPBA sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo and several state Senators (Jeffrey Klein, Kathleen Marchione, Dean Skelos, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, as well as Republic Committee chairman Ed Cox).
Their letter began with opposition to the passage of this bill and the manner in which it was negotiated and subsequently voted on. Senators had only 20 minutes to read this legislation, the letter contends, before being forced to vote on it. So little time that its authors failed to make provisions for the exemption of police officers or members of the National Guard with respect to the “new” magazine capacity requirements of seven rounds.
There’s no way any normal person could have read the 56 sections of the bill in that length of time. SCDSPBA followed with, “The entire process was one of secrecy and of intentional withholding of information from the public. We condemn this in the harshest terms.”
According to SCDSPBA, Gov. Cuomo used what is called a “message of necessity” to waive the three-day maturing process of legislation and bring the bill to vote sooner. The group also said it believed it was a deliberate attempt to bypass constitutional process and the opposition of the bill. And it is this action that is depriving approximately 19.5 million citizens the opportunity to comment/criticize this bill.
As I read through this letter, I found a number of relevant facts, apparently overlooked by those who authored this bill. For example, the new regulation describes an assault weapon as one that has just one military feature. There is one feature of an assault rifle — the pistol grip — that will make most semi-automatic pistols assault weapons because they come with pistol grips and are therefore subject to re-registration on a yearly basis in addition to the renewal re-registering of your pistol license every five years. SCDSPBA also noted that last year, there were only five out of 769 homicides in New York using these so-called assault rifles.
Recent FBI reports showed there are more deaths with hammers and clubs than rifles or shotguns.
It’s also SCDSPBA’s position that “the legislation fails miserably to offer any meaningful solutions to the epidemic of gun violence and places the blame squarely where it does not belong, on the shoulders of law-abiding citizens.”
Their safety was another very important concern. This law could create serious dangers, should they have to enforce the confiscation of previously lawfully owned property of an American citizen, and the law enforcement officers do not appreciate their safety being sacrificed for political gain.
SCDSPBA very plainly expressed its outrage at the conduct of the Senate Republican Coalition. Many of their members contacted the office of Senate Republican leader Skelos (R-Nassau) on a regular basis to voice opposition to additional regulations of firearms and were assured that the senator’s office was being flooded with similar calls. They said they’ve always looked to the Republican party to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens, much in the same way they place their lives on the line every day to protect the rights of all citizens. And they followed with: “Only to have them negotiated away in secret and stripped of them in a clandestine vote that is both appalling and unforgivable.”
In conclusion, they “encourage members of the legislature to hold hearings where the public is afforded the right to participate in the legislative process, to address the issue of gun violence in a way that might actually produce meaningful results, and to stop holding law-abiding citizens who choose to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment hostage for the criminal behavior of another, and the political aspirations of the governor.”
I also reviewed six other county sheriffs’ written responses to the governor. and they all agreed on all the shortcomings of the bill. The New York State Sheriff’s Association (NYSSA) also responded with similar views to all parts of the act and made the following statements.
NYSSA agreed that a comprehensive review of mental health records should be done before firearms permits are granted and a review of records to determine if revocation of permits is required. They also believe there is an urgent need to increase funding for mental health care.
The new law imposes reporting requirements on many mental health care professionals and others who may make a determination that a person is a danger to himself or others. Additionally, it gives needed authority to courts or others who issue firearms permits to deny permit applications or to revoke permits already issued. We believe that this issue demands a much more full and detailed discussion about how to keep guns out of the hands of such people. The NYSSA wants to pursue these issues with the governor and legislature.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) and the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association, Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education and AR-15.com LLC have filed a notice of claim against the State of New York regarding the recent passage of the NYSAFE Act. The filing of this claim, which must be filed before a lawsuit is started, makes clear the intent of these organizations and their members, that they will fight this law on every level, and to take it, if necessary, to the Supreme Court.
So what can we do? Start by attending the Civil Rights Second Amendment Rally Feb. 28, sponsored by the NRA, NYSRPA, activist JJ Johnson-Smith and the Save the Second Amendment Foundation to protest this anti-gun law. The rally will be at the Albany Legislative Building, downtown Albany beginning at noon.
This is a day to join other sportsmen and women and let Gov. Cuomo and legislators know of your opposition to the NYSAFE Act. Make appointments with your senators and assemblymen and remind them they that they are “your representatives” and how you feel.
From all the verbal and written opposition of the NYSAFE Act, it appears that the sleeping giant — hunters and gun owners — have awakened, and they’re not happy.
Most importantly, remember this: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” It was right when they wrote it in 1791, and it’s still right today.