When the New York state SAFE Act was passed, I was at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
It created quite a buzz among the 1,600-plus sporting/hunting product manufacturers and the 62,371 dealers there, especially those from New York, who were in awe. Every manufacturer I visited that saw “New York” on my press badge had comments, and they weren’t good ones.
That whole day, every computer and telephone in the pressroom was taken, and many of the stories being written by the outdoor writers were about New York. When I left Las Vegas, I knew there would be repercussions. And they’ve started.
Today at noon, we’ll see the awakening of that “Sleeping Giant” — hunters, shooters and law-abiding, gun-owning citizens from all over the state will gather at Capitol Park in Albany to express the violation of their Second Amendment rights that the passage of the NYSAFE Act has created. Many of those who attend have set up appointments with their legislative representatives to express their disagreement with many sections of the bill and to remind them that they “represent us.” If you’re a gun owner, you should definitely be there.
While at the SHOT Show, I heard several gun manufacturers talking about discontinuing selling their products to New York state. It wasn’t just gun manufacturers, but also companies that manufacture related products. Why? Because they, like all law-abiding citizens, believe in the Second Amendment. Here are a few of the manufacturers that have released statements saying they’ll no longer be doing business in New York state.
The first I heard of was Olympic Arms Inc. This company produces a full line of AR-style predator and big-game hunting rifles and a line of pistols. On Feb. 12, Brian Schuetz, Olympic president, said, “Legislation recently passed in the state of New York outlaws the AR15 and many other firearms, and will make it illegal for the good and free citizens of New York to own a large selection of legal and safe firearms and magazines. We feel the passage of this legislation exceeds the authority granted to the government of New York by its citizens and violates the Constitution of the United States. In short, Olympic Arms will no longer be doing business with the state of New York or any government entity or employee of such government within the state of New York until such legislation is repealed, and an apology made to the good people of the state of New York and the American people.”
In closing, Schuetz invited all firearms manufacturers, distributors and firearms dealers to join them in the action to refuse to do business with the state of New York.
York Arms, a custom gunsmith in Buxton, Maine, that offers complete AR-15-style rifles and a full line of receivers and other accessories, told gun rights organizations they have cancelled further orders from New York police departments. “Based on the recent legislation in New York, we are prohibited from selling rifles and receivers to residents of New York. We have chosen to extend the prohibition to all governmental agencies associated with or located within New York state,” according to a company release.
Does this mean FBI offices in New York won’t be able to have AR-15-style weapons?
For civilian customers residing in New York state, the company will refund payment in full or complete orders and ship them to a federal firearms-licensed dealer outside the state. Anyone in the process of leaving New York and taking residence in another state can have their order held for up to six months.
I have to smile about the ad that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot ran, aimed at Manhattan and Albany, that invited New Yorkers to consider moving to Texas. The ad promoted lower taxes and better gun culture. His actual quote was: “You’ll also get to keep more of what you earn and use some of that extra money to buy more ammo.”
Speaking of Texas, Mark LaRue of LaRue Tactical in Leander, Texas. was a bit more frank with ceasing to do business with New York. LaRue said that in an effort to see that no legal mistakes are made, they’ll apply all current state and local laws, as applied to citizens, to state and local law enforcement/government agencies. In other words, they’ll limit all sales to what law-abiding citizens residing in their districts can purchase or possess.
North Carolina-based Templar Custom builds custom AR-15-style rifles, accessories and customization services for military personnel, law enforcement and the public. According to CEO Bob Reynolds, they’ll not sell to New York state. He added that they won’t sell arms to agents of the state of New York that hold themselves to be “more equal” than their citizens.
Another company, Extreme Firepower, that builds firearms to purchaser’s specifications, made its intentions very simple. The West Virginia gun manufacturer said it won’t sell anything to the city of Chicago, Washington, D.C., and recently added New York state.
There are also gun-owner groups that have been asking members to contact other manufacturers making significant sales to law enforcement in New York. The Guns-Save Lives organization has sent letters and emails to three major gun manufactures (Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Glock) who supply firearms to the police in New York.
Nothing is definite on the status of Remington and Bushmaster in Ilion. The Herkimer County village has a population of around 8,053, 1,200 of whom are employed by Remington.
Ilion’s mayor, John Stephens, told The Associated Press, “Remington is Ilion, and Ilion is Remington.” My question is, “Why would Remington want to stay in a state that bans one of their major products (Bushmaster)? Well, there are five states — Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona and North Carolina — that have offered Remington relocation opportunities in their state.
COUNTY, TOWN OPPOSITION
On Jan. 25, the supervisors of Warren County were the first New York county government to pass a resolution opposing both the NYSAFE Act and the way it was made. As of one week ago, 20 other counties have passed resolutions of opposition, and 15 others have resolutions pending that will be voted on shortly. Also, 11 towns have stepped up and also passed opposition resolutions of the NYSAFE Act.
There are four dates in the New York SAFE Act legislation that gun owners should be aware of, and that are already or shortly will require our attention. The first, already in effect, is that all scary-looking (aka “assault weapon”) semi-automatic rifles and pistols with a detachable magazine and certain other characteristics, are banned.
Beginning March 15, a national instant criminal background check (NICS) must be conducted on the private sale or disposal of any firearm. A licensed federal firearms dealer, willing to conduct the check, can charge up to $10 per transaction. All firearms transactions shall be considered part of the public record and subject to public disclosure.
Beginning April 15, only magazines that can hold seven rounds or less can be sold.
By May 15, if you do not file an “Opt-Out” form with with your county clerk, your personal information is subject to public review under a freedom of information request.
The county clerk’s office, at its discretion, can disapprove the “Opt-Out” out request. Gun owners can contact their local licensing office, or click here. The form can be downloaded from the bottom of the page. Complete the form and take it to your local licensing office.
I have saved the best for last. On Jan. 29, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) introduced bill A03908 requiring that prior to owning a firearm, the prospective owner “must obtain and continuously maintain a policy of liability insurance in an amount not less than $1 million, specifically covering any damages resulting from any negligent or willful acts involving the use of such firearm while it is owned by that person. Failure to maintain such insurance shall result in immediate revocation of the owner’s registration, license and any other privilege to own such firearm. A person shall be deemed to be the owner of the firearm if it is lost or stolen until such loss or theft is reported to the police department or sheriff who has jurisdiction in the county, town, city or village in which the owner resides.”
Now it’s a “privilege” to own a firearm, and all this time, I thought it was a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. I don’t know how much this coverage will cost, but I know $500,000 liability coverage on a new F-150 truck is $250 per year. Owning a firearm is really getting complicated and expensive.
When I was about to submit this column, my wife showed me something on the YNN.com news that was interesting. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was continuously asked about his NYSAFE Act while touring western New York. He said, “In terms of tweaking the law, anyone who read the newspaper and follows the news knows that’s what we’ve been talking about since day one. A lot of these laws have a chapter amendment for afterward, and I would expect technical corrections on this bill.”
We can only hope he’s not talking only about exemptions for police and former law enforcement officers.