A year-old state tip line to report illegal guns has some up in arms over the possibility that it could be used to report guns made illegal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun-control legislation.
As part of an effort to curb gang gun violence, the governor set up a toll-free tip line that offered rewards based on the value of the lead. That program was cast back into the public eye this week by the state’s Department of Criminal Justice, which is offering a $500 reward for anyone who can provide authorities with information that leads to an arrest for illegal gun possession.
“We’ve reached a new low in this debate on gun control,” said Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, in written response to the latest push for the tip line.
“It’s bad enough that Gov. Cuomo made criminals out of law-abiding citizens and now he is using a program that was intended to limit illegal gun violence in our inner cities to pit neighbor against neighbor here upstate,” Butler said. “This announcement from his administration is making an already bad law worse for upstate New Yorkers. He should be focusing his efforts on righting the wrong of his gun control law instead of placing a bounty on our citizens.”
The news release from the state advertising the $500 reward doesn’t mention the Cuomo’s gun control package — the NY SAFE Act — or highlight the fact that a new class of guns is now illegal.
When the tip line was created it was part of a package of efforts aimed at reducing gun violence, with a focus on community involvement. Despite the history behind the tip line, there is still a lot of fervor about the latest emphasis on reporting illegal guns.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose, said in a statement the initiative could pit neighbor against neighbor. “In December, Governor Cuomo stated that ‘confiscation could be an option,’ and now it appears he is staying true to his word with this dangerous new initiative,” he said.
“With the stroke of his pen in January, Governor Cuomo made criminals out of police officers who step foot on school grounds with their own service weapon,” McLaughlin said. “Yet, instead of moving swiftly to pass an amendment to exempt police officers, the Governor and DCJS have deemed confiscation of previously legal firearms a higher priority.”
The public can report information about illegal guns at any time of day by calling the tip line at 1-855-486-7697.