With the New Year’s celebrations come all the new laws ready to take full effect on January 1, 2014. Of concern to many are the new firearms laws coming into play. Citizens of New York will be resigned to a confusing set of new restrictions thanks to liberal lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo. The problem with firearms legislation today is that it is driven by a desire for re-election and popularity rather than by arguments predicated on logic and safety. It is therefore not surprising that liberal lawmakers and activists are having difficulty coming up with clear, consistent laws to support their confounded position of firearms.
The tragic Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut took place on December 14, 2012 and exactly one month later on January 14, 2013 the New York State “SAFE” Act was pushed through the NYS Senate (a slight Republican majority). The following day, January 15th, the law was moved through the NYS Assembly (a large Democrat majority). Only half an hour (30 minutes!) after the SAFE Act had passed the lower house, NYS Governor Cuomo (D) signed it into law. It’s always fascinating how such laws can move so quickly through the legislature yet it takes months, if not longer, to pass belated state budgets. Why was the process completed so rapidly? It is because New York politics are a popularity contest, one that is often focused on the desires of the Democratic stronghold of New York City. Fifty-two of sixty-two NYS counties are formally opposed to the SAFE Act. Comprising nine of those ten states are Albany County (seat of the NYS legislature) and the counties of Westchester, New York City, and Long Island. It is not much of a surprise that individual and community security are being relegated to political pandering and Democratic vanity. The SAFE Act was an emotional, political reaction, exactly how lawmaking is not supposed to work.
Yet despite the regular abuse of the legislative system in their state, New Yorkers will now be burdened with even more bureaucracy in an attempt to protect themselves and their families. Unless a citizen is at a certified firing range or shooting event that citizen cannot keep more than seven rounds in a magazine even though the law dictates that magazines can be as large as to hold ten rounds. It’s similar to the saying that because large cargo vans are unsafe, you can own one that can hold fifteen people but unless you are at a special cargo van event you can only drive around with ten people inside.
What other asinine provisions are in the law? Universal background checks. The grand irony with these universal checks is that they essentially already exist. The vast majority of, dare I say practically all, firearms owners purchase their firearms through licensed dealers, either online, at a store, or at a gun show. All licensed dealers already have to run a background check whenever they sell a firearm whether it’s a .22 rifle to an 18-year old or a .357 magnum pistol to a 90-year old. Legal private sales are restricted to licensed firearms dealers to their immediate family members and “assault weapons” (a word whose definition varies as you travel across the country) are more widely defined with only one extra feature instead of two (pistol grip, etc.) as well as now requiring full registration and accommodating practically zero transferability. So while drug-dealing gang members in New York City are registering all of their weapons in accordance with the SAFE Act, the single mother has to remove her now illegal grenade launcher, flash suppressor, and three rounds from the ten round magazine of her small caliber pistol. Thank goodness NYS liberals and turncoat conservatives are countering the real threats in our society (note the sarcasm).
I highly suggest taking a deeper look at all the new and confusing provisions of the NYS Safe Act even if you aren’t a New York resident just to see what it’s like when liberal utopianism starts to take hold on a population. Firearms are effectively no longer private property in New York and safety is a concept that is not treated as a right. Despite a few reasonable propositions in the law (such as increased penalties for shooting at first responders, taking firearms from the mentally unstable or individuals who have stated they are going to commit a crime, and somewhat vague considerations advocating safe firearms storage), it should be more worrying that these considerations were not already on the books. New York State residents can only wait to see what negative effects this will have on their communities but can take heart that many local legislatures and law enforcement officials have pledged to ignore or only partially enforce the NYS SAFE Act. Hopefully opposition will continue, the law will break down, and safety will be increased. But if he ever makes it to a larger political stage, please protect your community and your family and do not vote for Governor Cuomo.