America's First Freedom - February 2014 - 36

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

"No."
"That's
good," he
said, looking
relieved.
I understood
his concern.
Thumbhole
stocks, under
the safe
Act, have
the potential to turn an otherwise legal
firearm into a banned "assault weapon."
A wide range of guns lawfully acquired
and possessed before the safe Act was
passed will now become contraband
unless registered by April 15, 2014.
I left the store pondering this law's
absurdities and infringements on
a constitutionally protected right.
Other such ill-conceived laws have
been hastily passed in Connecticut,
Maryland and Colorado. The point
is, even if you're not a New Yorker
you need to know about such laws
because similar bad legislation might be
introduced soon in your state. To keep
you informed, here's what New York's
safe Act has wrought-and what's
being done about it.
RAMMED THROUGH New York
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wanted to
be first. He wanted the "toughest
gun-control laws in the nation." He
wanted to use the horror from Sandy
Hook Elementary to massively restrict
the constitutional rights of citizens
who live in New York. He knew he
couldn't afford time for debate.
And he got his way. The hastily
written safe Act passed the New York
Senate on Jan. 14, 2013, and the State
Assembly the very next day. Cuomo
signed the bill into law just a half-hour
after it passed the legislature.
The next Saturday, Jan. 19, thousands
of protesters, who hadn't been able to
be heard before the passage, gathered in
Albany, the state's capital. The pushback
has since been unprecedented. At least
52 of New York's 62 counties passed
official resolutions in direct opposition
of the ny safe Act. Some law
enforcement officials even publicly
stated they would not enforce the safe
Act because of its unconstitutionality.
34

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More than 325 local municipalities
throughout New York voiced public
opposition to the law.
The New York State Sheriffs'
Association issued a letter criticizing
the law. For example, the sheriffs
said, "The new definition of 'assault
weapons' is too broad, and prevents the
possession of many weapons that are
legitimately used for hunting, target
shooting and self defense." Dozens of
organizations, including sportsmen's
clubs, the American Legion, the New
York State Association of County
Clerks, the New York State Association
of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services,
the New York State Conservation
Council, the u.s. Department of
Veterans Affairs and others publicly
criticized the law.
If the breadth of this opposition
from New Yorkers surprises you, it's
worth noting that New York isn't all
skyscrapers and Manhattan scenes
from old "Seinfeld" episodes. By size,
the state of New York is 30th among
the 50 states. By population, it is third.
By population density, it is seventh.
In 2012, New York's state population
was estimated to be 19.5 million, of
which 8.3 million live in New York
City. That means 42 percent of the
state's population lives in New York
City (nyc). Millions more live in
the metropolitan areas around nyc,
anchoring New York in deep blue
political waters. But upstate New York
is different. Gun ownership there is very
common, and more than 581,000 New
York residents hunt deer each year.
Cuomo rushed the safe Act
through because he didn't want
opposition from upstate, as well as
from a lot of freedom-loving citizens
in the downstate metropolitan areas,
to galvanize. Instead of looking for
real solutions by getting recommendations
from police, citizens and crime experts
on how the state could better stop
bad guys from committing violent
crime, he arrogantly shoved an
ideological, anti-gun-rights package
through the legislature. As a result,
some of the mistakes in the law have
already required amendments and
postponements, while many others
are clearly unconstitutional.

February 2014

FIRST, A MOUTHFUL OF THE
ABSURD Cuomo passed the ny
safe Act so fast he didn't know his
magazine-size restriction made no
sense, as many popular pistols don't
even have magazines available that
hold only seven rounds. In his haste,
he even neglected to realize the law,
as passed, barred police officers from
carrying their usual sidearms. The
legislature later passed an exception
for law enforcement. If Cuomo had
simply asked a gun owner or police
officer, he could have saved himself,
if not from this wrongheaded policy,
at least from public embarrassment.
Cuomo also had to allow citizens
to buy magazines that can hold
10 rounds. Not doing so would be
a de facto ban on the use of many
commonly owned pistols. In d.c.
v. Heller (2008), the u.s. Supreme
Court reaffirmed that the Second
Amendment protects commonly
owned firearms. So Cuomo et. al.
tweaked the law to allow New
York residents to have 10-round
magazines, but stipulated they
could only load seven rounds into
a magazine unless it is being used
at an incorporated firing range or
competition, in which case it may
be loaded to its full capacity. (This
flippant treatment of equal protection
under the law is being challenged.)
Cuomo and the legislators who
voted for the safe Act also didn't
realize they couldn't legally piggyback
background checks for those who
want to purchase ammo onto the
FBI's National Instant Criminal
Background Check System (nics).
In fact, Larry Keane, general counsel
for the National Shooting Sports
Foundation (nssf), says that's not
even legal under federal law. Without
any system in place to make people
undergo background checks every
time they need a box of shotgun shells
or rifle cartridges, Cuomo has had to
postpone implementation of that part
of the law.
NOW SOME OF THE
CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS
The safe Act's many constitutional
infringements are outlined in a legal



America's First Freedom - February 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - February 2014

America's First Freedom - February 2014 - 1
America's First Freedom - February 2014 - 2
America's First Freedom - February 2014 - 3
America's First Freedom - February 2014 - 4
America's First Freedom - February 2014 - 5
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