Bail Reform in New York

01/23/2020 12:54 PM | Anonymous

Tim Andrews, At Large Director

We’re told, time and again, that Governor Cuomo’s gun control schemes are all about protecting New Yorkers. In fact, we’re told by Cuomo and his fellow gun grabbers in the legislature that it’s not about gun control - it’s about “gun safety.” Of course, we view it very differently; the only people safer as a result of Cuomo’s assault on the Second Amendment are criminals. A few examples: mass shooters love gun free zones; limits on magazine size are, again, advantage to the criminal. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Apparently, the safety of New Yorkers is no longer a priority. Last April the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo passed and signed into law bail reform legislation. Bail reform is a misnomer, it’s closer to eliminating bail altogether. To name a few crimes not subject to bail: making a terroristic threat, robbery, criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds, selling drugs on school grounds and promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child are all subject to appearance tickets, which do not require bail. A full list of offenses not requiring bail can be found at the end of this column.

An appearance ticket is like a traffic ticket, you’re issued a ticket and expected to show up in court on a specific date. Rest assured though, New York City has it covered. They will offer New York Mets and theater tickets to defendants if they show up for their court dates; what could go wrong there.

I’m reminded of my youth when I did something stupid and my father would ask, “What the hell were you thinking?” To our governor and our state legislature I ask, “What the hell were you thinking”?

The violent crime rate has consistently gone down over the last thirty years, and that has worked against the argument for more gun control. I’m beginning to think that gun control advocates want more crime, especially with guns, to help them advance their cause of controlling and disarming law-abiding Americans. I suppose that some might consider that cynical, but how else do you explain this insanity coming from Albany?

The governor’s plan becomes more obvious by the day, disarm law-abiding New Yorkers and put more criminals on the street. Thank you, governor, for not keeping us safe.

Effective January 1, 2020, crimes for which a defendant must be released from custody, without bail:

  • Burglary in the second degree (residential burglary) Burglary in the third degree
  • Robbery in the second degree (aided by another person) Robbery in the third degree
  • Manslaughter in the second degree
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide
  • Vehicular manslaughter in the first and second degrees
  • Assault in the third degree
  • Aggravated vehicular assault
  • Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old
  • Vehicular assault in the first and second degrees
  • Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds
  • Criminal possession of a firearm
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree
  • Criminal sale of a firearm to a minor
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and second degrees
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first and second degrees
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds
  • Use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child
  • Patronizing a person for prostitution in a school zone
  • Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child
  • Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child
  • Promoting a sexual performance by a child
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Bribery in the first degree
  • Bribe giving for public office
  • Bribe receiving in the first degree
  • Arson in the third and fourth degrees
  • Grand larceny in the first, second, third, and fourth degrees
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals
  • Over driving, torturing and injuring animals
  • Failure to provide proper sustenance to animals
  • Animal fighting
  • Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree
  • Coercion in the first degree
  • Criminal solicitation in the first degree
  • Criminal facilitation in the first degree
  •  Money laundering in support of terrorism in the third and fourth degrees 
  • Making a terroristic threat
  • Obstructing governmental administration in the first and second degree
  • Obstructing governmental administration by means of a self-defense spray device 
  •  Promoting prison contraband in the first and second degrees 
  • Resisting arrest 
  • Hindering prosecution 
  • Tampering with a juror 
  • Tampering with physical evidence 
  • Aggravated harassment in the first degree 
  • Directing a laser at an aircraft in the first degree 
  • Enterprise corruption
  • Money laundering in the first degree

The measures are the latest this year by Cuomo and the state Legislature to bolster gun-control laws in New York and build on the SAFE Act, approved in 2013.

"For too long gun violence has plagued communities across our nation and while the federal government turns a blind eye, New York continues leading the way forward to protect our families and our children," Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Expanding background waits

The expansion of the waiting period was among a half-dozen gun bills the Democrat-led Legislature approved in January.

The measure, supporters said, was spurred in part by a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, when the shooter was sold a gun through the system by error.

Current federal law requires gun dealers to conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check System check on a potential purchaser prior to selling a firearm. The check immediately provides the dealer with one of three possible notifications: "proceed," "denied," or "delayed." The new law, which takes effect in 45 days, applies to the cases in which when a request is "delayed." State law had required a dealer to wait three days before completing the sale, even though the FBI may still have been conducting a review of the customer's records.

The problem, lawmakers said, is that a sale can sometimes be completed before a person's review is finished and before the FBI rules a person is ineligible for a gun.

"This law will build on our already strong gun laws by ensuring that law enforcement has sufficient time to complete a background check without impinging on the rights of law-abiding citizens," Paulin, the bill's sponsor, said in a statement.

Banning Bump Stocks

The ban on bump stocks gained prominence after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people. The shooter used the device.

The devices have been deemed dangerous because they can essentially make semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, allowing shooters to fire ammunition faster than they could otherwise.

Since machine guns are already banned in New York, Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed in January to also ban bump stocks.

The law bans the possession, manufacture, transportation, shipment and sale of any items that accelerates the firing rate of firearms, rifles or shotguns.

"There is absolutely no need for military-grade weaponry on the streets nor homes of New York," said Sen. Luis Sepúlveda, D-Bronx, the bill's sponsor. 

A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

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