Complete list of Briefings
By Richard Rossi, Delaware County
I would like to bring to light an issue which has gone unnoticed, a process of our legal system that is and has been a well-kept secret; JURY NULLIFICATION.
Jury nullification occurs when a trial jury reaches a verdict that is contrary to the letter of the law because the jurors either: disagree with the law under which the defendant is prosecuted or believe that the law shouldn’t be applied in the case at hand.
If you have never heard the term Juror Nullification don't be surprised, it is NOT something that Judges, District Attorneys, and Prosecutors readily speak about to juries or Grand Juries. It is a way for citizens to defend against laws that are unconstitutional and infringe on our Rights and Freedoms. Jury Nullification may be the final peaceful barrier between law abiding gun owners and a tyrannical government dependent upon disarming honorable citizens.
However, to use it you must get on the jury. Therefore, when you get a jury duty notice, be grateful and appreciative. You have a tremendous responsibility which should not be taken lightly. Once on that Jury or Grand Jury you can nullify any and all laws that infringe our right to selfdefense of our loved ones and ourselves. Self-preservation is a natural instinct of human mankind and no government has the right to take that away from you.
A bit of history about “Jury Nullification”. Alexander Hamilton, an American Founder, said that Jurors should acquit even against the judge's instruction... "if exercising their judgment with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge of the court is wrong." One court later ruled, "If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused is unjust... or for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion, the jury has the power to acquit and the courts must abide by that decision - (U.S. V Moylan 427 F 2d 1002, 1006, 1969)
Reasoning jurors defend liberty when they refuse to convict fellow citizens who are maliciously accused of crimes. Reasoning jurors freed tax protesters during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, slaves under the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 and during Prohibition.
Who is the most powerful person(s) in a jury trial? Some might say the judge. However, it is the JURY. The Citizens that compose the jury are ultimately responsible for the guilt or innocence of the individual on trial. Judges may and do give you the law that pertains to a particular case and the prosecution may claim that they have made their case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, you, as the jury, decide the verdict.
The defense of our liberties happens at the ballot box, the soap box and the jury box. The founding Fathers (writers of our US Constitution), understood that power always corrupts and that people must retain and understand the various ways to defend oneself from one’s own government.
Let’s look at a modern-day case – Bernard Goetz. The jury defended Goetz’ Right of Self Defense with a firearm on the New York subway system against multiple attackers. The government accused Goetz of several crimes, but a jury of his peers refused to convict him of all but one crime, thus defending his right to defend himself. The jury acquitted Goetz because members of the jury understood their authority to judge the law and refused to apply laws that the government imposed.
Be aware that the chances of being punished for practicing Jury Nullification are remote, but possible. The law limits the courts' ability to inquire into jurors' motivations during or after a verdict. Jurors cannot be punished for their verdict, even if they reached it improperly. However, there could be legal consequences if it can be proved a juror violated an oath or on some technical legal grounds.
Juror nullification is your right to refuse to enforce bad laws and bad prosecutions. Nullification is your personal veto over corrupt laws from corrupt politicians with political agendas. In our system of checks and balances, you, the juror, are the final judge of law and justice. We can stand up for our Rights and Freedoms against our legislators and judges who dictate laws that are unjust. We can take back our justice system. We the jurors have the power... JURY NULLIFICATION.
As a Law-abiding gun owner or Concealed Carry Permit holder especially in New York State where our Second Amendment Rights are constantly being attacked and regulated to the point that the 2nd Amendment is just words with no meaning - this is an opportunity to shine. You can make the NYS SAFE Act into just words without power - just like they are attempting to do with our Second Amendment Rights and Freedoms.
As a side note, even if you are not a juror, you can be active; become a 'Court Watcher'. You have a right to attend most court trial functions. Just like the 'media' you can voice your opinions in your local papers in the letter to the editor sections. You can voice your agreement or disagreement with the results (verdict) and the actions of the court officials. We still have freedom of speech; the more individuals that are keeping a 'watchful eye' on our judicial process the better for all of us.
The same holds true for Town Meetings, School Board Meetings and 'Town Hall' events. When the public does not show up, it sends a message to our various boards that they can do as they please without and consequences. No one is watching or caring. Attend, be vocal and defend your convictions. You can make a difference.
You can learn more about this by visiting WWW.FIJA.ORG or calling 1-800-TEL-JURY to get more detailed information. I strongly suggest that you visit this site for informed citizens are what keeps our Government in check.
By Gene Nolan Chairman, Monroe County S.C.O.P.E. Chapter
Monroe County S.C.O.P.E. welcomed a 2nd Amendment Defense Attorney, and Michael Bezer, who works in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, to a recent meeting where they discussed home invasion. I thought it important to pass on a few of their more meaningful comments to all SCOPE members.
The attorney began the discussion by reviewing the NYS law as it applies to home invasion. Under the law, there are two justifiable reasons to kill someone: If you are in danger of being seriously injured or killed by that person; or If you are in your own home and are trying to stop a burglary (or arson) in progress. But there’s also a key, real-world element to such a defense; your actions must be reasonable. The “reasonableness standard” is determined on a case-by-case basis, which means that it’s typically up to grand juries or trial juries to determine if someone’s actions were reasonable.
Michael further explained the definition of burglary in NYS; a person is guilty of committing burglary in the third degree - the least of the burglary offenses - when he or she "knowingly enters or remains unlawfully" in a building with the intent to commit a crime therein.
Examples and scenarios were exchanged back and forth with the audience. The gist of which seemed to be that use of deadly force may well be legal, but it may come with severe consequences. If you shoot someone it is likely you will be arrested, spend some time in custody, lose your weapons for a period of time and spend a good amount of money on legal defense. Yes, you will be guilty until proven innocent. Yes, this in unconstitutional. Yes, this is reality. Life is messy. On the other hand, you will be alive to endure all this. You have a right to self defense if your life is threatened.
Multiple attendees asked what we should do in the event we shoot someone in our home in a home invasion. The answer was Call 911, Surrender Immediately upon the arrival of law enforcement (gun down, hands up), state your willingness to cooperate and make a statement as soon as your attorney is present.
Michael Bezer suggested we review the NY CJI Criminal Justice Instruction.
In Summary: 1
1. Avoid the situation if at all possible. If there is an escape route, take it.
2. If you are confronted with a threat to your life, your family’s life , then and only then use deadly force.
3. Shoot and keep shooting until the threat is completely immobilized.
4. Call 911, report a shooting – that’s all.
5. When police arrive - weapon down, hands up.
Cooperate fully with police BUT make NO statements until your attorney is present.
By Michael. A. Morrongiello, PhD
New York’s “Red Flag Law” is supposed to protect us from gun violence. Instead, it sets dangerous precedents that radically alter our judicial system and erode our individual rights.
The new law allows people to apply for an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO). To apply, a petitioner (someone who feels threatened) must ask a Supreme court judge to remove the lawfully possessed firearms of a respondent (the person accused of dangerousness). Here’s the definition (Sec. 630 -1):
“Extreme Risk Protection Order means a court-issued order of protection prohibiting a person from purchasing, possessing or attempting to purchase or possess a firearm, rifle or shotgun.”
It sounds good but the devil is in the details, and there are a lot of details. Who can ask for an ERPO? Law enforcement and school personnel, to name two…. but school personnel means just about everyone except the janitor and secretary (2- c).
“…..school teacher, school guidance counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, school nurse, school administrator or other school personnel required to hold a teaching license or certificate, and full or part-time compensated school employee required to hold a temporary coaching license or professional coaching certificate.”
No experience in threat assessment is necessary; if you feel threatened you can apply.
Family members can petition too, but the definition is broad and comes from NYS Social Services law (459-A). It includes married or divorced persons, parents not married who have children in common. And it includes persons who have had an: “intimate relationship…..regardless of whether a relationship is sexual in nature or frequency of interaction between the persons; and the duration of the relationship.”
You can imagine the potential flood of petitions from people who are duking it out in divorce court.
Also included are, “any other category of individuals deemed to be victims of domestic violence…...”
The law empowers the following organizations,
“Residential programs for victims of domestic violence,” “Domestic violence shelters,” “Domestic violence programs,” and finally “Non-residential program for victims of domestic violence.”
A firearms owner who has gone on a date or had a brief relationship can be accused. What does “deemed to be a victim of domestic violence” mean, and who does the deeming?
The confiscation of rights and guns begins (S. 6341).
“In accordance with this article, a petitioner may file a sworn application, and accompanying supporting documentation, setting forth the facts and circumstances justifying the issuance of an extreme risk protection order….Such application form shall include inquiry as to whether the petitioner knows, or has reason to believe, that the respondent owns, possesses or has access to a firearm…..”
If the court deems the accused a risk, they will issue a temporary ERPO. The accused need not be present. You can be denounced as a “potential” murderer and not even be present to defend yourself. In legal language this is known as “exparte” (S 6342-1). Judges have historically avoided this, until now.
“….the court may issue a temporary extreme risk protection order, ex-parte or otherwise, to prohibit the respondent from purchasing, possessing or attempting to purchase or possess a firearm…….upon finding that there is probable cause to believe the respondent is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to himself, herself or others…..”
The judge is now a mind reader. The phrase, “likely to engage in conduct...” turns American justice inside out. Now the accused, instead of being innocent until proven guilty, is assumed guilty. The accused does not face his accuser, shifting the entire process. Will the accused have to answer the question, “When did you stop being a menace to society?” This is as totalitarian as it gets.
The court may consider the following (S 6342 2 a,b,c,d,e,f,g):
"In determining whether grounds for a temporary extreme risk protection order exist, the court shall consider any relevant factors including but not limited to, the following acts of the respondent: (a) a threat or act of violence or use of physical force directed toward self, the petitioner, or another person; (b) a violation or alleged violation of an order of protection; (c) any pending charge or conviction for an offense involving the use of a weapon; (d) the reckless use, display or brandishing of a firearm, rifle or shotgun; (e) any history of a violation of an extreme risk protection order; (f) evidence of recent or ongoing abuse of controlled substances or alcohol; or (g) evidence of a recent acquisition of a firearm, rifle, shotgun or other deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or any ammunition therefore."
Each of acts A thru F already violates the law, and results in a denial of purchase on the NICS Federal database and the arrest and removal of a person’s weapons under existing NYS law. Then, “the court shall consider any relevant factors,” a gaping hole that any judge can use to deny a constitutional right. The purchase of ammunition six months prior to the petition fits the definition of “recent.” A lawful gun owner is now a suspect. An “alleged violation of an order of protection” is a reason to grab the accused’s guns. Alleged by whom and substantiated by what?
The gun removal standard is frighteningly low. Note the language in S. 6342 3.
"The application of the petitioner and supporting documentation, if any, shall set forth the factual basis for the request and probable cause for issuance of a temporary order. The court may conduct an examination under oath of the petitioner and any witnesses the petitioner may produce."
What is the supporting documentation, “if any”, to have someone deemed a threat? Then note that the court “may” examine the petitioner and any witnesses under oath, not shall but may: advantage accuser— disadvantage gun owner.
If the judge grants a temporary ERPO, a horde of locked and loaded police will serve the order and confiscate the accused’s guns, creating an unwarranted risk for all. He must provide a list of all of his guns to the authorities (S. 6342 4, iii, e). The hearing to determine if the order should be permanent is scheduled in 3 to 6 business days. The law mandates a quick pace, but what government agency moves rapidly? The judicial calendar is already swamped. The accused is advised that he “may” need an attorney. “May?”
If the court does not grant the temporary ERPO, the hearing still goes forward, unless the petitioner withdraws the accusation (6342 5).
“If the application for a temporary extreme risk protection order is not granted, the court shall notify the petitioner and unless the application is voluntarily withdrawn by the petitioner, nonetheless schedule a hearing on the final extreme risk protection order.”
The court then informs every law enforcement agency involved in the temporary order, including the FBI (7 (a) (b)). The accused’s reputation is damaged.
At the hearing the burden now shifts to the accuser, who must prove the accused is a threat. The court will be cautious; it will scrutinize the accused, and likely terminate his rights to err on the side of caution. Never mind the legal smokescreen of a “civil” proceeding; the criminal implications are massive and life-altering. The respondent stands accused of (maybe) joining the ranks of humanity’s lowest scum— a murderer or worse, a mass murderer. Then there’s the matter of expense. Attorneys cost, and the respondent may also have to hire an expert. What if the accused can’t afford a lawyer, let alone an expert? People on the lower end of the economic spectrum will at a major disadvantage.
“At the hearing pursuant to subdivision one in this section, the petitioner shall have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to himself or others...”
If the order is made permanent, the police takes the accused’s firearms. The court will also notify all involved law enforcement agencies. If the court does not find sufficient cause to make the order permanent, then the firearms are returned.
This will only affect lawful gun owners. Criminals need not worry - they will still be able to get guns.
In the movie Minority Report, citizens are arrested before they commit a crime because three psychics can predict what they will do. But in New York State, our unique Constitutional rights hinge on the opinion of one lawyer in black robes peering into the human heart to predict the future.
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:
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.
By Bill Fox Chairman Genesee County SCOPE Chapter
It’s important to understand the mentality of those on the left who oppose the 2nd Amendment. Toward that end, on July 29th, Genesee County SCOPE members attended a town meeting sponsored by Congressman Joe Morelle, in Irondequoit. Two members were able to get inside while two more remained outside and were seen on TV. The crowd was heavily anti-2nd Amendment.
Joe Morelle is an anti-2nd Amendment Congressman who claims to have never shot a firearm, (which, of course, makes him an “expert” on the subject). He supports background checks, banning assault weapons, and red flag laws and is against concealed carry laws. It should be noted that there were seven police officers there; all armed. But, the hypocrisy of that was unmentioned by the congressman.
Morelle was asked if he knew what the 2nd amendment was about and he responded that the militia were from the 1700’s and currently not used. Obviously, he is not familiar with SCOTUS’ Heller and McDonald decisions.
Amazingly, he wants to bring back the expired assault weapons ban which was not renewed since it was shown to be ineffective. But hey, nothing like passing an ineffective law to get your anti-2A credentials punched.
Morelle wants to “Harden” gun shops with more inspections and hire more ATF agents. Presumably, he does not want any of the new hires going anywhere near our southern border with Mexico. Probably a good thing since there may be left over “Fast and Furious” guns from the Obama administration still around to be used against ATF agents.
Morelle said, “Even if you support the 2nd amendment, children should not be killed”; obviously looking for sympathy votes. Genesee County SCOPE chair Bill Fox responded, “Why are you murdering babies then?”.
A few of the pro 2A people shouted that the SAFE Act has made criminal felons of us.
It’s interesting that the forum was held in Irondequoit, rather than the city of Rochester, which is in Morelle’s district, and where the majority of the crime occurs. The new City of Rochester Police Chief was present, but questions were blocked regarding crime issues. There was an attempt to discuss the causes and effects of black crime but that was branded as “racist”; the usual way Democrats avoid discussing unpleasant (to them) issues.
A Monroe County SCOPE member offered to bring Morelle to a firing range to learn how to use a gun and shoot. No one is holding their breath until that occurs. The congressman would not want to become familiar with things about which he is legislating.
One woman commented that the common denominator is that the gun is the last one to ask questions. (Whatever that means?) She feels that all guns should be banned and none should be possessed. (That ol’ Constitution is such a hindrance to deep thinkers, like her, on the left.)
Joe feels that universal background checks will fix all the gun violence. Does he also believe that if he leaves a tooth under his pillow the Tooth Fairy will leave a dollar?
Monroe County chapter will continue to publicize Morelle’s (mis)understanding of gun laws.
It’s frightening to observe, first hand, the total lack of understanding about the 2nd Amendment and the hypocrisy of the left.
By Harold Moskowitz
In the thirteen colonies, as in England, all free men were entitled to keep arms. All able-bodied men in the colonies were expected to use those arms as members of the local militia when mustered in defense of the community. Without that tradition of personal firearm ownership, the successful revolt for independence from Great Britain could not have been possible. It is true that much aid was supplied by France, Spain, and Holland. However, those nations resisted getting involved until colonial military success could be demonstrated on the battlefield. At the onset, colonial farmers may have lacked the skills of military drill but knew how to accurately fire their muskets, fowling pieces, and hunting “long rifles” against British regulars and hired Hessian mercenaries.
Having succeeded in winning independence from the British Empire, the leaders of the new nation wrote the Articles of Confederation as their constitution. Under it, during the “Critical Period” (1781-1789), the former colonies became sovereign states loosely cooperating in a confederation. The central government was given almost no power. In particular, it had neither the power to tax nor the power to raise an armed force to maintain “domestic tranquility.”
The states held government powers which in our present Constitution are delegated to the national government. Under the Articles of Confederation, only states taxed their people and could muster a state militia to put down threats to life, property, or the civil society.
Considering that British tax policies were a major cause of the Revolution, it is perhaps ironic that the first armed citizen revolt was triggered by taxes. Massachusetts farmers such as Daniel Shays were subsistence farmers growing basically just enough to provide enough annual family food with a little extra for use as payment for goods and services in a barter system.
Credit payments and state real estate taxes could only be paid with gold or silver coins. Shays and his neighbors were saddled with bank loans. In addition, Massachusetts took land taxes equaling about one-third of their total yearly income. State courts foreclosed on the farmers leaving many homeless and without any means of support. Many were still waiting for promised payment for their military service during the Revolution. Since they were now debtors for non-payment of bank loans or state taxes, they faced being sentenced to spend years in the hellish conditions of debtors’ prison.
In 1786, Daniel Shays, a former captain in the Revolutionary War, became a major leader in an armed revolt triggered by Massachusetts tax policies. Western Massachusetts farmers demanded tax policy reforms. After years of poor harvests and low crop prices, they wanted lower taxes and the printing of more state-issued paper currency. The state legislature had suspended tax collections for the previous year but now required immediate full payment of all owed taxes. Shays and his followers protested at state courthouses. Their actions prevented the collection of taxes.
News of the tax protests spread to other states. George Washington was disturbed by them and wrote to a friend that: “commotions of this sort, like snow-balls, gather strength as they roll, if there is no opposition in the way to divide and crumble them.” Under the Articles of Confederation the national government had no power to act.
In December, 1786, Massachusetts Governor James Bowdoin mobilized a 1,200-man militia paid for by private merchants to stop the tax revolt. In January, 1787, Shays’ band of farmers attacked the federal armory at Springfield. The attack on the armory failed due to the state militia’s use of artillery against the attackers. Four of the rebels were killed and twenty of them were injured.
Many of the rebelling farmers scattered into the countryside ending the tax rebellion. Four thousand men signed confessions stating their participation. They were given amnesty. Several hundred were indicted at a later date on charges related to the revolt. Most of those indicted were pardoned but eighteen, including Shays, were sentenced to death for treason. Two of them were hanged for thievery. The rest were pardoned, had their convictions overturned on appeal, or had their sentences commuted. Daniel Shays had fled to Vermont where he lived the life of a fugitive in a forest. He was pardoned in 1788, and moved to Conesus, New York, where he lived in poverty until his death in 1825.
The “threat” posed by Shays’ Rebellion convinced George Washington to leave retirement to get back into public service. According to Robert Longly of “Thought Co” which is part of the Dotdash publishing family, Thomas Jefferson was not frightened by the armed uprising. His belief was that it was important for liberty that there be a rebellion from time to time. Longly states that in a letter from Jefferson to U.S. Representative William Stephens Smith dated Nov.13, 1787, Jefferson wrote: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
Although Shays’ Rebellion was easily ended, it was a catalyst which prompted men of wealth and property to push for a constitutional convention. Their goal was to create a stronger central government than what existed under the Articles of Confederation. They feared that asmaller state than Massachusetts might not have been able to stop such a revolt before it was able to spread to other states. From their perspective, the national government needed to be strong enough to protect order and stability for commerce as well as for protection of life and property.
Despite the fears raised by this grassroots rebellion against unfair court practices and high taxes (four times higher than New Hampshire), the Founders still believed that the right of free men to keep and bear arms was essential for the constitutional republic which they had created only months after the rebellion was quashed. Four years after this revolt by angry and scared farmers, the Second Amendment was enshrined in our Bill of Rights for the prevention of oppressive government and tyranny, as well as for personal defense. Today, an armed populace still has a better chance of remaining a free populace.
By William R Fox Sr, Chairman SCOPE Genesee County
Genesee County S.C.O.P.E. has worked on Second Amendment issues with our county sheriff and our county legislators since the end of 2018. As Chairman, I reached out to our county sheriff in December of 2018; we had heard what was coming out of Albany with the Red Flag Law, the so-called safe storage law, and the many other laws that were eventually voted through both houses without much significant opposition.
We decided that we wanted to start playing offense, for once, instead of constantly playing defense.
After much discussion, we finally got a meeting with the sheriff as well as others in his office and showed him all the bills that, at that time, were on the docket to be voted on. He said that he didn’t agree with most of them. What we really wanted was for him to say that he didn’t and wouldn’t agree with the Red Flag law.
While I was trying to set up the sheriff’s attendance at our May meeting, the Red Flag Law passed, along with others. The sheriff told me that he was still Second Amendment friendly, but he felt that the Red Flag Law would be a good thing; it would help them arrest people that needed to be arrested and to get guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was - as was the rest of our chapter - and I let him know that.
The sheriff did come to our May meeting where he tried to explain his point of view and then we, in turn, gave him ours. He basically said that he will still pursue getting guns out of the hands of people when the judge decides there is a good reason that they should not have them. He told us that the sheriff’s department has had good luck, in the past, going to the house and talking to people; giving them the option to give their guns to a family member or to just give them to the sheriff until they can decide whether this person should or should not have them.
Again, we tried to explain to him that No Due Process is the whole problem with this law. He said that it really isn’t any different than getting a court order from the judge and, again, I told him that we do not need another law if we already have one.
The chapter brought a lot of points against his decision to be on board with this law.
Accompanying this article, you will see two letters: one that we wrote to the sheriff highlighting our meeting with him; and a second letter to our county legislators, state officials and our county clerk. We have put them on notice that we will be watching to see where this goes.
f you haven’t already had a discussion with your county sheriff, I suggest that you do so because we are running out of options to defeat these unconstitutional laws.
To all Genesee County Legislators, Genesee County Clerk and State officials:
S.C.O.P.E. Genesee County invited County Sheriff William Sheron to our meeting in May, and as you can see by our enclosed letter, we have some serious concerns. We brought them forward to the Sheriff, and his responses are included in the said letter.
We need to be vigilant in protecting the sovereignty that our forefathers have given us and so greatly sacrificed for. It is not the government’s job to be regulating“the right to bear arms”, as protected, not granted, by the 2nd Amendment.
The Red Flag Law, aka “extreme risk protection order law” is an extremely slippery slope for our country to be headed down. We do have a problem in society, for sure, but it is a moral and ethical problem that can and should be prevented and addressed from within one’s family circle with attentiveness and discipline.
Our organization has been working very hard to try and educate both lawmakers and citizens about these unconstitutional laws coming out of the NY City controlled Albany.
We have a real problem with the Sheriff’s stance on these issues, as he feels that there is enough “due process” built into the system to protect ones rights. His process for gun confiscation isn’t any different than what we had before, and he has that oversight, but our real issue is that if due process was really contained within these older laws, why do we need another law?
This law (ERPO) also allows for a family member, neighbor, teacher, misinformed or vengeful person to anonymously report, without due cause, and request the confiscation of one’s firearms prior to an official arrest or hearing before a judge in a timely manner.
The bottom line is that our constitution is being abandoned as officials see fit. When is it going to be enough that we put a stop to law abiding citizens having their rights taken away in the name of safety and security, when criminals don’t obey these laws anyway? As we brought to the Sheriff’s attention, he knows well that there have been criminals since the beginning of time, and there will be well after we have all left this life.
We have sent you this letter to make you aware that the people for whom you work will be watching to see that people’s rights are protected, not violated, because of what someone may erroneously may say or do.
We ask you, our elected officials, to be the men and women who will valiantly stand in the gap and protect the Constitution as well as the God given rights of your constituents.
William Fox, Chapter Chair SCOPE Genesee County
To Sheriff William Sheron:
Thank you being our guest speaker at the Genesee County chapter of SCOPE on May 15th. We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to address the concerns of our members and affiliated associations regarding the numerous pending and enacted new gun laws in New York State. Listed below is a summary of our concerns that were discussed:
• It’s not just a 2nd amendment infringement, but also now the 1 st, 3rd, 4th and 5th. We look to you as being responsible for protecting our constitutional rights as the highest ranking law enforcement official in our county, state and country.
• Due process should be enacted within a reasonable amount of time, i.e. 24 hours, prior to confiscation of a citizen’s guns, a fundamental constitutional right.
• Taking the firearms from a “threatening person” then leaving that person in the home or neighborhood without immediately addressing the situation with a judge may leave them even more agitated and aggravated; hence, creating a bigger threat.
• Care should be taken in the handling of the guns if taken by authorities, noting that they are personal and expensive property.
• Safe return of the confiscated firearms to the original owner(s) within a reasonable period of time, i.e. 24 hours, not 3 months.
• Family members, i.e. husbands and wives, who own their own individual guns and having both parties’ guns taken, even if only one member is formally arrested; co-ownership issues.
• The SAFE Act restricts the transfer of firearms to other people without going through licensed dealers, except for transfers to spouses or children.
• The word "transfer" in the SAFE Act applies only to a change of ownership of the weapon and not giving it to somebody to hold for a period of time, i.e. family member, while the original owner retains “ownership”.
• Guarantee that there will be no violation of our search and seizure rights by the authorities, State Troopers, Sheriffs or police, by going door to door to confiscate their personal property, i.e. firearms.
• “Mandatory reporting” in effect for teachers and administrators; handled internally and reports not forwarded to the outside law enforcement due to the “black eye” effect.
• Ammo purchases under the new safe storage act are now in violation. • Youth trap leagues are in jeopardy.
• Gun raffles will not be allowed for First Responders, Firemen, to raise funds to purchase necessary medical equipment, trucks, training; increased tax burden to citizens.
• What will happen if we get an anti-gun or unsupportive sheriff or judge in the position? This process has been started by the current officials, and there won’t be any turning back.
• Aren't there enough laws on the books already? When will enough be enough of infringing on the law abiding citizen's rights?
• When will you take a stand against these unconstitutional laws?
The following is a summary of what we understand to be your interpretation and understanding of the SAFE Act, Red Flag Law and other NYS laws that have come into effect. We also interpret this as how you plan to move forward with these laws.
• There is ample due-process protections built into the current law, and it isn't any different than police obtaining a warrant to search or seize property.
• The person who must give up their guns is entitled to a hearing within three to six days (incorrect --10 days) and can appeal any subsequent ruling to a higher court.
• It is a useful tool for local law enforcement to help ensure that people who are a threat don't have easy access to firearms.
• When police are dealing with a person who may be a threat to himself or others, it is best for a friend or family member to take possession of their firearms for safekeeping until things cool down, or when the person is under less stress… still the default option for deputies. Sheriffs’ practice of letting a friend or family member take temporary possession of firearms violates the SAFE Act.
"The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot thus be converted into a crime." ". . .there can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights." ... For it is a felony and federal crime to violate or deprive citizens of their constitutionally protected rights. Mar 27, 2009.
William R Fox Sr, Chairman SCOPE Genesee County
By Tom Reynolds, Treasurer
Last Spring, I walked through a Civil War cemetery and was struck by the number of graves labeled “Unknown”. Over 150 years ago, those men fought and were amongst the 600,000 that died in that war. Presumably, most of them were young and had not begun to enjoy the many blessings of the life that stretched out in front of them. Now, their dreams, hopes and ambitions are known only to God. But those dreams were real to them and they were willing to forfeit those dreams and give up their lives for their country. They never new what the America they were fighting for would become and its irreplaceable contribution to the betterment of the world. They only knew what it was and that it was worth fighting for.
Why are people willing to fight and die for their country? One reason is because we are the product of the stories and history of the Americans that preceded us. Those stories and that history give us reasons to stand up and fight for our country.
Those that died in the Civil War would have grown up on tales of George Washington, Daniel Boone, Andrew Jackson and the heroes of the Alamo. They were taught to respect and to emulate heroic actions and they believed in the promise of America. My parents’ generation fought World War II, where 400,000 Americans died. I grew up in a culture that promoted love and devotion for America while hearing veterans speak of their experiences and sacrifices.
Without an historical foundation, which teaches love of country as well as the blessings of being an American, it becomes easy to reject American values and uniqueness. That’s why the current fad of destroying our historical figures is so dangerous. Without their examples to guide us, it’s easy to be self-centered and provides a ready excuse for tearing down the very essence of America; our traditions, heritage and Constitution.
Some try to use slavery to de -legitimatize everything that happened during the first “four score and seven years” of America. Slavery was indeed a blight on our heritage, but it was also bitterly opposed by many Americans during those years and, eventually, hundreds of thousands gave up their lives to end it. My point being, there is more to those stories that attempt to delegitimize America than just the headline.
For example, the anti-Americans would paint George Washington solely as a slave owner. He was. And if you have read about his life, you know that as a young man he was extremely ambitious and not always in good ways. But he was also so much, much more.
Forget his time as the commanding general of the continental army and his time as president, where his judgment and leadership made him one of the icons of history. Forget his willing to sacrifice; had he lost the war, he would have lost everything (think Mount Vernon where he was one of the richest men in America). Forget that he had the courage to risk execution as a traitor to England – he was that– if he had lost the Revolutionary War. (Remember the execution scene at the end of “Braveheart” - that’s what England did to traitors.) There were two events in his life that should inspire Americans as to what’s best in us and provide powerful reminders of what our history really is.
At the end of the Revolutionary War, Washington was the most powerful and popular man in America and could easily have been made king; he had the army behind him, something that dictators throughout history have found irresistible. But instead, he resigned his commission, gave up physical control of the military, rejected any formal political position and retired to private life. Later, he gave up a very enjoyable private life when drafted to serve as our first president. After eight years, he gave up what would have been a lifetime position; he turned over the power of the presidency to others.
Washington’s mortal enemy King George III, the man who would have executed Washington as a traitor, said that if Washington gave up control of the army after the Revolutionary War, he would be “…the greatest man in the world”; sounds like he was more than just a slaveholder.
The historical foundation that Washington gave us served as an unofficial guideline for America and must not be forgotten: that all Americans are citizens where some are called to temporary duty in leadership positions and that they will eventually give up those positions; and that even the most irreplaceable amongst us can be replaced. Thanks to Washington’s example, in 230 years the only military coup we had was the Civil War. Thanks to Washington’s example, only two presidents have ever attempted to cross the out-of-bounds that Washington set about a third term. (By-the-way, both were named Roosevelt.)
If Washington is only remembered as a slave holder, the anti-Americans will have succeeded in invalidating his other achievements. On a larger scale, if they can tarnish enough of our history, they can bring down the Constitution and thus bring down America.
Why fight and possibly die for the America they want us to picture? Why obey a Constitution that judges and other government officials are sworn to preserve protect and defend but ignore when it meets their personal political needs? Why submit to the will of the electorate and the guidelines of the Constitution when the bureaucracy can attempt to overthrow the election if a president they don’t like? Why allow free speech, just because it’s constitutional, when the speech is contrary to your beliefs? Why allow people to have guns just because the Constitution says it’s their right? Why believe in the traditional, religious, moral values that have been at the basis of America’s growth if you can convince people that America is a nation of gun-toters, white supremacists, sexists, racists, etc?
We know that America is not what the anti-Americans would have us believe and it is worth preserving, protecting and defending. We cannot sit idly by while our youth and culture are poisoned by Hollywood, the liberal educational system and main stream media.
I was talking with a Baptist Minister about the many ways that the government is pushing religion and traditional religious values out of American lives. We both were unhappy about that direction but I theorized that, perhaps, this is God’s plan to test us; we had become dependent upon the government to push our religious values and this change puts the onus back on our shoulders, where it belongs. We can’t depend on the government to do what we should be doing. We’ll have to step up.
In much the same way, our culture, media and educational system formerly pointed out the many good things about America. They do the opposite now and it’s back on our shoulders to do something to preserve our constitution and values. If we sit idly by while doing nothing and only complaining, we will lose the essence that made America great and the world would have lost its “last best hope”. It’s time to fight back and remind people of what’s good about America. We’re not perfect but we’re a damn sight better than whatever is in second place.
By Tom Reynolds
New York State’s Attorney General has branded the NRA as a Domestic Terrorist Organization; however, this is just political “sticks and stones” since it has no legal authority. But never to be outdone, San Francisco took it a bit further and passed a resolution declaring the NRA as a “Domestic Terrorist Organization”. Since many SCOPE members are also NRA members, this raises some interesting possibilities.
If an NRA member was on an airplane flight that landed in San Francisco, could that person be arrested as a domestic terrorist? After all, members of a Domestic Terrorist Organization are, by definition, themselves terrorists. I doubt this will happen though, because the ensuing lawsuit against San Francisco would be counted in millions of dollars.
If someone had the time and viewed it as a potential investment in winning a multi-million dollar lawsuit - as well as a chance for nationwide celebrity on Fox News -they could fly to San Francisco wearing clothes with the NRA logo displayed prominently – and perhaps wearing a MAGA hat – and carrying your NRA membership card! (But without a weapon.) Then, go to city hall, still wearing your NRA clothes, and demand to speak with the mayor. Or better yet, petition to conduct an NRA rally in San Francisco. Or even better, have a San Francisco resident try to speak to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors during the public comment section before the meeting while wearing the NRA logo. Will it get someone arrested as a Domestic Terrorist? I’ll bet lawyers would be lined up around the block to take your case.
Obviously, I am being sarcastic (in case you didn’t pick up on that) but ask yourself why did San Francisco do something meaningless like this, besides getting their ultra-liberal credentials checked. It’s like many other laws passed at the state and federal level; they know the law won’t work but they can say that they did something.
When Ronald Reagan was president, he was severely criticized by the main stream media for not reaching an arms agreement – any arms agreement – with the Soviet Union during his first term. After all, his predecessor presidents had gone panting after any agreement they could possibly get, even though the agreements were largely without substance. But Reagan was willing to hold out for meaningful agreements that accomplished something. Was Reagan or the main stream media right? Try finding the Soviet Union on a current world map for the answer.
In fairness to San Francisco, they do pass some laws that have had a meaningful result; one can now defecate on San Francisco’s streets without fear of punishment. Reports say that there is a significant amount of human waste now accumulating and - I hope - being collected.
Imagine a place where you can get a ticket for not picking up your dog feces but not your own. (No, officer, that was me not my dog!)
Imagine a place where you can get fast food in a Styrofoam container with a plastic fork and in a plastic bag or on a plastic tray but would get a ticket if you had a plastic straw.
Imagine a place where local authorities would not hand over to federal authorities a murderer / rapist solely because he was in the country illegally.
By the way, no NRA (or SCOPE) member has ever been responsible for a mass shooting. It is factually accurate to point out that gun owners are amongst the most law-abiding American citizens; gun owners have to be certified by the federal government as law abiding citizens in order to buy a gun! You don’t need that certification to get a driver’s license, a high school or college diploma, vote in an election or get welfare. In fact, you can enter the USA illegally and do all of the above in San Francisco.
- Attilio Contini, Ulster County
It has been said, ”The battle ground to save our 2nd Amendment Rights is now in the Courts”. Here in New York State that is an understatement, to say the least. At the time of the passage of the SAFE ACT, we still had some checks and balances, which lasted until election day 2018. No more! With the New York City Democrats getting full and complete control of the State Government all is lost. But we cannot and must not
Some people think the Courts may be our savior and last resort. I, for one, have little confidence in the Judicial System protecting our 2nd Amendment Rights. We may get a small bone here and there, but at the end of the day we will find the Courts will let us down for various reasons. First and foremost; here in NYS the judicial system at the Appeals level is packed with Cuomo appointed liberal judges. Yes, they took an oath to support and defend our Constitution. So did our elected Assemblymen, Senators, and the Governor. Violating that oath means nothing to them! The crime is that we let them get away with it!
Second, we will have to file law suits to bring challenges of unjust laws into court. Who will do that and where will the money come from? This cost will be beyond most people and organizations financial ability.
Third and most critical, our Governing process has deteriorated and it has evolved to where the control and power are centralized with bureaucrats in Albany and Washing-
ton. Unelected bureaucrats have more control of the governing process than our elected officials. Unfortunately, over the years the courts have a history of favoring big government and catering to the “wisdom” of these bureaucrats.
We are losing more than just our gun rights and we had better face up to that reality. It took a lot of courage, determination, and hard fighting for our forefathers to win our
freedom. They rallied to the cause and sacrificed life, wealth, and comfort to throw off tyranny and give us the greatest and freest country in the world. They set up a constitution and government that, if practiced properly, would assure our freedom
and liberty. Why are we letting it slip away? Because the tyrants have worked long and hard to take that away from us and, make no mistake, they are succeeding. They are using our government to strip us of our Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Republican form of Government.
Watergate is a dirty word for most of us but it was the result of more than just a power-hungry Nixon. His removal from office hurt this Country more than most of us
realize. Watergate prompted the creation of the Independent Council which insulated the permanent, unelected insiders from political and executive control. Today, our judicial system is being used to hound and force our duly elected President, who has done nothing wrong, out of office. Our Governor is using State agencies and eventually the Courts to blackmail the Banking and Insurance industry into doing his dirty work, or else.
During the Campaign Trump talked about “Draining the Swamp”. The swamp saw that as a direct threat, so the Democrats initiated the “Collusion Investigation” to keep Trump from being elected. It did not work. They continue trying to remove him from office, even today, which robs us of our constitutional right to elect our political leaders.
In all this, Congress has forgotten its ability to properly legislate and seems to have become an investigative arm of a government that is unanswerable to the people. It
will be interesting to see how this plays out. Trump is trying to replace the top officials in the various agencies with people who would clean up the mess. The insiders shield the Democrats from persecution but go after Trump with a vengeance.
Today, here in NYS, the Democrats are going wild in their drive to disarm all law-abiding citizens. Our only recourse seems to be to go to court to preserve our Rights.
I am afraid the Cuomo appointed judges will not decide in our favor. We could be a giant but we are, instead, a sleeping giant. Unless we can find a way to wake up, defend our rights, and motivate ourselves and others to action, we will lose all
our Constitutional Rights forever!
A 2nd Amendment Defense
Organization, defending the
rights of New York State gun
owners to keep and bear arms!
PO Box 165East Aurora, NY 14052
SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.
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