• 07/25/2018 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    By Don Smith

    The handgun license you obtained, oh those many years ago, with the recognition that it was valid for your lifetime has now been reduced to a FIVE [5] YEAR permit. NY State now requires “license holders to re-certify their status every five years”. That's right, you must now RENEW your pistol permit EVERY FIVE [5] YEARS or face revocation [permanent] of the license. 

    All thanks to Mr. Cuomo and his so-called “S.A.F.E”. Act. This "Act" modified several laws in this state. One of them is the NY PENAL LAW that was amended to RESTRICT Y OUR RIGHTS. How you say? Part (b) was added to Section 10 of the Penal Law. It converted your once life-long pistol permit into a FIVE [5] YEAR permit with the swipe of Cuomo's pen. 

    You are now required by law to provide the NY State Police with not only several pieces of your personal data but also an affirmation that you are not prohibited from possessing Y O U R O W N f i r e a r m s [HANDGUNS ONLY]. Better yet, the UNSAFE Act offers the opportunity to complete the form for RE-CERTIFICATION ONLINE at a State Police website. 

    Let’s see if I have this right: I “certify” myself as NOT being prohibited from owning a handgun in NY State. But why must I report my recertification of myself, by myself, to NY State? Oh, I get it now!! The State wants a database of all handguns! Isn’t this tantamount to a registration of all handguns? History teaches us that registration leads to one thing, confiscation! 

    Consider these statements: 

    • Former President Clinton: “Only the police should have handguns.” 

    • Illinois Rep Schakowsky: “...the Constitution of the United States which does not give the right for any individual to own a handgun...” 

    • Retired NY Rep Owens: “We have to start with a ban on the manufacturing and import of handguns. From there we register the guns which are currently owned, and follow that with additional bans and acquisitions of handguns and rifles with no sporting purpose.” [Does “acquisitions” remind you of the word “confiscation” used by Gov. Cuomo and others?] 

    • Nelson Shields, former Chair of The Brady Campaign: “Yes, I’m for an outright ban [on handg u n s a n d a m m u n i - tion]”....”We’ll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily--given the political realitiesvery modest. We’ll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then to strengthen the next law and again and again. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down production and sales. Next is to get registration. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition (with a few exceptions) totally illegal.” 

    • The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence []: “We will never fully solve our nation’s horrific problem of gun violence unless we ban the manufacture and sale of handguns and semiautomatic assault weapons.”

     • American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU]: “We urge passage of federal prohibit...the private ownership and possession of handguns.” 

    • Michael Gardner, former President of NBC News: “There is no reason for anyone in this buy, to own, to have, to use a handgun…” 

    • Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney General: “The most effective means of fighting crime in the United States is to outlaw the possession of any type of firearm by the civilian populace.” 

    Remember, the goal of the State is to have as many people re-certify electronically as possible. SO OUR GOAL SHOULD BE TO HAVE THE FEWEST, OR NONE AT ALL, register online. We must ALL RE-CERTIFY on PAPER. Mail the form via CERTIFIED MAIL. This confirms it was both MAILED and RECEIVED. This allows you to comply with the law when you have to, but not before. 

    It is being suggested as an attractive proposition that we mail the form at the last possible moment… January 29 or 30, 2018. But we need to research this further as Cuomo likes to change the rules after the game has started. 

    Further research is also needed to determine if we are authorizing the State to access our HIPPA file. If so, then NYS has figured out a way to correct their violation of federal HIPPA law by having the citizen authorize the State’s invasion of privacy. 

    Recall that on September 20, 2016, representatives of the NY State Police spoke to the Fall Conference of the New York State County Clerk’s Association and made this statement: "The responsibility of the permit holder will be fulfilled when the recertification form is submitted to the State Police. Thus, if a problem arose where recertification was delayed, but submitted before the deadline, licensee is still legal." 

  • 07/25/2018 3:04 PM | Anonymous

    By William R Fox, Sr, Genesee County Chapter Chairman

    I often wonder just what ‘We the People’ means to so many that have died over hundreds of years for our freedoms. It bothers me that so many people stand back with a look like a deer in headlights as we are stripped of our rights. Do we, as free people, realize how many God given rights we have lost in the last 100 years. Our founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves as they see what is happening in America. Especially for all they sacrificed. 

    To have liberties means to be morally and ethically responsible in the way we conduct ourselves in everyday life. Part of that responsibility is to stand up and be heard. It may mean we need to put ourselves in an uncomfortable position by calling out our elected officials, or standing on Main Street with a sign, or even going to Albany and marching on the Capital. Have you done any of these things? 

    Where have the tens of thousands of gun owners gone in NY State? We the people of good faith have a decision to make; where do we want to be. 

    We have the pistol registration process of the (un)SAFE Act starting this year. How about you? Are you going to register, are you one of those who say you will not? Are you one of those that will sell your pistols and turn in your pistol permit? 

    As I stated We the People have a decision to make. There are a lot of questions to be answered and a lot of what ifs. I ask everyone reading this to ask yourself; what have you done lately? Did you get out and vote to change the direction we are heading in? If you did, great. Do you feel that is enough? Why have we come to this? How or what can we do? With our newly elected President Trump we finally have a chance to make a difference because we have proven that we want to save our country from the corruption and the stripping of the constitution. 

    With that said I believe that it is time for We the People to stand up for what is right. 

    Take a look at your kids and your grand kids then say to yourself have you done all that you could do to protect their future.? We need to get involved and stop leaving it up to others to fight for your God given rights. We have to figure this out individually in our own minds and hearts and move forth. The key to this all is We the People need to do the ethical and moral thing, as our forefathers did, and fight for our rights and our future generations rights. 

  • 07/25/2018 2:49 PM | Anonymous

    By Richard Rossi, Delaware County SCOPE 

    First let me say the whole RE-CERTIFICATION process is 'vague and unclear' - which is exactly to be expected from our lawmakers and Governor in Albany. We are now into another phase of the ill conceived, illegal SAFE Act. 

    First and foremost, I am 100% against any criminals, terrorists, drug traffickers, drug dealers/ users, gang members, mentally unstable individuals or illegal's having access to ANY weapons what-soever; however, this does not give anyone (President, Congress, Governor, Mayor, any elected official) the right to infringe on any individual’s Constitutional Rights - PERIOD. We have laws in this country which must be obeyed or we no longer exist as a nation. These officials took an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution/Bill of Rights. 

    At first glance why do we need a RE-CERTIFICATION process at all? What is its purpose, and is there a 'real' need for this? Is Governor Cuomo saying that our County Sheriffs and Judges are NOT doing their jobs? Is he saying that they are lax in enforcing the laws and revoking any and all licenses of those who become convicted felons? 

    Unfortunately, these questions need to be answered by our Governor; however, I will not hold my breath waiting for an answer. Remember, our Governor BELIEVES he is the supreme ruler of NYS. He is not accountable to 'We The People' - the peasants. And Gods know, we citizens in Upstate are not even worth thinking about. 

    Based on my analysis of the SAFE Act and recertification initiative, the recertification process is a pure waste of tax payers’ money. It is NOT going to catch any hard-core criminals. Heck, they don't even register their weapons in the first place. They probably could not get past a background check. So what is it? 

    It is being done to get weapons out of the hands of law-abiding citizens based on technicalities, failure to comprehend the law fully, and glitches in our judicial system and just plain and simple 'errors'; the wrong individual being 'tagged'. 

    Just remember all the individuals that were incorrectly added to the 'NO FLY LIST' and the 'TERRORIST WATCH' list. 

    You say, ‘I have a clean record' therefore I should have NO problem getting re-certified. I have nothing to hide getting re-certified. Really, think about the mental health provisions in the SAFE Act law. Your HIPPA Rights are gone. You are at the mercy of ANY health care professional. 

    Think about your last visit to your doctor. Does he/she know you are a gun owner? Has he/she asked you any questions about your firearms? Did he ask how you store your firearms? Forget the doctor; did you mention something to the nurse or receptionist? Did they ask if you are DEPRESSED or have any ANXIETY ISSUES OR CONCERNS? Did you mention that you are having problems with your boss, children, wife, co-workers, family members or friends or neighbors? Did you say you wanted something to sleep because of these conditions? Did you ask about a marriage counselor for your 'shaky' marriage or ask for a name of counselor to address your children's behavior problems? Did you make a 'stupid' statement while talking to them about wanting someone dead? At times, under stress we say stupid things that we would never follow through on - right? 

    Surprise, you may have been profiled as someone who might be or has the potential of being a seriously violent individual that should NOT have possession of firearms either now or years in the future. 

    Your name will be sent to the State database WITHOUT you having any knowledge. You will not be given any 'due-process' - as required, OR the right to defend yourself against your accuser. BINGO, your license has been REVOKED. 

    Names have been going to this data base for a couple of years now. Now you understand why the recertification was delayed until 2017? 

    It even gets more scarier. They are looking to revoke licenses of Senior Citizens who need assistance with their daily finances and have made a family member 'legally' responsible for their affairs. They are looking to revoke licenses of our returning service men and women, claiming they may be unstable because of the conflicts they saw and were involved in. 

    We are on a slippery slope if we let this continue without outrage - our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms as American's will be gone just because we are law-abiding gun owners. This is clearly discrimination against a class of citizens. You have been assumed GUILTY and you had no opportunity to defend yourself - let alone know you have been accused. 

    Now that we have a true President in the White House, it is time to speak out and say we will not take it anymore. However, don't for one second think the 'war' is over. We have just achieved one victory in the battle to FREEDOM. 

    We have achieved one victory - now, on to Albany. Think about 2018, start now - Cuomo must be defeated. It can be achieved, IF we put the effort into it each and every day. Get involved, keep contacting your NYS Assemblymen and Senators - let them know you are outraged with "business as usual in Albany". We The People will not have our Rights/Freedoms infringed any longer. 

    This is NOT a battle for gun owners ONLY, it is a battle for ALL true American Citizens. As our Second Amendment goes, the rest will surely follow. I fully respect your right not to have a firearm - I only ask you to respect my right to have one. 

    No one would say “I did not speak-out because it did not affect me”. When it does affect you, will there be anyone left to speak out? This is a fight that ALL American's must battle. 

  • 07/25/2018 2:39 PM | Anonymous

    By Tom Reynolds

    In November, the voters of New York will be asked a question that they are asked every twenty years; do the people of New York want a Constitutional convention held for the purpose of amending the New York Constitution. This is a complex decision and should not be taken lightly. It could have a significant impact on 2nd Amendment rights in New York as well as multiple other issues, since the convention is not limited as to what it can address: if they want to address gun rights, they can; if they want to address any other issue, they can; the field is wide open since the convention determines its own rules. In other words, there could be a runaway convention. On the other hand, this may be an opportunity for Bill of Rights advocates. 

    First, understand that the NY Constitution is much longer and has more specific detail than the US Constitution. New York cannot lessen any rights guaranteed by the US Constitution but this does not stop the state from trying to do that in clever ways. The state can expand upon rights, too. Any New York amendments can be challenged as unconstitutional under the US Constitution but because they are a part of the NY Constitution, they cannot be challenged under NY law as unconstitutional. What can occur under NY law is that two parts of the NY Constitution can disagree, which gets ugly. 

    There are four steps to this process: step 1 -in November 2017 the voters decide if they want a constitutional convention held; step 2 - if approved, in November 2018 the voters elect delegates to the convention; step 3 -in April 2019, the convention is held; step 4 - in November 2019 (probably) the voters in a statewide election vote on accepting or rejecting any proposed amendments that came out of the convention. 

    Each NY Senate district is entitled to 3 convention delegates elected by the voters in each district, (63 districts times 3 delegates each equals 189 delegates). Plus, there will be 15 at large delegates chosen by a statewide vote for a total of 204 total delegates. That is a lot of delegates! And you can be sure there will be some extremists and whackos. Remember, political jokes sometimes get elected! Those are the hard facts about it. After that it gets complicated. Really complicated! 

    There are 63 NY Senate districts and Republicans control 31, the Democrats control 31 and 1 Brooklyn Senator ran as both a Republican and Democrat but he sits with the Republicans, which gives the Republicans a 1 vote majority. If this template holds true, the 189 delegates from districts might be fairly evenly split. The 15 At-Large delegates are the problem. New York State is a Democratic controlled state because NY City is overwhelmingly Democratic even though Upstate voter registrations are close between Republicans and Democrats. Since 2nd Amendment proponents tend to be Republicans, it will be difficult – but not impossible - to get pro-gun Republicans elected to the 15 statewide offices as well as getting any pro-gun amendments approved in the statewide election that is step 4. Books could be written on the various possibilities under this, so I will not expand on it here. 

    It is reasonable to say that the grassroots pro 2nd Amendment people (us) are not happy with the political establishment in New York. It continues to disappoint us. Why is this important for the Constitutional Convention? Because the political establishment will be positioned to nominate convention delegates that reflect the establishment’s interests and not our interests. If we are to have a Constitutional Convention, we must be prepared to work to get 2A delegates on the ballot and then elect them. This includes working with other 2A organizations and other Constitutional Rights preservation organizations. We cannot afford political Conscientious Objectors when it comes to getting actively involved in defending 2A.It will take a strong, united effort to get something positive done. A winning strategy will be to sweep the three delegates in Republican districts and win at least one delegate in Democratic districts as a way to offset the probable losses in statewide delegates. 

    With all these difficulties, why bother with a Convention? First, the current political establishment in NY has not shown the backbone to effectively work on repealing the Safe Act and safeguarding our rights. A convention could be one way of bypassing them. 

    Second, the NY Senate has been much less effective than we like but it has stopped much of the anti-gun craziness that comes out of NY City. If we lose the majority - and as noted above it hangs by the proverbial thread -the Safe Act will endure and there will be “Sons of the Safe Act.” We could lose the majority in the normal course of events, but Cuomo is actively working to move Senate seats out of Upstate and down to NY City. If Upstate loses jobs it loses population and, therefore, after the 2020 census, Upstate will lose Senate seats and Cuomo, DeBlazio and the NY City crazies will reign, unimpeded. Unless something happens to change NY State’s economic policies (Cuomo’s policies) it will happen. A Constitutional Convention may be our last hope. 

    One proponent of the NY Constitutional Convention has been the “Divide NY Group”. They recognize that breaking NY into two federally recognized states, (Upstate and the NY City area), is probably not politically possible. What they pro- pose is breaking the state into two regions where each has its own laws; hence, no Safe Act in Upstate. The governor would become relatively symbolic, like the Queen of England. The exact form would be decided in the Constitutional Convention so it could vary but that is the general idea. While the idea is appealing, remember all the cautions in my previous paragraphs. If the political elite and NY City get control of the convention, they could make things even worse. 

    While this article has dwelt on the NY Constitutional convention, there is another approach that is worth mentioning, but it is also difficult. Most legislators – but not allare in relatively safe districts. Getting the majority party’s nomination is akin to election. The incumbent establishment in a safe district hate the word “Primary”. It’s difficult to primary an incumbent since the establishment tends to unite behind that incumbent. But to get legislators with pro-2nd Amendment backbones in office, this is another approach. 

    If we are to get pro-gun delegates elected to a Constitutional Convention, it will take a grassroots effort in the districts. If we are to primary incumbents, it will also take a grassroots effort in the districts. Do you understand that this is one reason why SCOPE is putting its efforts into chapters and committees instead of the state organization? I, personally, am undecided on how I will vote on a Constitutional Convention but I wanted to share some issues with you to start a conversation within SCOPE while we have some time. As I hope you now realize, this could be a very significant decision for protecting the 2nd Amendment gun rights. 

  • 07/25/2018 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    By Don Smith and Tom Reynolds 

    Over the course of fourteen years, from 1775 to 1789, the US had four forms of government: a king, the Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation and, finally, our Constitution. Each step was an attempt to improve on the previous one. It was a pendulum-like process but it eventually worked. 

    On a lesser scale, SCOPE has been undergoing the same process. After decades of being a relatively small organization primarily in western NY, it suddenly became a genuinely statewide organization after passage of the SAFE Act in 2013. That growth led to administrative and organizational problems. New leadership was elected to deal with those problems while simultaneously charting a new long term direction that puts more grassroots emphasis on the chapters and committees. 

    This new emphasis on grassroots’ actions is important because we do our best to work at that level with our locally elected officials. It is important for constituents to be in contact with their legislators on multiple occasions, especially during NY’s legislative session from January to June. SCOPE chapters in the legislator’s home district must open lines of communication which will forge positive and valuable on-going relationships between legislators and SCOPE members. Working through SCOPE will allow common people at the local level to affect the decisions of their representatives. This is a fundamental role for any “grassroots” organization. 

    Our belief is that putting more emphasis on the chapters and committees will help to invigorate the membership to be more involved, raise SCOPE’s profile, increase membership and make SCOPE more effective. We are seeing signs that this is happening. Last year, we only had six candidates for At Large positions on SCOPE’s board and all were previously involved at the state level. This year we have twelve candidates and half are NOT now involved at the state level. Last year we had one person doing the review of proposed legislation while this year we have three. But there are many other non -board jobs that need doing and we need volunteers from the membership. 

    Growth and development brings new challenges to be answered. When SCOPE moved from being a small regional to a large statewide organization, it did not adapt its policies and procedures for the changing organizational needs. Officers have a duty to see that members’ dues are used ethically, efficiently and effectively. By -laws and regulations must be followed and not ignored. Officers must be willing to share information openly with the board and the membership; knowledge may be power but that power cannot be hoarded by a few. 

    These simple directives were not followed over the past few years and problems occurred and administrations changed. We inherited last year’s records that were either incomplete or in complete disarray, which puts an audit of last year in question. However, we are committed to having the first financial audit in SCOPE’s history by ensuring that the current year’s records will allow an audit. Members will know how their dues are being spent. We are also catching up on required government reporting that was not done in the past and is stressing both chapter and state officers. But, it must be done and once completed it will ease future chapter operations. We now have a very active Finance Committee that is putting greater emphasis on protecting SCOPE’s assets and ensuring that these issues never again arise. 

    The 2A movement has been hampered by the lack of cooperation between organizations. Working together isn’t always  easy but having all the gun owners in NY motivated, locally involved and moving in the same direction will produce a force that cannot be ignored. This requires organizations to rise above old issues and recognize that they exist to defend our Constitutional Rights and that goal must neutralize differences that arise. Towards that end, one of the first efforts mutually made was to end the problems between SCOPE and NYS Rifle and Pistol Association and begin working along parallel paths. To that end, we have met success. Both SCOPE and NYSRPA have set aside past differences for the greater good of the 2nd Amendment. SCOPE looks forward to forging new relationships, even if it means overlooking past problems between organizations and individuals in order to defend the 2nd Amendment. 

    SCOPE is also concerned with the protection of fundamental human rights such as due process, freedom of speech and protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of personal property. Our Articles of Incorporation state that SCOPE is, “…dedicated to the preservation of the United State of America and the Constitution……and particularly Article 2 of the Bill of Rights.” Those opposing the 2nd Amendment are also going after other rights. We must begin to work with our natural allies in the name of protecting all Constitutional Rights. You don’t have to own a gun to be concerned about the erosion of your rights. We must work with “Rights” organizations for a return to what the Constitution originally said and not the one Sotomayer and others wish it had said. 

    Ronald Reagan defined perfectly that our short term decisions should all still be moving us in our long term direction. No organization operates in a vacuum and current political forces influence our short-term decisions but we must never lose sight of our goals. Extreme anti 2nd Amendment forces like Cuomo, Obama and the mainstream media have dominated the past few years but we may now have an ally in the White House. We must capture this moment by promoting enthusiasm, raising expectations and supporting activism. 

    Because of the negative political climate we endured, the primary goal of 2A defense organizations has been to counter attacks on the rights of firearms owners. SCOPE was a part of successfully lobbying for the REJECTION of bills sometimes labeled "SAFE Act 2". Some examples: Safe Storage, Microstamping, Ban of 50 Caliber firearms [including 12 gauge shotguns], Mandatory insurance coverage of $250,000 for gun owners, 18 years old to own a gun, State issued pistol permits, Registration of ALL firearms with $15 fee/gun and annual renewal with $10 fee/gun. 

    While we won these battles, the enemies will return and the “War On Guns” continues. Although we have not been able to obtain a repeal of the SAFE ACT itself, we continue to remain on the offensive. 

    All of us in SCOPE need to be laser focused on “what we do", “how we do it” and “what it costs in time and money” between now and the November 2018 Gubernatorial Election. There are serious issues with which your chapter and state leadership must be engaged. Distractions should not be tolerated. “Cuomo’s Gotta Go” as well as the SAFE Act.  

  • 07/25/2018 2:18 PM | Anonymous

    By Harold Moskowitz 

    The New York State Constitution has a provision requiring a proposition on the ballot for authorizing a state constitutional convention. This must be done every twenty years. Some people who have heard of the possibility of a “convention” have some confusion about whether or not this is the same as the “Convention of the States” which is provided for in Article V of the United States Constitution. Article V provides a way for the states to propose new amendments for the United States Constitution rather than having them proposed by Congress. The Article V Convention of States will be addressed in a future article. 

    The process of adding new amendments to the New York State Constitution would extend over a two year period of time. The proposition for authorizing the convention will appear on the November 7, 2017 general election ballot. The wording will state: “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?” If approved, delegates to the convention would be elected in the November 6, 2018 general election. Three delegates would be elected from each state senatorial district as well as fifteen delegates-at-large. The convention would meet in Albany and begin its work on April 2, 2019. 

    The original intent of a state constitutional convention was to provide the people with an opportunity to take appropriate action for limiting the legislature or elected state officials. However, convention delegates would not be limited as to proposed changes they would like to make to the state constitution. A proposed amendment would need at least a simple majority of fifty-one percent to pass before being submitted to the state’s voters. 

    Constitutional amendments can give a government a new power as was the case of the eighteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution which gave Congress the power to prohibit the making, selling, transporting, use, or possession of alcoholic drinks. Proposed state constitutional amendments could result in changes to powers held by the Governor and the legislature. Such new powers could affect social and labor issues including revisions to public sector employee pensions already being received by retirees. State election districts could be redrawn using a revised system that could further increase “downstate” political power. The legislature could be empowered to elevate the idea of “sanctuary cities” to that of making New York a “sanctuary state.” 

    The New York State Constitution does not specifically protect the right to keep and bear arms. Although state constitutions may not undermine or deny rights protected in our U.S. Constitution, proposed amendments to our state constitution could provide state officials with the power to discourage firearm ownership through high excise taxes on firearms and ammunition much as “sin taxes” are imposed upon alcohol and tobacco products. Power could be granted to the legislature for implementation of “social engineering” programs or for the remediation of “income inequality” through programs of the type started under former President Obama. This was to be accomplished by using statistical data from each postal zip code data mined from 2010 census reports. 

    After the convention feels that it has fulfilled its mission, the newly proposed amendments will appear on the general election ballot in November, 2019. Propositions might be phrased in a general and vague way. A hypothetical example might be: “Shall the legislature of the State of New York be given the ability to take a greater role in protecting the safety and well-being of the residents of the state?” As worded, who would not think this proposition worthy of a “yes” vote? 

    Yet, embedded in that broad grant of power to protect the safety and well-being of state residents could be the power to enact new or expanded taxpayer funded “give away” entitlement programs for “buying” votes in future elections. Restrictions or a ban on the use of lead bullets as both an environmental and a health priority are then feasible. Special crushing taxes on gun dealers, gun shows, and any gun manufacturers still remaining in the state, due to their “adverse” effect on the safety of New York residents, would be likely. The Attorney General could feel empowered to remove current protections from firearm manufacturers, dealers, and gun show organizers for injury and wrongful death lawsuits stemming from unlawful, unintended use of their products. 

    In an overwhelmingly liberal state where progressive liberal views predominate, giving life to an unrestricted constitutional convention would be risky at best for protecting the right to keep and bear arms.  

  • 07/25/2018 2:16 PM | Anonymous

    By Todd Strelow

    After reading Tom Reynolds’ article in the last issue of Firing Lines on the upcoming vote on a NY Constitutional Convention, I figured I’d throw my two cents in. Like Tom, I’m undecided on the value to gun owners for such a convention. This is not because I don’t see a need for change, but because I fear a change for the worse. I agree with Tom that the “Divide NY Group” plan to separate Upstate and NY City isn’t going to happen. But what could happen is ending gerrymandering of political districts. 

    My suggestion (and I’m sure others have thought of this as well) is that we change the way Senate and Assembly districts are structured. For the Senate, make it a Senator for each County. For Assembly districts, make the rule for establishing these that the boundaries of the district must run along established Town or County lines. No piecemeal districts that include only little portions of Towns or Counties. Why should someone have to drive to another county to visit the office of their Senator? The Assembly can remain based on population (as long as district lines run along Town/ County lines) like the U.S. House of Representatives, but the NY Senate (modeling it after the U.S. Senate) would be one Senator per County. It works on a larger scale in the Federal government, why not here in NY? 

    How does this help us? For one thing, I think it would give Upstate a greater voice in the Senate. Remember, Cuomo only won the majority vote in about a quarter of the Counties (I think it was 16 out of 62) in the last election. It also takes any confusion out of what district people live in, and I think it would lead to greater accountability for our elected representatives to the people. Complex problems often have simple solutions, and I think this would be a good start. 

    In the meantime it’s extremely important that we continue to register our fellow gun owners to vote. Trust me when I say there’s a lot of them who aren’t registered (I registered/re-registered 22 gun owners to vote last year in the months leading up to the election). There shouldn’t be a gun/archery store in NY that doesn’t have a stack of voter registration forms on the counter. There shouldn’t be a gun show, gun auction, sportsman show, gun/archery store customer appreciation day, or any other gathering that would tend to draw large groups of gun owners, without someone there registering new voters. If you’re at an event selling raffle tickets for your gun club, you should have a stack of voter registration forms on the table. They are available from your county board of elections, ask for a whole package of them. Constitutional Convention or not, we are stuck with the SAFE act as long as Cuomo is our Governor. If we want it to be repealed, we need to vote Cuomo out of the Governor’s office (and keep him out of the White House!!). It’s up to US to make that happen!  

  • 07/25/2018 2:11 PM | Anonymous

    By Jim Tuttle, Genesee County S.C.O.P.E. Chapter

    As we have seen, the SAFE Act was established by select individuals in the dark of night. It was stated that this law was created by exigent circumstances and was quickly passed by both houses of the New York State legislature. Since that time we have learned that two of the three main architects of the law, Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver, have since been convicted of felony corruption charges. The third, Governor Andrew Como, is currently under investigation. After reading the law, we have learned that not one section deals with public safety. All the restrictions are cosmetic in nature, not, performance in nature; rendering the law useless. 

    Now the Governor has finally produced his pistol permit recertification document. Why is it no surprise that more emphasis is placed upon the number and type of weapons a permit holder has, rather than whether or not the individual is qualified to have a pistol permit. The Governor has clearly established his desire to establish a confiscation list, rather than a safety net. Now, although no provisions have been clearly established for the enforcement of this law, if you don’t comply properly, you become a criminal. A person can be arrested, can have your property confiscated, can be fined and or sent to jail. 

    What really gets me the most is this; we now have, at least, a Governor, Attorney General and State Senator who are all practicing attorneys. As sworn court officers, they have taken an oath to uphold the laws of New York State and uphold the Constitution of New York State and the Constitution of the United States of America. As elected officials they have taken a similar oath. In addition to supporting the SAFE Act which violates our rights under the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments, they now openly conspire to violate Federal Law by encouraging sanctuary cities, especially New York City, which ultimately will be a financial burden upon the people. Without properly investigating potential immigrant’s backgrounds, they also endanger the welfare of our families. 

    Do as I Command, Not as I Do. 

    Not only are these individuals violating their oaths of office, they are violating the laws that they swore to defend. Every honest citizen should be screaming at the top of their lungs for these individuals, and any others who fall into this category, be prosecuted and impeached. Notify your local, state and federal representatives. As individuals and as members of organizations, we must act now.  

  • 07/25/2018 2:04 PM | Anonymous

    By Richard Rossi, Treasurer Delaware County SCOPE

    Let's all be realistic, New York State IS NOT a selfprotection friendly state. We all know that Law-abiding gun owners, especially CCW holders, are by far the most responsible, law-abiding citizens not only in New York State, but in the entire country. 

    That being said, we need to be 100% alert - ALL of the time. Everything we do or say is being judged and put under a microscope as not only CCW holders, but as gun owners. The anti-Gun agenda folks are just waiting and hoping we cross the line. 

    I would like to discuss my opinion on a couple of issues: Concealed Carry Vs. Open Carry, those 'cute' bumper stickers and signs that we see on our vehicles and homes, and Training. 

    The Open Carry Vs. Concealed Carry is NOT an option for New York State CCW holders. I do not want to get into the RIGHT of choice. We are 'unfortunate' or 'fortunate' to be restricted to CONCEALED CARRY ONLY. I say fortunate because, I truly believe, being in NYS, Open Carry would hurt us more. Right off - when you are seen carrying, you would be constantly judged - every act you take will be magnified 110%. And unfortunately, you will be seen as a 'bad guy' in the eyes of many. 

    If I had a choice, I would never carry ‘open’. My choice is a safety concern - my safety. The use of a weapon, any weapon can and does result in arrest and at times a criminal trial. It could also mean your death. Why subject yourself to added attention? 

    Why subject yourself to attack, just because you are carrying a pistol. A potential criminal will see you as a 'threat', and you could be killed or injured just for having a weapon. He will see you as ‘problem' of him/her achieving his or her objective. In this day and age of terrorism and mass shooting, you will be the first target. Why address to the world that you have a weapon and put yourself in added danger? I would like to have the advantage IF an altercation arose – Concealed can give you the added advantage and a few seconds additional time to save your life or your loved ones or an innocent bystander in the event of a deadly situation. 

    Moving on to those 'cute' bumper stickers and tin signs. You all know what I am talking about. "PRAYER IS THE BEST WAY TO MEET THE LORD - TRESPASSING IS FASTER" and WARNING - THERE IS NOTHING HERE WORTH DYING FOR" both with a picture of a revolver. "AMMO IS EXPENSIVE - DON'T EXPECT A WARNING SHOT!" and the list goes on and on. 

    This may seem like a wonderful idea on the surface showing that you are for your Second Amendment Rights. 

    In my opinion, this tinny sign could result in the difference of you being 'acquitted or convicted' of having to act in self-defense resulting in you shooting someone - if your case goes to trial or even in the preliminary review stage. It can even mean the difference of being subject to a robbery. Why broadcast to the world that you are a gun owner?? You would not place a sign on your front door that your home is a GUN FREE ZONE - would you? 

    Unfortunately, in NYS you will 'NEED' to prove you acted in self-defense in fear for your life or life of your love-ones. We, unfortunately, live in a state that does not respect our Right to SelfProtection. You had no other options than to shoot. Why give some anti-gun prosecutor additional 'ammo' (pun intended) to put before a 'grand jury'. They WILL look deeply into your background, family and friends, co-workers for ANYTHING that they can use to say you are a 'trigger happy' gun owner. These cute quotes could come back and bite you. It 'might' raise doubt to your intent??? These social media 'comments' in this day and age can and might make the difference between you staying out of jail or going to prison. Gun owners and especially CCW Holders need to be and demonstrate RESPONSIBILITY in all their actions. 

    My last comments concern TRAINING - especially for anyone who IS a CCW Holder. I am not only speaking about firearms training but proper safety training and basic firearms shooting skills etc.  

    In a life and death encounter - these shooting skills are unique and require specific conditioning and training. You need to learn how to control the 'stress factors' of a confrontation. Your 'actions - reactions' need to be second nature. You might only have a second to respond - delay. To think about sight alignment, trigger pull, is my safety off etc. and you could be fatality injured or dead. 

    These are ALL critical especially to a Concealed Carry individual. But just as important is having knowledge of the law. 

    Everyone needs to take a course in "Practical Application of the Law - NY State Article 35" - Use of Force CERTIFICATION COURSE.  

    Make sure that it’s a certified course by a qualified instructor. This certificate can be your 'Get Out Of Jail' card. It demonstrates that you are a responsible CCW holder and you made the effort to be a knowledgeable Law-abiding citizen to the best of your ability to fully understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to the use of deadly force.  

    Maybe one day, CCW Holders and ALL gun owners, will be innocent until proven guilty. This will ONLY happen if we all constantly keep our representatives in Albany and Washington aware that we are watching, we vote. And we will not be second-class citizens any longer. United we can make a difference.... 

  • 07/25/2018 1:59 PM | Anonymous

    By Budd Schroeder

    The SAFE act is once more generating news. There is a bill in both the Senate and the Assembly to make a change, not in wording, but in geography. The bill proposes that the law is limited to New York City and those in Upstate New York are not affected by it. It is similar to the way the Sullivan Bill works on handgun possession. Two different sets of rules on gun ownership. 

    From the recent news about the criminal misuse of handguns in Buffalo and the increase in homicides since the law was passed, it would indicate that it isn't working to cut deaths by criminals using guns. The answer is actually pretty simple. Criminals don't obey laws and the good people don't need to have their rights infringed. They definitely are not a problem. 

    The law does nothing to keep criminals from getting guns anymore than the drug ban keeps addicts from getting heroin. However, in politics perception is reality. So, if enough people are conned into believing the law will reduce violence, the politicians without scruples will vote for it. The whole motivation is votes and reelection. In New York City the attitude regarding guns is much different than it is in upstate. 

    The upstate gun owners are used to having guns for hunting and target shooting as well as believing they have the right to self-defense and wish to be able to have a viable means to do it. New York City has a contingent of politicians who try, and often succeed in convincing the voters that the government will take care of them. 

    The legislative power is in the Assembly and there are enough Democrat votes Southeast of the Tappan Zee Bridge to pass any bill and to even override a veto. The power is there and naturally, that is the house with the most abuse. What the Democrats want, the Democrats get. They wanted more gun control and they got it. 

    Now that there has been a long enough period to see it doesn't work, there is a huge effort to get the law repealed. That won't happen, so since politics is the art of compromise, this bill is offered. The people in New York City get a law they want and the people in upstate get rid of one they don't want. 

    The SAFE law makes it impossible for the Amish to buy a gun because of the universal background check. It requires a photo ID to get the NICS background check and the Amish religion forbids photo taking. Therefore they are denied the ability to legally purchase a gun. The Amish are known to be a very law abiding, peaceable and non-violent society. We wonder why the politicians don't want them to have guns. 

    Another problem with the law is based on only a report, a person can lose four Constitutional and civil rights. The big problem is that they can lose these rights without due process. A false report from a hospital or from a doctor, nurse or social worker saying that they believe the person is a danger to themselves or others. can cause the loss of Second Amendment rights. They don't need the intervention by a psychiatrist or parapsychologist and there is no hearing to challenge the report. That is a very significant problem. 

    S.C.O.P.E. (Shooters Committee On Political Education) initiated a law case on this issue. It is called Montgomery v. Cuomo and has been languishing with delays caused by the state. This is an indication that they are not optimistic about winning and hope that the plaintiffs will give up. The plaintiffs are waiting for the SCOTUS to be filled soon in case the lawsuit has to go that far. 

    It is simple to determine from an outside viewpoint. The fact that due process is in the Bill of Rights and also in an amendment to the Constitution should be reason enough to repeal at least that part of the bill. Nobody should be denied any rights without due process, but the State of New York believes that they should be able to override the Constitution. It would seem that the legislators who voted for the bill have the same opinion. 

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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