Complete list of Briefings
By Don Hey
On February 9th I contacted Superintendent Beach of The New York State Police with questions concerning the NY Pistol Permit Recertification process. One question I specifically addressed was the required inclusion of the Driver’s License ID number. Referred to below as “NY Client ID”. Although the recertification process was an integral part of The NY Safe Act, Article 400 of the NYS Penal Law was never modified to require this additional information.
This was the reply I received via U.S. Mail: “The design and validation requirements of the newly created pistol permit recertification database necessitated the use of a known personal identifier. During the early development stages of the recertification database, limitations were readily recognized for each of the various personal identifiers considered. The decision to utilize the New York State client ID was ultimately selected as the best solution to successfully develop and implement solutions to the complex technology challenges of the project. "
"Moreover, and to address your concerns, recertification via the New York State Pistol Permit Recertification website cannot be completed without a NY Client ID, and certification via the paper form without the NY Client ID is currently being given consideration along with conforming instructions. "
"The New York State Office of Information Technology Service (OITS) is also working on various technological solutions to the certification process to allow certification without a NY State client ID. However OITS database engineers readily admit that changing the database requirements at this point would be a significant undertaking.”
So, one might ask why the objection to this “required” information? Although this information is readily available to The NY State Police it is not a requirement noted in Article 400 and many feel that authority needs to be given not taken. Also there are concerns they might take the liberty of uploading this information into mobile license plate readers thus standing in violation of The People v Garcia decided December 18th 2012 prohibiting such activity.
In May of 2015 I had the opportunity to enter into a meeting with the newly appointed Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. During the course of this meeting pistol permit recertification was addressed. It was decided at that time that the counties would handle the recertification and the New York State Police had been given no authority to revoke a permit based on the recertification process. This was disclosed with senate counsel present in the room. So what happened? Again Governor Cuomo and The Political Appointee’s within The New York State Police have overstepped their boundaries and taken authority without getting proper authority!
In closing I have sent a reply to Superintendent Beach asking specifically if the omission of the NY Client ID on the paper form would trigger a failure to re-certify thus resulting in revocation of ones Pistol Permit. Also note that the deadline to re-certify is January, 31st 2018. I will wait to see how this and other matters are resolved.
By Tom Reynolds
It’s not unusual and, in fact, it’s quite normal to hear a Republican member of the New York State Senate say that there is no chance that the SAFE Act will be repealed this year. We, in SCOPE, find such comments abhorrent. After giving away repeal of the SAFE Act, we will not be able to “tradeup” to repeal the SAFE Act. So, why do they say it?
Could it be that the New York Assembly, which is dominated by New York City, is overwhelmingly anti-gun Democratic and Andrew Cuomo is the father of the SAFE Act? The Assembly must pass all potential laws and Cuomo must sign them and the Assembly and Cuomo are not friends of the Second Amendment. Facts are facts and those are facts. This is the first and usually only reason Senators will give to back up their statement. They want us to believe that this roadblock cannot be overcome.
Could it be the Senators want to lower expectations about their performance? This is a yes. If we accept their statements without argument, they have successfully avoided any responsibility for another year of failure in our crusade against the SAFE Act. This type of statement is what is called a “Self-fulfilling prophecy”; if you say you can’t do it, you won’t!
Could it be they are lousy negotiators? Given what we have seen the past few years, that would be a definite yes. They violate the first rule of negotiation; don’t give up anything before negotiations begin! And it is difficult to name any major victories for Upstate in the last few years.
Could it be that the Republican leadership has no real interest in repealing the SAFE Act and Republicans only use it as a token campaign issue to get reelected? Here we have a resounding yes and it is the core reason for their statements.
All the major legislative bodies in New York and at the federal level are dominated by their majority party leaders; either called Majority Leaders or Speakers. Because of the rules of these legislatures, Majority Leaders haves tremendous power and little gets done (or undone) without their approval. It is not a stretch to say that a legislator’s most important vote is for the Majority Leader, since that person sets the direction of that legislative body. He is one of the “three men in a room” who dominate NY State politics. John Flanagan, the Republican Majority Leader of the Senate voted for the SAFE Act.
While 70% of the NYS Assembly and 100% of Governor Cuomo are overwhelmingly anti-gun politicians, they are, at their heart, self-serving politicians for whom political trade-offs are the norm. The key is to make them give us something we want (repealing the SAFE Act) in return for us giving them something they need. This is done all the time by linking two unrelated bills; you vote for mine and I will vote for yours.
Last year, gun rights advocates had the perfect issue to trade for repealing the SAFE Act; rent control laws in New York City needed to be renewed. The Assembly and Cuomo desperately needed that to happen or they would have angered their core NY City constituency. In addition, Upstate NY had no direct stake in whether or not this happened. It did happen and in return the Republicans got…nothing.
This year, we have a similar situation with NY City needing renewal of the 421-A program, now called Affordable New York but more accurately called “Tax Breaks for NY City”. SCOPE started a campaign to link these two issues. Many Upstate Senators will not be happy about this since they hoped to pass this law without much notice. Why? Because many Upstate Senators got sizable campaign contributions from NY City developers who will be the prime recipients of those tax breaks. These Senators can still make their campaign donors happy by voting for the Affordable New York program, but get us something in return; repealing the SAFE Act. All it takes is for Majority Leader John Flanagan to stand firm, something he neglected to do last year.
What will cause Flanagan to stand firm? It will take the Senators in his party standing up for something he has no interest in doing; remember, he voted for the SAFE Act. What will motivate the Senators to do something they have no interest in doing? It will take an energized and engaged constituency, with SCOPE members at the forefront. It will take pressure on these Senators from the Republican establishment in their constituencies.
Last year it was Rent Control, this year it is 421-A and next year there will be other issues. While NY City has many economic engines, at its base it is dependent upon government largess. The largest employment sector in NY City is the government: federal, state and local. The NY City economy is dependent on programs like rent control and 421-A; without them there would be economic havoc. This is their weakness and Upstate’s strength, but our political leadership must begin to use it.
By Harold Moskowitz
As was indicated in Part 1 of the last issue, a referendum will be used on November 7, 2017 to potentially authorize revisions of the New York State Constitution. This article will explore some of the issues and motives which are in play in this high stakes political game. Although the process is supposed to be controlled by the people, that promise could well become a manipulated illusion.
In 2008, Presidential candidate Obama successfully used “Hope” and “Change” as his slogan. Each potential voter was left to imagine that the “Hope” was what he was hoping for and the “Change” would be the change he would like to see occur. To many, the idea that a state constitutional convention could bring about the types of changes they might be hoping for is an attractive lure.
Groups, individuals, the state government and local governments all see revision of the state constitution as a means to further their agendas. Political reformers hope for ethics reforms in a state where political corruption has gotten national exposure. Many would like to see term limits for elected officials. Elections, they say, are not a substitute for term limits considering the advantages held by incumbents for reelection.
Others would want “Initiative” and “Recall” added to our state constitution. In the former, sufficient numbers of petition signatures of registered voters could force the legislature to take action on an issue it has been avoiding. In the latter, a sufficient number of valid petition signatures would force an elected official to step down before the end of his term of office.
One particular group hopes to have delegates elected to the convention who would propose dividing the state into “upstate” and “downstate” autonomous districts. Each district would have the power to repeal “disadvantageous” laws previously passed by the legislature such as the SAFE Act. Self-described “fiscal conservatives” seek budget reforms, including spending limits and transparency in the budgeting process.
They seek an end to defined benefit pension plans for public sector employees which they consider to be an unsustainable fiscal burden. Associated with this goal of reducing pension costs is a potential motive for a convention by the state and local governments to revise the clause in Article 5, Section 7 which protects public employee pensions.
Basically, it states that public employee pensions are of a contractual nature and cannot be “diminished or impaired.” Presently, monthly retirement amounts cannot be reduced regardless of pension system investment results. Lack of this protective clause in a state’s constitution makes it increasingly tempting for governors, county executives, and mayors to under fund or not fund their employee retirement systems.
Withheld pension fund contributions can then be diverted for budget balancing. They make exaggerated predictions of investment results to make up for the under funding of the retirement system.
Progressive liberal agenda goals such as “social engineering” and elimination of “income inequality” related issues would likely be proposed. In particular, they would look to expand Article 17 Section 2 of the state constitution which guarantees the “aid, care and support of the needy.” This could be expanded to create new programs to remedy perceived “economic inequality” based upon economic data from the 2010 census compiled by zip code.
New York could be declared a “sanctuary state” in which those here illegally could be guaranteed full protections, entitlements including college tuition, driver’s licenses and the right to vote.
Second Amendment supporters would hope for the “Castle Doctrine,” concealed carry, or a “stand your ground” proposal. However, delegates must be elected and some will be currently elected politicians.
Delegates are not penalized for misrepresenting their true views. One could reasonably count on prominent anti-Second Amendment billionaires gladly spending millions of dollars to fund the campaigns of hand-picked potential delegates who, if elected with or without misrepresentation, would propose even more stringent “common sense” gun control restrictions and measures to hasten the day when the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in New York State would be almost non-existent.
Although any proposed amendments have to be approved by the voters in November, 2019, fewer people vote in off-year elections and of those who do vote even fewer take the time to indicate their choice on propositions.
Thus, a very small percentage of the state’s population could unleash huge impacts upon the state’s residents. Publicly, Governor Cuomo does not promote a convention but close aides have indicated his support. If he is in favor, that should give all Second Amendment supporters pause to stop before voting to give life to a constitutional convention.
By Tom Reynolds
We hear constantly that it is important to register and vote. In New York State, if you want to vote in a Primary, you must be registered in a specific party: Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Independence, etc. You can only vote in the Primary of the party in which you are registered. For instance, Conservatives CANNOT vote in Republican Primaries; only Republicans can vote in Republican Primaries and only Democrats can vote in Democratic Primaries.
The Independence Party is an established party, like the Republicans and Democrats. You may call yourself an “Independent” but you are NOT in the Independence Party unless you register as a member of the Independence Party. Only if registered in the Independence Party could you vote in an Independence Party Primary. (Candidates like to pick up the Independence Party endorsement as it gives them an additional line on a ballot.)
Since many districts are heavily weighted for one party or the other, the real contest is the Primary of the party with the majority in that district. If you want a voice in these one-sided districts, you need to be registered as a member of the majority party. This is especially important if you are dissatisfied with an elected official of that majority party and would like to see him / her ousted in a Primary.
In New York State, there is a difference between the effective date of the “voter registration” and the effective date of the “party registration”. A registration to vote in the general election takes place immediately but a “party registration” does not take place until AFTER the coming November’s 2017 election. Anyone who registers for a specific party between now and November2017 will not be able to vote in a PRIMARY this year (in 2017) but they will be able to vote in a Primary in 2018. If one registers for a specific party the day AFTER this November‘s election (November 8, 2017) they will NOT be able to vote in any 2018 primaries as they will not be eligible to vote in a primary until after the November 2018 elections.
Elected officials in New York like this under-publicized and complicated process as it creates a cooling-off period for potential Primary voters who are dissatisfied with the incumbent. A dissatisfied person who is NOT registered in a party may get upset with an incumbent, this year, and show up to vote in the primary but will not get to vote even if they registered in that party this year.
This lengthy period for party registration does prevent people from hopping between parties in order to influence more than one primary.
Many New Yorkers – especially in Upstate - are dissatisfied with the political ruling class and view their only option is moving to another state. But gun owners, by themselves, could be a powerful weapon of change if they would vote. There are about 4 million gun owners in New York State and Cuomo won the last election with 2.1 million votes while Astorino had 1.5 million votes. Somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million gun owners did not vote; more than enough to change the election and change the future of Upstate New York.
In 2018, the New York State Governorship as well as all NY Assembly and NY Senate seats will be on the ballot. If you want to vote in a primary, you need to get registered in a party, this year, before November 2017.
You can help change history by registering for a party, voting in the primaries and general elections and by contributing to SCOPE PAC. Votes and money are the two things that politicians need. SCOPE PAC is a separate organization from SCOPE and, as such, it can spend money in support of candidates or causes while SCOPE has limits on what it can do. Candidates are already starting to surface and if SCOPE PAC is to have an impact it comes through money. Please consider a donation to SCOPE PAC. (See our ad in Firing Lines for details.)
By Richard Rossi, Delaware County
In this issue of "The Firing Lines", I would like to discuss JURY DUTY. Is the Jury Duty notice letter you get in the mail is a curse or blessing? Is your first thought - how can I get out of this or is this my privilege to serve? Don't take Jury Duty lightly.
I would like to briefly speak about “JURY NULLIFICATION”. Never heard the term, don't be surprised. It is NOT something that Judges, District Attorneys, and Prosecutors readily speak about to juries or Grand Juries for that matter.
For citizens to defend against corrupt politicians and their corrupt laws, you must get on the jury. Therefore, you need to be especially careful NOT to 'tip your hand' on your knowledge of your rights concerning 'Nullification'.
When questioned, state you do not keep track of political issues and consider variously stating that you can apply the law as instructed by the court. Especially in gun related cases, be vague and don't readily state that you are a member of gun right groups or originations. Use Hillary's defense - I don't recall... I get so many requests for contributions, I just can't keep track of all of them.
While on a panel, you will at times, be forced to 'stand your ground' against other jurors - don't cave on your convictions. Jurors, for the most part, want to go home and get it over with. Holding your ground - might get additional jurors to vote along with you. Be polite and don't shout - speak calmly. Try to get the others to listen to your reasoning. However, if all fails, don't vote along with the rest. You have every right to vote 'NOT GUILTY' If your personal convictions say this is an unjust law.
Depending on the circumstances, at times - only one 'NOT GUILTY' can be the difference. Remember a 'HUNG JURY', IS better than a conviction!
However, at times, with grand juries, you might need to get more jurors on your side, as a majority might be all that is required for either a dismissal of the case or hold it over. However, if you preserve and hold to your convictions, you can make our democracy work for the common man.
Remember, instructions and oaths are designed to 'bully jurors' and protect political power - instructions and oaths are NOT LEGALLY BINDING. Your conscience is your best guide in the juror box and in deliberation room.
You must know your rights - Jury nullification is your right to refuse to enforce bad laws and bad prosecutions. Nullification is your personal veto against bad laws. Nullification is your right to veto corrupt laws from corrupt politicians.
Alexander Hamilton, an American Founder, said in 1804, 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."
Jurors have authority - when you are a juror, you have the right to decide both law and fact. You can protect yourself and friends and family by refusing to enforce bad laws. In our system of checks and balances, you, the juror, are the final judge of law and justice.
Jurors can use discretion. If the law violates any human rights, you must vote NO against that law by voting 'NOT GUILTY". You cannot be punished for your verdict. You need not give a reason.
Jurors must question the law. In American courtrooms there are 12 judges plus the one in the robe. In fact, one court 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).
Juries and jurors have the power over our corrupt system of laws that are being forced down our throat by political agenda's. 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 juror have the power... JURY NULLIFICATION.
The next time you receive a juror duty notice, stand up and cheer. You are one of the most powerful individuals in our country. You can make a true difference. You can take back our Rights and Freedoms. KNOWLEDGE is POWER and JURY NULLIFICATION is your weapon.
As a Law-abiding gun owner or Concealed Carry Permit hold 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 your hour to shine. You can make the NYS SAFE Act just words without any POWER - just like they are doing with our Second Amendment Rights and Freedoms.
Your FIRST objective is to get on that jury panel. Get on that Jury or Grand Jury and vote NOT GUILTY to any and all laws that infringe our Rights & Freedoms to self defense of our loved ones or ourselves. Self preservation is a natural instinct of human mankind no government has the right to take that right away from you.
Jury Nullification may be the FINAL peaceful barrier between Law-abiding gun owners and a tyrannical government dependent upon disarming honorable citizens.
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 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 by our representatives. When the public does not show up, it sends a message to our various boards - they can do as they please without and consequences. NO one is watching or caring. Attend, be vocal... defend your convictions. You can make a difference.
I encourage each and every one, to read and understand all you can concerning 'JURY NULLIFICATION'. Go to WWW.FIJA.ORG to read much more on this very important topic.
By Henry S. Kramer
Many Americans are unaware of the details of how our legal system works. Which government – federal or state-controls which aspects of our lives? Which court will hear a case? What does it mean when a district court judge enjoins a presidential executive order? What is our court system like?
There is a hierarchy of laws. At the top of the pyramid is the Constitution, followed by statute (or legislated) laws, then regulations issued under those laws, then guidelines. Executive agencies have to follow executive orders. There are a plethora of federal and state administrative agencies, (the bureaucracy), some of which, like the Federal Reserve, operate fairly independently.
Every American citizen (except those dwelling in the District of Columbia) is subject to two sovereign levels of government, federal and state. In DC, there is no state government; the city government operates under federal authority.
The states are the lowest sovereign level of government. Under U.S. Supreme Court law, cities, counties, towns, and all local governments are mere sub-divisions of the state government. The state government can establish, abolish, modify, mandate, or do what it wishes with local governments, unless restricted by state constitutions.
In many areas of the law, both the federal government and the state may act on their citizens and on residents within their borders. This is called concurrent jurisdiction. There are some cases where the federal government, using the Constitution’s supremacy clause, has entirely preempted the state government of authority (for example the National Labor Relations Act regarding unionization). When there is concurrent jurisdiction, the state laws may go further than federal law but may not override federal law. One example of this is the recreational or medical marijuana law in a state like Colorado. The state can decriminalize marijuana use under state law, which protects people from state prosecution as long as they adhere to the terms of the state law. However, all marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. The state cannot override or overturn this federal law, so it cannot protect people in these states from federal prosecution.
There are some areas of the law confided exclusively to the federal government such as coining money or waging war. The federal government also enforces immigration law. Although some cities claim to be “sanctuary cities”, local laws cannot override federal ones and the federal government has the authority to enforce federal law. While local officials may not be forced to cooperate, active obstruction of federal enforcement is not lawful and it may also result in the withholding of federal funds.
There are some areas in which there are three levels of government that claim authority. In civil rights there is the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and in some counties a Human Rights Commission that enforce similar laws.
Crimes are based on legislative (statutory) law. Most crimes are under the general police power of state criminal laws. The federal government, too, can create federal statutory crimes but most “garden house” prosecutions are done under state law.
What is our court system like? At the lowest state court levels we have small claims, justice of the peace, and city and town courts. These have limited jurisdiction confined to just certain types of cases and dollar amounts in issue.
The lowest level of general court jurisdiction in New York State is surprisingly -and confusingly called the New York State Supreme Court. (Because it had general jurisdiction in colonial times it was considered to be “supreme”.) Since then, New York has added two higher tiers of courts: the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court handles appeals, many by right, from the New York Supreme Court; and the New York Court of Appeals which is the highest level court of New York State law and has control and discretion over most of the cases that litigants seek to take there.
The judgments rendered by these courts have different effects on other courts. Judgments of the State Supreme Court are not binding on other state Supreme Court judges. Decisions of the Appellate Division are binding precedent only in the judicial department in which they sit. Decisions of the New York Court of Appeals are binding state wide. The federal court system is parallel and there are some special courts such as bankruptcy court and tax court.
At the lowest general jurisdiction level are the United States District Courts. These are trial courts, that is, they hear and decide both the facts (sometimes with a jury) and the law. On appeal, in both federal and state systems, higher level courts review the law, not the facts.
The next higher level of the federal system is the U.S. Courts of Appeals. These are regional. Appeals at this level are generally heard by panels of three judges and rarely will all the judges in a circuit sit together on a case. Decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals are binding in their own circuit and influential in the other circuits. These are the second highest level of courts in the U.S.
The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Very few cases can start at this level (e.g. suits between states); most Supreme Court cases are appeals. The Supreme Court has discretion whether or not to hear most cases and it hears relatively few cases; it takes four justices voting to hear a case for the matter to reach the court. Most often the cases they hear involve major principles of law and are there because the U.S. Courts of Appeals have ruled differently on the law creating a split between the circuits. Important federal issues also may be reviewed. There are nine justices. To create binding national precedent, a decision must have five votes. If a plurality opinion decides the case, it leaves the door open for the court to eventually rule differently on the issue. The court is normally very deferential to its prior decisions and although it can overrule prior decisions it rarely does overrule them. More often, the court may “distinguish” a case from its predecessors and so begin to change the law in that way.
Cases involving laws enforced at administrative agencies often substitute the trial phase of a litigation with a hearing at the agency in lieu of the U.S. District Court. Appeals generally go from there to the U.S. Courts of Appeals. However, appeals from some agency hearings can and do go to the U.S. District Courts.
Not every case can start in the federal system. To go there, there must be either a substantial federal question in issue or the parties must be from different states with at least a certain dollar amount at issue. Most cases are handled in the state court system. On questions of state law (which do not involve federal constitutional issues), the state courts have the last word. However, if a case reaches the state’s highest court and there is a federal constitutional issue, the litigant can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case on appeal. This is what happened in Gore v. Bush, concerning the outcome of a presidential election in Florida, which raised federal questions.
Judges in the federal system are appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and serve for life on good behavior. They can be removed only by impeachment. Judges in state systems may be appointed or elected - it varies by state - and may serve for life or a term of office.
An injunction is a court order forbidding the doing of some act. Federal district judges traditionally avoided making constitutional law decisions, leaving that to higher courts. Alas, no more. Federal district court judges now are prone to issuing orders and even declaring these are of national effect. Of course, these injunctions can be appealed, but this takes time. So, the parties may “forum shop” and try to find a federal district court judge they think will lean their way. As these orders don’t bind other judges, there can be conflicting orders and these have to be sorted out by higher courts.
That, in a nutshell, is how our system works. There are variations that are not discussed but those are the basics of the system.
By John Prendergast – Chairman
The old saying is that when you want something done, ask a busy man to head up the work. Well Leigh Williams our Yates County SCOPE (YC SCOPE) Vice Chairman is that man. Leigh has worked tirelessly with the High Schools in Yates County; Dundee, Penn Yan Academy and Marcus Whitman to get the 1st year of competition underway here in Yates County.
Here is how the program was born. Leigh engaged with Mr. Tom Schmandt, the Athletic Director at Palmyra Macedon High School about getting the Clay Trap League going in Yates County. After a presentation by Tom and Mr. David Dandino at one of our monthly meetings in Penn Yanin 2016, Leigh was off and on a mission.
Contact with the three High Schools was undertaken by Leigh. As one might expect, the schools were busy with the day to day operations at their schools. Getting the attention of the Administration and the Athletic Directors took some work, but that is to be expected. Once contact was initiated the acceptance of having a shooting program was quickly accepted by all of the Schools Administration. The Athletic Directors at each school, Dundee; Sheldon Gibson, Penn Yan; Tobin Tansey, and Marcus Whitman; Paul Lahue took over the task of acquiring coaches for the program. Again the faculty responded quickly and the program was underway.
YC SCOPE quickly turned its attention to helping the embryonic program by looking at how we might be able to add financial support. It was quickly recognized by Leigh Williams that the cost of a shooting program is very dependent on targets, ammunition, coaches safety training.
Fundraising in support of youth shooting sports has been underway with YC SCOPE for some 10 years or more. We have a history in Yates County of working with 4-H Shooting Sports. The 4-H program is run by Jen Clancey at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Yates County. To finance the shooting program, YC SCOPE works with The Elks Lodge in Penn Yan along with the 4-H organization in putting on a Chicken and Biscuit Dinner to raise funds. The youth and families of the students receiving the funds volunteer working at the event along with SCOPE members. The success of this program has funded the 4-H program by allowing SCOPE to purchase; air rifles, 22 caliber and black powder rifles along with Shotguns as well as a Gun Safes for storage. SCOPE has also purchased Bow and Arrows for use in this part of the Shooting program.
For funding of the Clay Trap League,YC SCOPE turned to expanding the annual Chicken and Biscuit Dinner. By reaching out to the three area High Schools, students, parents and grandparents, attendance for dinner was expanded. The community in general responded in support to the effort to finance the shooting programs. The evening of the dinner, we served some 340 dinners from 4 to 7 pm. Everyone, students were very busy serving, bussing and doing dishes. The dinner was very successful and a big hit with the community.
Two organizations came up big at this event. The Penn Yan Elks Lodge donated all of the food for the dinner. The Elks provided the location, purchased and prepared the food, then donated the cost of all of this to the youth of Yates County. How great is that.
The Whitetail Unlimited Inc. of New York contacted Leigh Williams and stated that they heard about the YC SCOPE support of the Clay Trap League. The local chapter from Dundee, NY, Mr. Mike VanZile attended the event, brought a rifle to raffle off at the event, handled the raffle and at the end of the evening wound up donating $600.00 in support of the youth. A big thank you goes out to Mike and the Whitetail Unlimited organization.
Leigh Williams has met, or is meeting with the three high schools in Yates County. The YC SCOPE Board voted to donate $1000.00 to each shooting club at the schools to help them with the shooting sports expenses. Leigh is presenting these funds to the schools along with the request that the YC SCOPE Board requests a receipt at the end of the year showing how and where the funds have been expended.
YC SCOPE encourages each County in the state to undertake the support of a similar program. We will be more than willing to work with you to develop such an undertaking.
By Edwin Taber
For a number of years now the news and entertainment media have negatively impacted an important American institution known as the militia. Defaming the militia has become standard practice in an attempt to convince people that the militia is a bunch of crazy people running around in the woods with guns for no good purpose.
I am writing this in hopes of clearing up the perception of the militia and to restore it to a place of public trust and confidence. I will in as few words as possible summarize the constitutional role of the state government in providing for the continued service of the militia in the defense and protection of the people of this great land.
The state government and militia relationship begins in the New York State Constitution, Article XII: “The defense and protection of the state and of the United States is an obligation of all persons within the state. The legislature shall provide for the discharge of this obligation and for the maintenance and regulation of an organized militia.” ref: New York State Constitution, Article XII.
The language of Article XII of the New York State Constitution was adopted following the language of the New York Convention of July 7, 1788 as it considered the role of the militia in the new government:
“The militia should always be kept well organized, armed and disciplined, and include, according to the past usages of the state, all men capable of bearing arms, and that no regulations tending to render the general militia useless and defenseless, by establishing select corps of militia, of distinct bodies of men, not having permanent interests and attachments to the community, ought to be made.”
“That the people have the right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state.” ref: The New York Convention July 7, 1788.
The New York State Legislature is to:
1. “...provide for the discharge of this obligation...”
A. What is the obligation? The obligation is for the legislature to provide by non-infringement the freedom and means necessary for all persons within the state to present an immediate and effective response to any and all external [defense] and internal [protection] threats to the institutions and citizens of both the state in which they reside as well as to the United States.
B. How does the legislature provide for this discharge of the obligation?
1. It does not infringe on the arms, drill or parade of the Citizen Militia identified in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution and the Civil Rights Law of New York State.
2. Gives the Citizen Militia access to state resources for training, drill and other necessary regulation for the purpose of creating an effective organization capable of acting as intended.
3. Promote respect and legislate co-operation with state agencies and law enforcement.
4. Make arsenal, magazines and military stores available to the citizen militia that are provisioned to address current and anticipated threats.
5. Support community youth and adult programs to develop skills and knowledge necessary for effective militia service.
Ref: 1. The Second Amendment to the US Constitution.
2. The Civil Rights Laws of New York State, Section 4. II. “...(provide) for the maintenance and regulation of an organized militia.”
A. How is the organized militia regulated by the state legislature?
B. What is the organized militia?
1. There are two levels of organized militia – federal and state.
2. The federal organized militia is the National Guard and the Naval Militia.
3. The state organized militia is the National Guard, the Naval Militia and the New York Guard.
4. Both federal and state organized militia are supported by the unorganized militia, which is a militia reserve.
1. Title 10 United States Code Section 311.
2. There are 32 Code of Federal Regulations.
3. Laws of New York State, Military, Section 2.
How does the militia fit into our homeland security strategy? This is the reserve structure of our primary security which is the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines: [Standing Military]
1. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Reserves. [Standing Military]
2. National Guard and Naval Militia [Select Militia]
3. State Guard [Select Militia]
4. Unorganized Militia of the United States Militia and the state militia [Select Militia]
5. The armed citizenry is the pool from which all of the above are drawn [Citizen Militia]
There are two separate and distinct militia provided for by state and federal law:
1. The government militia which is a select militia.
a. This is found in Article 1 Section 8 #15 and #16 of the US Constitution.
b. It is also found in the Military Laws of New York, Section 2.
2. The Citizen Militia of the people.
a. This is found in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. It is a right of the people.
b. It is also found in the Civil Rights Laws of New York State, Section 4. It is a civil right.
By Richard Rossi, Delaware County SCOPE
I realize that Independence Day has passed by the time you received this issue of the Firing Lines. I hope you took a few minutes out of all the celebrations to ‘thank’ our first Patriots who fought for our rights - Liberty, Freedom and the establishment of our Republic and, of course, our veterans as well as the men and women currently serving in our armed forces. That being said, I would first like to talk about our GUN RIGHTS as Law-abiding American Citizens.
As we all know, our "Bill of Rights" is the first ten amendments to the Constitution (ratified December 15, 1791). Our Founding Fathers clearly intended these to be Rights of all American Citizens and not to be privileges granted by our government to the people. The concept of the "right to keep and bear arms" predates our Constitution. It is an unalienable right of self preservation that dates back to the creation of man. It is man’s nature to protect his life from death and danger.
The 2nd Amendment is a right that our citizens may choose whether or not to exercise. If a citizen does not wish to own a firearm, by choice, that is his/her right. However, no one can say that we cannot freely exercise this right if we choose. In our effort to protect and defend gun rights, does stating that we are pro-gun establish a barrier right at the start of our conversations with the anti-gun movement folks?
People that are anti-gun believe guns are bad and as soon as they hear those words - they are against you. You have lost any opportunity for discussion in the first critical seconds. A better way to start a conversation would be stating “I am ProRights”, followed by “How about you”? If they are anti-rights; then you have the upper hand.
How can anyone not be pro-rights, pro-freedom and pro-self-defense? At this point, the conversation has taken on a completely new twist and it is in your favor. This is exactly what the anti-gun groups and the media have been doing for years. How many times have you heard, "If it saves just one life it is worth it", in connection with so-called “common sense gun laws"?How can you not be for saving lives?
If someone asks about 'Assault Weapons' and asks, “Do you think common citizens should be allowed to own one”? Your first response should be, “What is an assault weapon? Assault is a behavior, not hardware. What are you talking about”? Then you can follow with, “I believe it is appropriate for law-abiding citizens to own common household firearms”.
If someone asks, “Do you believe in Gun Control”. Respond - I am for Crime control, how about you? Undoubtedly, they will respond yes - how can they say no. This opens the door to the use of firearms for legitimate reasons of self-defense by both citizens and the police.
Ask the question, “Who is the First Responder on either workplace violence or any mass-shooting or terror attack”? Better yet, ask, “Who is the ‘First Responder’ in a confrontation”? The typical response will involve the police or some law enforcement person. Wrong answer. The First Responders ARE THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN THE INITIAL ONSET OF THE INCIDENT. When seconds count between life and death, you and only you are the ones that need to react in self-preservation mode.
Dialing 911 (wishing, hoping and praying a man with a gun arrives to save the day) or waiting for LEO's to arrive may get you killed. This is why 'Gun-Free Zones' are a safe-haven for criminals. They are counting on Law-abiding citizen's being unarmed and they know well that they will be safe to inflict their carnage, free from armed intervention, for the first critical minute or two.
As gun owners and citizens that believe guns save lives, we need to be aware and use the anti-gun movements terms against them. We need to think outside the box. You get the picture.... You will never convince the indoctrinated anti-gun person to see your side of the conversation; however, we need to reach the 'middle of the roaders'. The individuals that are on the fence are the ones we need to reach and convert. They have heard the rhetoric that is being thrown around to make non-gun owners fearful for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
These are the individuals you, as gun-owners, need to reach and pull into our court. This is where we can make the best possible difference. The anti-gun groups and media will at every instance of a shooting, start their fear agenda campaign again for more “common sense” gun control measures. They will immediately need to move while this is in the minds of law-abiding citizens. What better motivation than fear; facts are not needed. Assault weapon and high capacity magazines will be publicized if a rifle was used as will the need for more gun-free zones and more background checks. ”How did this mentally unstable individual get a gun” will be asked. The need for a 10 round magazine limit will be seen as too many. We need to do more to end the violence and the unneeded deaths of these innocent victims but we need to focus on the ‘root causes’.
Law-abiding citizens do not commit crimes. Criminals do not abide by gun control measures and laws. We need to investigate our criminal justice system, plea bargaining, and our mental health and services departments. Why are criminals on the street? Why are repeat offenders getting reduced sentences and parole? Why are the seriously mentally ill on the streets? Ask any anti-gun individual or group to respond to these questions and they may quickly and automatically switch the emphasis to the weapon rather than the individual responsible for the assault.
Unfortunately, our society has removed individual responsibility and made it society’s responsibility to prevent and be responsible for these actions. There is another issue to be considered, beyond direct intervention with the anti-Second Amendment left. Last month, I came across an article (don't recall the author or the source) that was concerned with the system of 'Checks and Balances' that our founding fathers put in place to prevent abuse by any one branch of government - Executive, legislative or judicial. The concept, in my opinion, was well conceived and relevant.
Our Supreme Court Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The process is politically biased for the most part. Our SC is today composed of members that are biased towards either the Republican or Democratic view points and philosophy. The intent of our Founding Fathers was to insure that our Constitution would be followed and this branch of our government would serve as an ultimate litmus test. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this is no longer true.
Many of the decisions have been biased and are based on unconstitutional grounds. These individuals serve for life and 'We the People' have no say in their appointment or their removal. Should term and age limits be added? Some food for thought... We have seen how Second Amendment issues have played over the past several years. A few cases have reached the SC level with, perhaps, more in the future as lower courts keep infringing on our 2nd Amendment rights.
We know for certain our District Courts, Appeal Courts and many lower courts are biased. We have countless 'gun laws' being imposed all across this country with bias motives and without Constitutional review We may soon be seeing how our safety as a nation is at risk; will the SC stand behind the Presidents sworn oath to keep our nation safe and confirm his Executive Orders as Constitutional? Will politics influence our SC to the point of placing our nation in danger? The answers will be revealed in time.
The only chance for Law-abiding gun owners is to get involved, vote out the 'Gun Grabbers' from every elected office all across this country; from city and town Mayors to your State Senators and every political office in between. If you did not get an opportunity to read the last issue (May/ June) of ‘Firing Lines’; please read the article on JURY DUTY, it concerns ‘JURY NULLIFICATION’. Don't let our original Patriots who fought and died for our independence down. They put everything on the line for our Nation. Ensure that our Rights and Freedoms are enduring and everlasting in their honor. These men and boys - some as young as nine years old and many in their teens, fought and some died for us.
In Warsaw, NY a hearing was held to amend the law that bans pistol permit holders from carrying in county buildings. The monthly Board of Supervisors meeting was packed and 12 speakers voiced their opinion, for and against the potential change in law. The Wyoming County chapter of SCOPE was instrumental in this legislation. They worked with the public safety committee in drafting the potential change. Some of the speakers were from SCOPE, including chapter chair Mark Yount II. New Yorkers Against Gun Violence representative Gary Pudup was there to voice his disapproval of the proposed amendment. Unfortunately, even if the amendment is passed, certain state and federal regulations would supersede the county’s proposed legislation. This means concealed carry would still be prohibited in the hospital, mental health buildings, social services buildings, the courthouse and the Ag and Business center, since some tenants there fall under federal regulations.
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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