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  • 06/06/2024 8:11 AM | Anonymous

    New York: End-of-Session Typically Means More Gun Control

    NRA-ILA Wednesday, June 5, 2024
    New York is entering the final days of the 2024 legislative session and a flurry of gun control is swirling in Albany. With anti-gun super majorities and limited debate, the unrelentless appetite to penalize gun owners and ignore actual criminals continues. It's critical that gun owners engage by using the take action button below to contact their Assembly members to help stop this last-minute surge.

    On Tuesday, the Senate passed several more gun control bills which include:

    S.4818 establishes a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of any firearm. The bill passed the Senate 42-19. The Assembly companion bill, A.5696, is still in an Assembly Committee.

    S.8479 requires payment card networks to use certain merchant category codes for firearms dealers. This intrusive bill is dangerous and a massive invasion of privacy. This type of data collection is used to create registries and blackball gun owners. The Assembly companion bill, A.9862, is still in committee in the Assembly.

    S.2086 establishes a voluntary waiver of the right to purchase firearms, rifles, and shotguns. The Assembly companion bill is A.565 and is still in committee.

    S.138A, which strikes a blow to NRA-certified instructors, requires certification of instructors to be done by the Department of Criminal Justice Services. The Assembly companion bill, A.6663A is still in an Assembly Committee.

    S.7392A relates to the creation of a public nuisance created by the sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing, and marketing of firearms. This bill and its Assembly counterpart, A.7555A, have both passed.

    S.8589/A.7717B relates to extreme risk protection orders. New York already has an ERPO law, but this legislation expands the class of petitioners. The bill has passed both chambers.

    There are other bills that remain in the hopper, which are equally bad. Among them, gun owners should be concerned about a lead ammunition ban on state public hunting lands and legislation to certify “personalized firearms” or “smart guns” as technologically viable. This, of course, is nothing more than an attempt to ban the new sale of traditional handguns.

    Again, contact your Assembly Member and urge them to oppose any new gun control in the final days of the 2024 session!

  • 06/03/2024 10:37 AM | Anonymous

    Insufficient Gun Owner Involvement in Unsuccessful Herrera Race Will Not Go Unnoticed    Ammoland Inc. Posted on June 1, 2024 by David Codrea

    Establishment Republicans have spoken. Gun owners have responded. And Democrats couldn’t be happier. (Team Tony/Facebook)

    “U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales prevails in primary runoff over gun influencer Brandon Herrera,” The Texas Tribune reported Wednesday. “The race became a referendum on the San Antonio Republican’s vote to support a bipartisan gun control package after the Uvalde school shooting.”

    It also became a referendum — and a bellwether — for how involved gun owners are willing to involve themselves in the political process, and the results will no doubt encourage Democrats looking to this and the upcoming races for weaknesses to exploit, as well as Republicans looking to maintain the status quo.

    Per The New York Times, with 95% of the vote tallied, Gonzales got 15,023 votes, and Herrera got 14,616. The difference between victory and loss was a mere 407 votes.

    Per the U.S. Census, there were over 575,000 people over 18 in District 23 at last count. Even factoring out foreign nationals and illegal aliens who aren’t supposed to vote, that’s still an order of magnitude of eligible citizens voluntarily disenfranchising themselves.

    “Measuring ownership is tricky, but there are snapshots,” The Texas Tribune noted in a 2022 analysis. “From 1980 to 2016, 46% of Texans, on average, had a firearm in their household…” Then factor in the District 23 majority is Republican down the line, president, senators, and congressman, and it’s hardly a wild leap to conjecture that 408 more votes for Herrera were more than doable.

    Especially considering what big business area gun shows are. (Don’t get me started.)

    Frustratingly, getting the right candidate depended on what gun owners were willing to do, and in this case, it wasn’t enough. But the community is not a monolith, so perhaps looking at types of gun owners will give clues as to where the potential for better participation exists. It’s also relevant to recall a quote attributed to the ancient Greek statesman Pericles:

    “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”

    First there are Fudds, hunters and sport shooters who either aren’t involved in politics, don’t get involved unless it’s their ox being gored, are willing to throw EBR (Evil Black Rifle) owners under the bus, and worst of all, Fudds for Biden and their ilk. If they’re not persuaded by now that their turn in the barrel will come, chances are efforts to recruit them will fall on deaf ears.

    Another group resistant to persuasion are the TINVOWOOTers, those who maintain “There is No Voting Our Way Out of This.” Ultimately, they may be right, who knows? And that’s the point. We don’t know when, we don’t know where, and in the meantime, we see signs that participating in citizenship and using the remarkable framework bequeathed us by the Framers can yet bear fruit: The Supreme Court’s Bruen decision on the Second Amendment and just now unanimously siding with the NRA on the First are but two examples. And regardless of the way things ultimately go for Donald Trump in court (if some government actor doesn’t take him out), perhaps enough outraged Americans, realizing that Joe Biden is an irredeemably corrupt dolt, will make a stolen election too risky to try. In any case, we could all use more time to prepare before things fall apart, and gun owners dropping out now serves no one whose intentions are good.

    A third group offers promises for improvements, gun owners who attempt in various degrees to stay informed and involved. We’re talking a mixed bag, though, with some immersed in activism, joining national and state gun groups and spreading the word, and others limiting their contributions to angry comments under articles. Everyone in this group knows work needs to be done, but not everyone lends a shoulder to the wheel, so we’ll see grassroots efforts where 10% of the members do 90% of the work, and we’ll see the same ratio sharing links to important articles via emails and ADVOCACY media (“social” media is for kitten pictures).  Unfortunately, an even smaller number actively involve themselves in political campaigns and donate or do the necessary grunt work (precinct walking, campaign  banks, poll monitoring, etc.)

    The Democrats beat “us” at organizing just about every time, and while there’s a bit of validity to the “we have jobs and families” excuse, in the end that’s what it is—an excuse. Plenty of us have jobs and families and still manage to do what we consider our civic duty with the time, resources, and talents that we have, and to join with like minds, find what we can do and do it. And that brings us to the fourth group, one I have no answer for.

    “We have no shortage of expectations and strong opinions about what we want. But when it comes time to step up to the plate, things get awfully quiet,” I wrote in my January 2007 Rights Watch” column for Guns Magazine, “Profiles in Apathy.”

    In it, I recalled three endeavors where gun owner involvement was needed, electing one of ours against a gun-grabber, supporting a man persecuted by the Democrat political establishment for his efforts to recall an “assault weapon ban” author, and a national advertising campaign to spread the word on the Second Amendment. All ultimately mirrored the story of “The Little Red Hen,” where plenty wanted to eat the bread, but good luck finding help planting wheat.

    If this doesn’t change, correction, if we don’t change that, gun owners will be telling two supposedly opposite groups they can get away with more betrayals and infringements.

    First will be establishment Republicans. Biden Bipartisan Gun Ban Bill backer Tony Gonzales got a big boost when NRA A-rated Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed him instead of red meat 2A Brandon Herrera. And now Tony’s out there doubling down on his betrayal – with CNN. So, when November rolls around, what are gun owners going to do? Vote for the gun-grabbing Democrat?

    No wonder Vichycons feel like they can get away with feeding us anything and we’re going to keep eating it. Alternatively, why should true believers put their lives on hold and themselves out there if the people they’re trying to represent leave them hanging? (And don’t say “Libertarian” unless you’re good with “the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.”)

    The Democrats are also watching and taking note. Experts at Astroturfing, they know gun owners don’t have “angels” (wrong word?) like billionaire Michael Bloomberg to finance their subversion, and our efforts, from funding lawsuits against infringements to supporting candidates, and everything in between, depend on what individuals are willing to do.

    They have to be encouraged by what they’ve just witnessed.
    The question now is, is this what we — and they —
    should expect from now until November?!

  • 04/11/2024 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    Will NY be the State that Destroys All Government Gun Permitting Schemes!?

    Ammoland Inc. Posted on April 10, 2024 by Roger Katz

    After decades of denying the individual right to bear arms and three landmark Supreme Court cases in the Twenty-first century refuting that myth, New York is now in the crosshairs.

    “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed” ~ Isaiah 10 (KJV)

    dumb guns self destruction democrats war on guns fail iStock-demaerre 501363876.jpg

    For decades, many people serving in the Federal or State Governments across the land, as well as many academicians, have wrongly postulated that the Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms does not refer to an individual right but a collective right.

    This mis-perception is grounded not on sound legal and logical analysis but on bias—a personal animus directed toward armed self-defense.

    More particularly, this hostility derives from a stark abhorrence of the well-armed citizenry as a check on government tyranny.

    It isn’t the prospect of tyranny or government encroachment on the sovereignty of the American people over the government that troubles proponents of the “collective rights” argument, but rather the fact that the armed citizen can effectively resist that tyranny.

    Over the past decades, the Federal Government has amassed incredible power—an unconstitutional usurpation of power.

    While this troubles many Americans, it troubles few others who find it tolerable, acceptable, and even commendable since it is presumed essential to the end goal of governmental power absolutism, which is considered a good thing to some. This quest is borne of an attitude.

    This attitude results from strict adherence to a sociopolitical-economic philosophy that is at odds with our Nation’s history, heritage, and core values, as reflected in the Articles of the Constitution and, more directly, in our unique Bill of Rights—a set of Natural Law Rights, emanating from the Divine Creator—fundamental, unalienable, unmodifiable, unbroken, persistent, and eternal.

    Many Americans and many State Governments correctly understand this and realize the need for America’s armed citizenry, no less today than in the past, as our Country is awash in violent crime.

    As an uncaring Federal Government amasses more power unto itself, it uses none of that power and authority to serve the American people but, instead, to harm the people, in service to itself to secure ends antithetical to those of the people—consolidating power to cement its tyranny over the people.

    A Tyrannical Government will not tolerate the armed citizenry.

    Not until the first decade of the Twenty-First Century did Americans who cherish their natural law right to armed self-defense successfully challenge the erroneous collective rights idea of the Second Amendment, which had held stubbornly sway for so many years and decades and impliedly embraced a notion of the Government as sovereign over the people rather than the Government beholden to the people with the people as the sole sovereign over the Government.

    A dangerous transformation of the role of the Government and its relationship to the people has gradually taken shape. It is one at odds with the concept of a Free Constitutional Republic.

    A backlash was brewing. And it came none too soon in the face of a torrent of bizarre and unconscionable political and societal notions thrust on the public psyche through a concerted and diabolical propaganda campaign meant to confound the citizen’s rational thought processes and fracture his moral sense.

    In the 2008 landmark case, District of Columbia vs. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court responded to Americans’ justified outrage at states’ continued defilement of the natural law right to armed self-defense.

    Through comprehensive elucidation, the High Court had, at long last, made unambiguously and unequivocally plain that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is an individual right—a right unconnected to a person’s service in a militia.

    A basic rational, common-sense understanding of the need to protect oneself with effective means from aggressive assault only buttresses the Court’s legal and logical analysis in Heller.

    Many States that traditionally abhor the idea of civilian citizen possession of firearms balked and, looking for an “off-ramp,” claimed the Heller decision does not apply to them.

    Americans then challenged that idea, and the U.S. Supreme Court again responded by ruling in a second landmark case, McDonald vs. City of Chicago.

    In that 2010 case, the Court made plain that the fundamental, unalienable right to keep and bear arms applies to the States no less than it does to the Federal Government. No Government of men can lawfully countermand Divine Law, but some States dared to do so anyway. They continued to frustrate the exercise of the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

    This required the U.S. Supreme Court to step in yet again.

    In a third landmark case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) vs. Bruen, the High Court made plain the right to armed self-defense, implicit in the words, “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” applies in the public sphere as well as in one’s home.

    The U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s “Proper Cause” requirement in Bruen that offended that Truth.

    For well over a century, the New York State Government had maintained that no one has the right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside one’s home. “Proper Cause” was the instrument crafted to deny Americans’ right to armed self-defense outside the home. The New York Government created that standard for uniform application across the State.

    But, the State Legislature never defined what “Proper Cause” meant.

    It was left to the New York Courts to define Proper Cause” that would express the intent (or an intent) of the State Legislature in Albany.

    The Courts said “Proper Cause” means “special need,” which, more precisely, means “extraordinary need” to carry a handgun for self-defense. And, “extraordinary need,” referring to need beyond the ordinary, entailed the notion that a need grounded on basic self-defense when in public is insufficient to justify the issuance of a concealed handgun carry license.

    Since everyone could claim “self-defense,” especially in a major metropolitan area like New York City, prone to criminal violence, a person working or residing in the City would henceforth need to prove to the satisfaction of the licensing official (or officer) why the danger to that person’s life and well-being extended beyond the “ordinary” day-to-day danger of criminal violence that factored into everyone else’s life.

    This inevitably led to the creation of arbitrary standards. Meanwhile, New Yorkers who could not prove “extraordinary need” for a handgun would face and have faced violent, life-threatening assaults.

    It was then left to the various jurisdictions in New York to devise operational rules to effectuate the court definition of a “special” or “extraordinary” need sufficient to justify the issuance of a coveted unrestricted New York concealed handgun carry license.

    The principal jurisdiction in the State, the major municipality, New York City, devised elaborate operational rules, effectively restricting to a bare minimum the number of people who could legally carry (concealed) a handgun for self-defense.

    This was the intent of the NYPD Licensing Division, which the Municipal Government authorized to craft rules to effectuate “Proper Cause” for issuing a concealed handgun carry license that would permit the licensee to carry a handgun on his person in the City lawfully.

    Other jurisdictions never bothered to craft operational rules. In those jurisdictions, the licensing official would issue concealed handgun carry licenses to favored people. Generally, that would mean Government officials such as judges or powerful, wealthy, connected people.

    These ideas of issuing concealed handgun carry licenses to a privileged few or creating arbitrary rules benefitting some people to the exclusion of many others are anathema to the Second Amendment’s import.

    These ideas undermine the import of the “Common Man” by creating a “privileged” subset of people whom the Government bestows the “right” to armed self-defense.

    “Proper Cause,” as crafted and applied, is antagonistic and antithetical to the rulings and reasoning of the U.S. Supreme Court majority in the prior two landmark Second Amendment cases.

    The High Court was not amused at New York’s continued irascibility and defiance of the most basic of natural law rights.

    It saw New York’s “Proper Cause” requirement for what it was: an unconstitutional, unconscionable Government intrusion on an American’s fundamental, unalienable, enduring right—one deliberately, callously, and insidiously designed to frustrate the legitimate need of the average person, the “Common Man,” to protect his or her life against a dire threat.

    Carrying a handgun is the most effective means to deter a life-threatening assault, bar none.

    Long acknowledged as infinitely better than a knife, a whistle, martial arts, and, more recently, pepper spray, a handgun has, for the last two centuries, served the “Common Man” well as the singularly most effective means presently available for countering a deadly, aggressive assault on life where that threat remains commonplace and omnipresent, now as in the distant past—in the public sphere. This isn’t difficult to understand. It is simply common sense.

    As one academic scholar pointed out in a law review published in 2015, seven years before the Bruen decision came down,

    . . . [R]ecognition of the right to bear arms in public makes sense, while limiting the right to the home does not. People often need to defend themselves against criminal offenses outside the home. Most robberies, rapes, and assaults occur outside the home.  A ban on possession of handguns outside the home would be even more burdensome than the ban struck down in Heller: there the Court noted that homeowners could still keep shotguns or rifles in the home, which is not the case outside of the home.

    Some argue that, even if the Second Amendment was historically understood to protect the right to bear arms in public, it does not protect the right to bear handguns in public because effective handguns did not exist until around 1835. This argument is ‘frivolous’ after Heller, however, which states ‘the Second Amendment extends . . . even [to] those [arms] not in existence at the time of the founding.’ Alternatively, the very existence of state legislation prohibiting concealed carry, or public carry entirely, reveals a longstanding tradition of states being able to regulate the right. While it is true that state laws barring concealed carry have been upheld under the Second Amendment, these laws were typically only upheld where the ability to open carry was not infringed. [ Note: New York’s municipalities do not permit “open carry” of handguns, only “concealed carry”—and then, only if the civilian citizen has secured a valid concealed handgun carry license, which he must always have with him].

    From “The Constitutional ‘Terra Incognita’ Of Discretionary Concealed Carry Laws,” 2015 U. Ill. L. Rev. 909, 944-945 (2015), by Brian Enright.

    The New York Government, like many others, refuses to acknowledge the obvious—obstinately maintaining that “Public Safety” demands the “Common Man” be disarmed for the good of all. Really?

    Tell that to the family of a person whose life was snuffed out because he or she had applied for and was denied a handgun license for self-defense for failure to prove, to the satisfaction of the handgun licensing authority, “Proper Cause,” for issuance of a license.

    Apart from politicians like Kathy Hochul, it is the career criminal, the psychopathic, murderous gang member, and the violent, raging, drug-addled lunatic that delights in the prospect of a disarmed public.

    New York Governor Hochul, no less so than her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, detests the idea of civilian citizen possession of firearms.

    “Proper Cause” effectively subverted the Second Amendment and rested at the heart of the Handgun Law.

    It was an apt instrument—an expression of and actualization of the State’s belief system—thrust on the “Common Man,” the American citizen who happened to reside or work in New York.

    “Proper Cause” is an irrational response to an equally irrational attitude.

    By robbing the “Common Man” of his access to the best means available for effectuating the natural law right to self-defense, New York denied, in law, the sanctity of innocent human life.

    The State would never acknowledge this, but its Handgun Law entails that conclusion. Without the enactment of “Proper Cause,” New York could not have become an efficient “May Issue” State. It remained so for well over a century. But that smug self-complacency came crashing down.

    In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court released the Bruen decision.

    Hochul was irate and lashed out at the court’s rulings and the Justices. She did so immediately after the decision came down and continues to do so.

    But Hochul feigned indignation. As the consummate politician, she knew she could rely on favorable Press coverage from a sympathetic mainstream media. Like all petty tyrants, her fear isn’t predicated on the ridiculous idea that law-abiding armed citizens are prone to create a “wild-west” atmosphere. There is no evidence for that anywhere. The contrary holds. See, e.g., the article in “Freedom and Prosperity.”

    Presumed concern for ensuring “Public Safety” became the mantra for restricting the exercise of the Common Man’s fundamental, unalienable right to armed self-defense.

    Governor Hochul knew an adverse ruling was coming in Bruen—eight months before the decision was published—and her Government intended to be prepared for that exigency.

    She deciphered this after Oral Argument held in late November 2021.

    In the succeeding months before the publication of the Bruen decision, her government meticulously crafted amendments to the Handgun Law that, when implemented, would provide an adequate, if not ideal, substitute for “Proper Cause.”

    Plainly, Hochul had no intention of complying with the U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The Court’s Article III authority be damned.

    Her defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court rulings amounts to blatant disregard for and contempt for the U.S. Constitution, the foundation of a Free Constitutional Republic.

    The Hochul Government used all the state power, money, and authority it could muster to battle against the weight of the U.S. Constitution and the sacred, inviolate natural law rights of man, upon which our Nation has stood fast since its inception.

    The Hochul Government has devised two mechanisms that, together, substitute for “Proper Cause” that the High Court had struck down.

    These two mechanisms, cunningly crafted, operate in tandem.

    • One involves a substantially reworked, heavily bolstered “Good Moral Character” requirement.

    • The second involves the imposition of a “Sensitive Place” impediment to legally carrying a concealed handgun.

    The State invoked the “Character” requirement as an imposing hurdle for applicants to overcome to constrain the issuance of concealed handgun carry licenses.

    And, for those individuals who secure a New York concealed handgun carry license (many more individuals than had received such licenses when “Proper Cause” existed), the “Sensitive Place” impediment kicks in. This, a new requirement, severely constrains a licensee’s exercise of armed self-defense when carrying a handgun in public for self-defense.

    Concealed handgun carry, which had been unrestricted in New York for decades for self-defense in the public sphere of life, would henceforth be reduced in status to heavily restrictive lawful use in the public arena for self-defense.

    As the Hochul Government had undoubtedly intended, these amendments would compromise the licensee’s ability to lawfully defend him or herself in public when the need arose.

    Challenges to the constitutionality of the amendments to New York’s Handgun Law came quickly.

    Wending their way up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Court published its decision in December 2023. The case is Antonyuk vs. Chiumento, 89 F.4th 271 (2nd Cir. 2023). The Court mostly sided with the Hochul Government.

    The case is before the U.S. Supreme Court on a Writ of Certiorari. The High Court must take this case up for review, as the Second Circuit’s decision impacts and is inconsistent with Bruen. A loss for NY could see the end of all unconstitutional license or permitting schemes across the nation.

    Given the present and considerable danger to safety and well-being in New York and in various municipalities and States across the Country resulting from unchecked unvetted illegal entry of aliens into our Country, and to demoralized, handcuffed police departments across the Country, and to a flaccid, flawed criminal justice system, violent crime has metastasized at a geometric progression as the hardened, violent criminal has grown ever more confident.

    Innocent people become the playthings of vicious criminals and lunatics. This doesn’t perturb Kathy Hochul and Albany.

    Armed self-defense has become more important today to safeguard survival given a fragmenting society.

    But many New Yorkers have no intention of playing the victim in a Country transformed into a Beehive. The average person’s life means nothing to people like Hochul, Biden, and other Political Progressives and Marxists.

    With the ominous specter of Government autocracy becoming more evident every day, the citizen must be more cognizant of the predatory Government man-beast, no less so than he must be cognizant of the predatory criminal beast who preys on him at random and with abandon.

    While most States have acceded to the dictates of the natural law right of the citizen to take up arms in his defense and that of his family, especially in such dangerous times as these now upon us, several States have not deigned to accede to or even to acknowledge the natural law right to armed self-defense.

    Ironically, it is these latter States that also hamstring their police departments and kowtow to the criminal element and the Radical Left lunatic fringe to the detriment of the law-abiding, rational, and responsible citizen. New York is one of these jurisdictions.

    Governor Hochul and the Democrat Party-Controlled Legislature in Albany have abdicated their responsibility to the American citizen who resides and/or works in New York or otherwise does business in the State.

    It is bad enough that the Hochul Government has effectively washed its hands of New Yorkers. Worse, the Hochul Government won’t allow the American citizenry to provide for its defense against a society that has run amok.

    The New York Government’s antipathy toward armed self-defense, as evidenced in word and deed, must not be perceived in a vacuum.

    The Government’s public policy and the accompanying statements reflect a general suspicion of, a contemptuous attitude toward, and an abject disregard for the safety and welfare of the American people who reside and work in New York.

    This isn’t something that just happened recently. What exists today in the State is a product of what occurred in the past—the far-distant past.

    New York’s abhorrence of the right of the people to keep and bear arms is worth scrutiny, for New York is a microcosm of the view held by the present Biden Administration toward this most important of all natural law rights and mirrors much of the same antagonism toward the natural law right codified in the Second Amendment expressed by Governors in similar jurisdictions.

    We delve deep into this in the next several articles in the lead-up to the most important U.S. Presidential election in our lifetime. Will Tyranny continue to prevail and worsen or will the Country return to sanity and its historical roots? Woe to all of us if this Country continues down the present path.

  • 02/24/2024 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    Biometric Gun Safes Recalled Due to Serious Injury Hazard and Risk of Death; Imported by Awesafe

    Recalled Awesafe Gun Safe - closed

    Name of Product:  Awesafe Biometric Gun Safes

    Hazard:  The biometric lock on the safes can fail and be opened by unauthorized users, posing a serious injury hazard and risk of death.

    Remedy:  Replace

    Recall Date:  February 22, 2024

    Units:  About 60,000 Gun Safes Recalled Due to Serious Injury Hazard and Risk of Death Imported by Awesafe.pdf

  • 02/13/2024 12:44 PM | Anonymous

    Gov. Hochul announces special election for 26th Congressional District

    The special election to replace Congressman Brian Higgins in the House will be held on Tuesday, April 30.

    WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Governor Kathy Hochul announced Monday, a special election to replace Congressman Brian Higgins in the House, will be held on Tuesday, April 30.

    With Brian Higgins’ departure from Congress, a special election to ensure representation for the 26th District will be held in April,” Governor Hochul said. “From our days representing Western New York in Congress together to our partnership in the years since, I am grateful for Brian’s service to our State and our country. I wish him all the best as he embarks on a new chapter of service and look forward to working with his successor to improve the lives of New Yorkers.”

  • 01/22/2024 9:22 AM | Anonymous

    New York’s use of red-flag laws to seize guns has skyrocketed

    By Joanna Slater

    January 19, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. EST

    A selection of firearms removed in Long Island’s Suffolk County. Last year, judges in the county issued 1,600 red-flag orders, but fewer than 100 guns were seized. In most cases, individuals don’t own a gun, but the order will prevent them from buying one for a year. (Suffolk County Sheriff's Office)

    The unusual phone calls began last year.

    So many guns were being seized by the New York State Police, several evidence custodians told a union official, that they were running out of space to store them.

    The guns were tagged and arranged neatly, lined up on shelves or in cabinets. “People were saying, ‘Where the heck are we going to put all this?’” recalled Timothy Dymond, the president of the New York State Police Investigators Association.

    The packed evidence rooms were a direct result of one of the most ambitious experiments ever attempted with red-flag laws, a relatively new tool that states are deploying to combat gun violence. Such laws are used to prevent people at risk of harming themselves or others from possessing or buying firearms.

    In New York, the results of the experiment have been dramatic. Last year, the state’s civil court judges approved more than 4,300 final orders under the law, up from 222 in 2021. At least 1,800 guns were removed by the state police and local law enforcement agencies in 2023.

    New York’s unique approach was driven by the nation’s rising gun deaths. After the massacre at a Buffalo supermarket in 2022, New York strengthened its red-flag law in a manner unlike any other state, making it a requirement rather than an option for law enforcement authorities to pursue such orders.

    Last year, the law was used to respond to an array of possible dangers, from suicide to mass violence: a student who brought a gun to school and allegedly talked about shooting a teacher; a teenager who police said brandished a gun on a school bus; a man who threatened to shoot up a supermarket with his father’s gun; a woman experiencing delusions who brought a shotgun to a gas station.

    Research has shown that such laws are associated with a decrease in the rate of firearm suicides, which account for more than half of the nation’s gun deaths. In Connecticut — the first state to pass a red-flag law — researchers estimated that one suicide was averted for every 10 or 11 gun removals. The laws have also been used hundreds of times in cases of people threatening mass shootings, a recent study found.

    New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has hailed the red-flag push as a way to prevent deadly tragedies. In her annual address to lawmakers on Jan. 9, she said the gun-control legislation enacted by the state is “a model for the rest of the nation.”

    Gun rights groups, however, have called the expanded use of the red-flag law overzealous and unconstitutional. Such groups won a major victory last year when the Supreme Court struck down a century-old New York law governing who could carry a concealed weapon. But, so far, the court appears inclined to uphold laws that remove guns from those considered dangerous.

    New York’s enforcement of its red-flag law has not been without challenges: Some law enforcement officers have struggled with the additional workload the cases represent as well as finding room to store the guns they seized.

    The storage issue is a minor growing pain, said a senior state official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy deliberations. “It’s a good problem to have,” he said. “It means our strategy is working.”

    A spokeswoman for the state police, which has removed more guns under the red-flag law than any other law enforcement agency in New York, said it is currently managing the increase in stored firearms “with existing space.”

    New York is one of 21 states that have passed red-flag laws, the majority of them within in the last six years. The measures typically allow law enforcement and family members to petition a court to temporarily take guns away from someone at risk of harming themselves or others. During the time the order is in effect — usually a year — the person is also barred from buying weapons.

    “It’s a very tailored intervention,” said April Zeoli, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health who studies red-flag laws.

    The measures are also known as “extreme risk protection orders,” or ERPOs, a term proponents prefer over the more colloquial “red flag.”

    Researchers say the impact of the laws has been weakened by inconsistent application. Some jurisdictions, such as the city of San Diego, have embraced the law as a tool, using it often. Meanwhile, in states such as Nevada and New Mexico, fewer than 30 percent of counties have issued such orders, according to the research arm of Everytown for Gun Safety.

    After New York’s ERPO law went into effect in 2019, its rollout, too, was uneven, with law enforcement officials in many parts of the state using it sparingly.

    Then, in May 2022, 18-year-old Payton Gendron opened fire in a racist rampage at a Tops Supermarket on Buffalo’s East Side. Ten people were killed, all of them Black. The prior year, someone had called the state police to report that Gendron had made alarming comments about a possible shooting. The police took him to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, and he was later released. No petition was filed to prevent Gendron from buying or possessing a gun.

    Shortly after the Buffalo shooting, Hochul convened a call with her leadership team, the senior state official said. She gave them 24 hours to come up with policy changes that might have prevented the shooting or could avert future violence.

    Four days after the shooting, Hochul issued an executive order requiring law enforcement personnel to file an ERPO application when there was credible information that a person was likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others. That meant an ERPO would no longer be an optional choice, but an obligation.

    “Quite frankly, we didn’t look at other states,” the official said. “We thought this would be the right step.” In June, lawmakers in Albany included the change to strengthen the ERPO law in a package of gun restrictions. Health-care practitioners were also added to the list of people who could file applications, which already included family members and school officials.

    Justice Dept. to seek death penalty for Buffalo mass killer

    New York is the only state that requires law enforcement personnel to file ERPO petitions in certain situations, said Allison Anderman, senior counsel at Giffords, an advocacy group that works to combat gun violence. Police officers in New York “know the law is available and should be used, something which has been a problem in many other states.”

    Starting in mid-2022, just weeks after the executive order, the number of ERPO applications in the state began to surge. In the second half of that year, the number of final orders granted by judges more than quintupled (in New York, a judge can approve a temporary ERPO immediately, but a final order is granted only after a hearing).

    One early issue: State troopers were appearing at court hearings on the petitions without legal representation.

    To rectify the situation, Hochul and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) created a new unit of prosecutors dedicated to ERPO cases involving state police. Last year, they handled about 1,400 such cases, according to a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, winning more than 90 percent of them.

    Long Island’s Suffolk County files more ERPO applications than any other in New York, a trend that local officials attributed to early efforts to train police officers on how to use the law and improve coordination with prosecutors.

    Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. said he believes the enforcement of the law has saved lives. He described the case of a person who made suicidal comments last July and a judge granted an ERPO. The sheriff’s office found the person possessed 11 shotguns, 10 rifles and 13 pistols.

    The following month, police were called after another person put a fake gun to their head, saying “wait until I get a real one.” A few weeks later, the same person attempted to purchase a firearm, Toulon said, but was prevented from doing so because a judge had approved an ERPO.

    Whether it involves a threat of suicide or to harm others, “we want to make sure someone making those claims is not going to be able to access firearms,” Toulon said.

    A review of court records for recent and upcoming ERPO hearings in Suffolk County showed that many cases involved people deemed at risk of harming themselves. But there were also circumstances in which people posed a danger to others: A 53-year-old man brandishing an ax threatened to kill his brother and his family; a 42-year-old woman experiencing paranoid delusions fired a shotgun at her ceiling, then took the weapon with her to the nearest gas station. In both cases, firearms were removed.

    Last year, judges in Suffolk County issued 1,600 final ERPOs. The sheriff’s office seized fewer than 100 firearms, however. In a majority of cases, individuals don’t necessarily own a gun, but the order will prevent them from buying one for a year, said Chief Deputy Sheriff Chris Brockmeyer.

    Not all applications are successful. In October, police responded to a call from a 60-year-old man saying he was holding an intruder at gunpoint, court records showed. When they arrived, they found no signs of an intruder, but the caller told them he was experiencing delusions. A judge later denied the application for an ERPO, saying the man was not alleged to have threatened harm to himself or others.

    Some critics and Second Amendment activists say New York’s ramped-up enforcement of the law has meant that people who pose little to no threat could be deprived of their firearms and become unable to buy them.

    “You’re presumptively going to lose access to your guns, that’s the practical effect,” said Daniel Strollo, a lawyer in Rochester, N.Y., who has represented dozens of people facing ERPO petitions. The law lacks sufficient procedural safeguards, he said, and its requirement that police officers file such orders is “insulting” to their expertise and experience.

    Lower courts in New York have issued decisions that alternately uphold and reject the law’s constitutionality. The state is appealing a ruling last year by a judge in Orange County who held that the red-flag was unconstitutional.

    Anderman, the senior counsel at Giffords, said that red-flag laws have so far survived constitutional challenges across the country. “Every single one builds in due process requirements,” she said.

    Still, some law enforcement personnel have expressed unease about the blanket application of the law. Sometimes an officer “will say to me, ‘Tim, I’m really glad we did this because this guy was losing it and very dangerous,” recalled Dymond, the head of the state police investigators association. Other times, they tell him they filed an ERPO application only because they were obligated to do so.

    That’s when officers ask if they really need to take a person’s guns away. “Yeah, we do,” is Dymond’s reply. “That’s the law.”

  • 01/13/2024 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    In these chaotic times, a brief AR-15 primer  by Mike McDaniel

    The Seventh Circuit has recently ruled AR-15 pattern rifles are not protected by the Second Amendment. The lawless ruling ignores the Heller and Bruen decisions. 

    Leading the list of long guns sold, the ubiquitous AR-15 is the most popular sporting rifle in America. Circa 2023, Americans own more than 23 million. The AR-15 is also the rifle type democrats/Socialists/Communists are most desperate to ban, that and so-called “high capacity magazines,” which have been standard capacity magazines since the Vietnam War.  

    Considering d/S/C support for criminals and their overt efforts to abolish or cripple the police, it’s easy to understand why Americans continue to buy arms and ammunition in record quantities: they tend to do the opposite of what government wants–-they’re American that way–-and they’re not stupid. To set the record straight a brief AR-15 primer:

    *“AR” does not stand for “assault rifle,” and certainly not for “assault weapon,” a linguistic invention best understood as any gun anti-liberty/gun cracktivists want to ban.  Eugene Stoner, the AR’s inventor, worked at Armalite, thus, “Armalite Rifle.”

    *Virtually all AR-pattern rifles are semiautomatics, unlike the military M4. It’s theoretically possible to own a machinegun in AR form, but as I recently explained, is all but impossible.  

    Left to right: .22LR, 9mm, .223, .308

    *ARs do not fire a “high-powered” cartridge. The .223/5.56 NATO cartridge is intermediate power, useful in hunting animals the size of coyotes. The main military advantage is the cartridge is small and weighs much less than true high-powered rounds. Many more may be carried for the same weight and space. The cartridge is not uniquely dangerous or deadly, and our warfighters have long complained about its relative ineffectiveness. Modern combat occurs at far closer ranges than past combat.

    *ARs are chambered for larger diameter cartridges with the addition of properly sized upper receivers, but the cartridge must still fit within the dimensions of a standard AR magazine, therefore, no “high-powered” cartridges work.

    *The AR, in M16 guise, was first adopted by the Air Force for base security, and only later and reluctantly, by our other military branches. Not a new invention, its forerunner, the AR-10, was designed in the mid-50s. ARs have been on gun store shelves since the early 1960s.

    *Magazine capacity is irrelevant. Magazines in any magazine-fed firearm may be changed within a few seconds. What is relevant is in this increasingly lawless time, one never knows how many attackers they may have to face. A standard AR magazine, or greater than 10-round pistol magazine, may be the difference between life and death.

    *Police agencies are increasingly replacing shotguns with ARs. They’re accurate to 300 yards and beyond, yet their light-weight bullets tend not to over-penetrate. The difference in recoil and muzzle blast between 12-gauge shotguns and ARs is dramatic. Female police officers, and not a few male officers, hate shotguns. After a few qualification rounds, they’re more than happy to stop shooting. All enjoy ARs.  

    *Collapsible stocks are no sinister aid to criminals, nor do they aid in concealability. They “collapse” about 3.5 inches, which allows a general issue rifle to properly fit a variety of soldiers. In civilian use, they allow the same rifle to easily adjust to father, mother and daughter.

    *Their rugged, light weight, construction is designed for field use. They’re easy to shoot accurately, easy to clean and maintain and resistant to damage, which makes them excellent hunting rifles as well as suitable for every other lawful purpose.

    *They are ergonomically superb. Even little girls find their low recoil, light weight, and accuracy delightful.

    *Unlike what the d/S/C media would have us believe, they are virtually never used in crime. The 2019 FBI Uniform Crime Report, which encompasses data from 2015-2019, lists the use in 2019 of 13,927 weapons of all kinds in homicides, but only 364 rifles of all types. AR-15s were only a tiny portion of that tiny portion of rifles.  

    *In Heller and Bruen, the Supreme Court made clear the Second Amendment is not a second-class right. It affirms an unalienable, natural, individual right to keep and bear arms in common use for self-defense and every other lawful purpose, which includes semiautomatic handguns, rifles and shotguns.  The AR-15 is the most common and popular contemporary semiautomatic rifle.

    *Part of the AR’s popularity is veterans have always been fond of their service rifles. Even though civilian versions are not fully automatic, owing a replica of a service rifle is an American tradition and has always helped with recruiting, help of which we’re very much in need.

    The Seventh Circuit and other cases will soon cause the Supreme Court to specifically rule AR-pattern rifles constitutionally protected. There is no constitutional, practical reason otherwise. A more complete AR primer may be found here. 

    Mike McDaniel is a classically trained musician, Japanese and European fencer, life-long athlete, firearm instructor and retired police officer and high school and college English teacher.  His home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.

  • 12/21/2023 8:54 AM | Anonymous

    New York County Calls for End to Background Checks on Ammo Sales

    By Cam Edwards | 7:31 PM on December 13, 2023

    The frustration over New York’s latest background check scheme hasn’t subsided in the months since the State Police started conducting checks on both firearm transfers and ammunition purchases. If anything, the animosity towards the new regime, which has been plagued by lengthy delays and false denials, is only growing stronger.

    This week the county legislature in Schuyler County voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling on the state legislature to repeal the ammunition background check law and restore the old background check system for gun transfers, which allowed dealers to contact the NICS system directly instead of having to go through the State Police as an intermediary.

    The resolution will most likely be shrugged off by the Democratic majority in Albany, but Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman and members of the county legislature still wanted to send a message to lawmakers that the new system is unnecessary, unwanted, and is hurting local businesses.

    “It’s redundant because most of the people have already gone through background checks for firearms, and the federal system has been in place to do this for years. The pending court challenges allege that these additional costs are a violation of the Second Amendment,” said Getman.

    Both background checks come with a state surcharge. A background check for a handgun or rifle is $9 and for ammo, it’s $2.50 per transaction. The background check can take anywhere from minutes, to hours, or even days. Some people have said their purchases have wrongfully been denied.

    [Schuyler County Clerk Theresa] Philbin said because of the fees and long waits, gun owners are heading to Pennsylvania for their ammo and guns.

    “It’s simply geographically easier to just hop over the border to Pennsylvania and make the purchase. Once you’re down there, why not purchase your ammo or any other guns you might need for hunting, or stands, anything to that effect, which is going to make a huge impact on our local businesses,” said Philbin.

    One nearby gun store owner who used to see a lot of customers from Schuyler County told local officials that he stopped selling guns and ammunition the day the new checks went into effect because he knew it would be an imposition and infringement on the rights of his customers. Michael Keegan is now focusing on the gunsmithing side of his Mountaintop Firearms and Gunsmithing business, but says his income has declined by 50 percent since the ammo background checks began.

    I suppose supporters of the background check system can argue that Keegan brought that on himself by choosing to discontinue his gun and ammunition sales, but other retailers who’ve chosen to continue offering firearms and ammo for sale have said their bottom line has been impacted by customers who are choosing to drive across the border and buy their ammo in Pennsylvania rather than submit to the ammo background checks in the Empire State and possibly face delays of hours or even days before they can take home a box of ammo or two.

    Most members of the Democratic majority in the state legislature wouldn’t shed a tear to see these local shops shut down for good based on declining sales figures. They might even see that as a bonus to the background check legislation, which is facing a legal challenge in federal court. The Supreme Court declined to intervene on an emergency basis and halt the ammunition background check scheme, but that doesn’t mean the Court will ultimately rule in favor of the system after the case goes to trial and the appeals process. That could take years, however, and by the time SCOTUS does get the chance to weigh in again, who knows how many stores will have had to shut their doors for good.

  • 12/18/2023 9:57 AM | Anonymous

    Federal Court Reinstates Right-to-Carry In Houses of Worship  from Update: New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms

    A recent preliminary decision from a federal appeals court represents a step in the right direction regarding the right to bear concealed firearms in houses of worship in the state of New York.

    On December 8, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its decision in Antonyuk v. Chiumento. In this decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals addressed four consolidated cases in which various organizations and individuals challenged the New York gun control law known as the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA).

    The CCIA was passed in 2022 immediately after another New York gun control law was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 597 U.S. 1 (2022). Because the CCIA banned volunteer church security team members from carrying concealed firearms, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms filed a lawsuit contending that it violated the Second Amendment. Other lawsuits were filed, and this limitation on volunteer church security personnel was found unconstitutional. Later, the CCIA was amended to allow unpaid security personnel at houses of worship to carry firearms; however, congregants remained barred from doing so.

    In Antonyuk, the court preliminarily found some parts of the CCIA unconstitutional, but allowed other parts of the law to stand. Specifically, the court blocked the provisions of the CCIA that ban the carrying of firearms on private premises which are open to the public, that require concealed carry permit applicants to submit their social media accounts for government review, and—most importantly, at least for Christian gun owners—that prohibit carrying concealed firearms within houses of worship. The court upheld portions of the CCIA that ban concealed carry in “sensitive places” like parks and theaters. The court found it problematic that the CCIA treats concealed carry in houses of worship differently than it treats concealed carry in nonreligious venues.

    The Antonyuk decision means that for now, New York concealed carry permitholders may now carry firearms within houses of worship, whether or not they are security team members.

    The court noted that its decision was made “at a very early stage of this litigation,” and stated that “a preliminary injunction is not a full merits decision, but rather addresses only the ‘likelihood of success on the merits.’” The court added that its decision “does not determine the ultimate constitutionality of the challenged CCIA provisions, which await further briefing, discovery, and historical analysis, both in these cases as they proceed and perhaps in other cases.”

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