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  • 12/04/2023 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    NYC bodega owners, grocers arming themselves with guns amid violent thefts plaguing Big Apple

    They’re stocked, locked, and loaded.

    Hundreds of Big Apple supermarket and bodega owners are arming themselves as the epidemic of violent theft continues to plague their businesses.

    Over the past year, the United Bodegas of America and the Bodega and Small Business Group said they’ve helped at least 230 store owners apply for their gun licenses, connecting them with concealed-carry classes required by the state to obtain a permit.

    The National Supermarket Association, which represents roughly 600 independent grocers, estimated a quarter of its members in the city are packing heat, compared to 10% pre-pandemic.

    “You see the necessity because the city is getting out of hand with the crime rate,” said one supermarket owner, who purchased a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun two months ago, after thieves cut a hole in the roof of his Ridgewood, Queens, store to steal $3,000 and smash up the registers and camera system.

    “I feel safer having a . . . weapon with me,” the 50-year-old said, especially when going to the bank.

    The gun-toting grocer said he hasn’t had to use his firearm, but practices once a week for the worst-case scenario where he needs to defend himself and his staff.

    “I don’t know who is coming in, what I’ll confront, on my way in, on my way out,” he said.

    Radhames Rodriguez, who owns several bodegas in the Bronx, said he purchased a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol after obtaining his concealed-carry license two months ago.

    “If I see somebody coming to me and I’m going to lose my life because somebody’s got a gun aimed at me, a knife, I need to protect myself and my family,” said Rodriguez, 60, who is also the UBA president.

    Rodriguez said he previously had a “premises” gun permit to protect his business during the crime-ridden ’80s, but as the city cleaned up under the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, he let the license lapse.

    With the recent wave of violence, “it started looking like in the ‘80s, the ‘90s,” he said. “That’s why I applied [for my new gun license], and this is why I have it.”

    Many grocers have felt an increasing need to arm themselves partly because of slower police responses to their emergency calls, according to retired NYPD Sgt. Johnny Nunez, who leads 18-hour courses covering gun safety and live firearm training that are required by New York State for obtaining a concealed-carry permit.

    “They recognize that there’s less cops on the street, they’re attending all these rallies, and [they] have to defend [themselves],” said Nunez, whose classes have been attended by many bodega and supermarket owners.

    “Those factors, and the fact that crime is up [compared to pre-pandemic levels], that’s what’s driving them to at least feel protected,” he added.

    The surge in gun-toting grocers follows the Supreme Court’s landmark decision last year to strike down New York State’s century-old law, which severely restricted who could carry handguns in public by requiring applicants to show “proper cause” for needing the weapon beyond general protection.

    It also follows a jump in shoplifting in recent years, with complaints soaring to 54,229 through Nov. 30, versus 37,919 incidents for all of 2019, per NYPD data.

    “The criminals have the upper hand — they’re the ones going out there robbing us, murdering us . . . getting away with it,” UBA spokesman Fernando Mateo told The Post.

    In March, a beloved Upper East Side bodega clerk was fatally shot during a late-night robbery, while two robbers shot a Spanish Harlem deli clerk in the groin and pistol-whipped a customer in June.

    In May, four men held a Woodside bodega employee at gunpoint before stealing at least $6,000.

    “If we can fight with the same firepower, they’re going to think about it twice,” Mateo said.

  • 12/01/2023 7:40 AM | Anonymous

    Rem Arms Ilion Operation to Close March 2024

    ILION, N.Y. -- In a memo to employees, RemArms, LLC stated that the operation in Ilion will close entirely.

    "I am writing to inform you that RemArms, LLC has decided to close its entire operation at 14 Hoefler Avenue, NY 13357," the memo obtained by NEWSChannel 2 stated.

    "The Company expects that operations at the Ilion Facility will conclude on or about March 4, 2024," the memo stated.

    Around 250-300 employees work at the facility.

    New York State Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-Rome), Assemblyman Brian Miller (R-C-New Hartford) and Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R-C-Meco) released a statement regarding the closure of the Ilion plant.

    “Remington’s reported decision to close its Ilion plant next year is concerning and unfortunate. This facility, which received investment from the state, employs many local residents. Unfortunately, like we have seen all too often in New York, burdensome regulations, crippling taxes and problematic energy and other policies continue to force businesses and companies to flee the state, taking jobs and livelihoods with them. We will continue to communicate with state and federal officials and work to help and assist the company’s employees and their families during this difficult time.”

  • 11/14/2023 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    Supreme Court Accepts NRA First Amendment Case – A “Historic Step Forward” for the NRA and Free Speech

    The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) commented on the United States Supreme Court accepting National Rifle Association of America v. Maria T. Vullo for review. The decision is a landmark development in one of the most closely watched First Amendment cases in the nation. 

    “This is a historic step forward for free speech, the NRA’s millions of members, and for all who believe in freedom,” says NRA CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre. “The NRA’s fight for justice continues – this time in the highest court in the land. At a time when free speech is under attack as never before, it is important that government officials be sent a message that they cannot use intimidation tactics to silence those with whom they disagree.”   

    In a May 2018 lawsuit, the NRA alleged that Vullo, at the behest of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, took aim at the NRA and conspired to use the regulatory power of the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) to “financially blacklist” the NRA – coercing banks and insurers to cut ties with the Association to suppress its pro-Second Amendment speech. The NRA argues that Vullo’s actions were meant to silence the NRA – using “guidance letters,” backroom threats, and other measures to cause financial institutions to “drop” the Association. 

    The NRA's First Amendment claims withstood multiple motions to dismiss. But in 2022, after Vullo appealed the trial court’s ruling, the Second Circuit struck down the NRA’s claims. The court ruled that in an era of “enhanced corporate social responsibility,” it was reasonable for New York's financial regulator to warn banks and insurance companies against servicing pro-gun groups based on the supposed “social backlash” against those groups’ advocacy. The court also ruled that Vullo’s guidance – written on her official letterhead and invoking her regulatory powers – was not a directive to the institutions she regulated, but rather a mere expression of her political preferences. 

    On February 7, 2023, the NRA petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of the Second Circuit decision. 

    The Court granted review on the following question:  Does the First Amendment allow a government regulator to threaten regulated entities with adverse regulatory actions if they do business with a controversial speaker, as a consequence of (a) the government’s own hostility to the speaker’s viewpoint or (b) a perceived “general backlash” against the speaker’s advocacy?

    “The Second Circuit’s opinion…gives state officials free rein to financially blacklist their political opponents – from gun rights groups, to abortion-rights groups, to environmentalist groups, and beyond,” the NRA states in its petition. The Association argues that the Second Circuit erroneously opened the door to unrestrained harassment of advocacy groups by state officials, and seeks to have it closed.

    “We are grateful the Supreme Court will review this First Amendment case and excited by the opportunity to argue to the Court that a government regulator cannot take adverse action against its political enemies,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA. “The ruling from the Second Circuit condones public officials having unbridled power to attack those with whom they disagree.”

    Seven amicus briefs representing 40 individuals and organizations were filed in support of the NRA. 

    The amicus briefs include those from state attorney generals from Montana and 17 other states, in addition to a brief filed jointly by Texas and Indiana. Various business and legal scholars, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and the Gun Owners of America, among others, also submitted briefs. 

    The NRA observes this is not the first time state officials have leveraged their regulatory power to suppress a disfavored civil rights organization or choke off disfavored speech. The NRA's petition to the Court emphasizes a long line of First Amendment cases – from seminal decisions involving the NAACP, to the Supreme Court's storied Bantam Books decision – that forbid such tactics. 

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has voiced its support for the NRA. 

    In August 2018, ACLU Legal Director David Cole wrote that, “…they [New York public officials] cannot use their regulatory authority to penalize advocacy groups by threatening companies that do business with those groups. And here the state has admitted, in its own words, that it focused on the NRA and other groups not because of any illegal conduct, but because they engage in ‘gun promotion’ – in other words, because they advocate a lawful activity.” The ACLU wrote that dismissing the NRA’s case “would set a dangerous precedent for advocacy groups across the political spectrum. Public officials would have a readymade playbook for abusing their regulatory power to harm disfavored advocacy groups without triggering judicial scrutiny.”

    Eugene Volokh joins Brewer in representing the NRA, along with Brewer Partner Sarah B. Rogers and firm counsel Noah Peters.

  • 09/29/2023 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    Supreme Court to review NYS gun laws

    by: Amal Tlaige

    Posted: Sep 28, 2023 / 09:29 AM EDT

    Updated: Sep 28, 2023 / 09:51 AM EDT


    ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — A new law is changing how background checks are conducted for those looking to purchase guns and ammunition. The latest lawsuit challenges this law and other New York gun laws. From the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas granted an emergency conference to look into a provision of New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act, also known as CCIA. This came after a group of gun store owners sued Governor Hochul over the state’s new background check system.

    At a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Kathy said this case is intended to dismantle a series of laws created after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s century-old conceal carry law. “They are dead set on placating their NRA donors and supporters and we are the ones left to clean it up. We are working really hard to ensure that New Yorkers are safe,” said Hochul.

    Background checks for guns and ammunition used to be conducted under a federal system, but As of September 13, it’s become the responsibility of state police. Background checks to purchase a firearm cost $9 and for ammunition, $2.50. “The gun dealers have to contact the state police and the state police then contact NICS in order to get a background check. Anytime you put more steps in a complex procedure it always gets messed up,” said Tom King, President of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.

    King has had a pistol permit for 40 years. He said he was denied when he requested ammunition, but doesn’t know why, “The only people that are being affected are the lawful gun owners and if you ask the FBI, ask the state police, we are not the problem. the percentage of lawful gun owners that are involved in violent crimes is minuscule.”

    Assembly member Robert Smullen said the conference could be a pivotal moment for New York Gun laws. “I predict that the governors gonna be severely rebuked by the United States Supreme Court. They could strike down whether it’s this background or these ammunition checks or they could strike down the entire law, or they can require that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals bring their case directly to them,” explained Smullen. The case will be brought to the full court for conference on October 6.

  • 09/05/2023 8:28 AM | Anonymous

    NRA, hunters and US Forest Service beat environmental groups in legal battle over lead ammo

    The environmentalists said that when animals are shot and their remains are left behind or when they are field-dressed, the toxic ammunition fragments can be ingested by other animals.

    A federal court ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association, hunters and the U.S. Forest Service over environmental groups who were pushing to ban lead ammunition in a national forest.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously rejected an attempt from the Sierra Club, the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council and the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity to order the Forest Service to ban lead ammunition in the Kaibab National Forest, which is a popular hunting destination near the Grand Canyon.

    The Center for Biological Diversity first filed the lawsuit in 2012 alleging that the Forest Service violated federal conservation law by failing to regulate lead ammo in the Kaibab. The following year, the NRA, and two hunting groups – the Safari Club and the National Sports Shooting Foundation – joined as defendants in the lawsuit.

    The environmentalists said that when animals are shot and their remains are left behind or when they are field-dressed, the toxic ammunition fragments can be ingested by other animals.

    Because the center admits that the Forest Service is "not the source of any lead ammunition found in the Kaibab, the question is whether a person who has some power to prevent someone else from contributing to the handling, storage, treatment, transportation, or disposal of hazardous waste is liable," the court wrote in its opinion Friday before stating "that the answer is no."

    "This NRA victory is a significant setback for gun control and anti-hunting advocates who see ammo bans as a pivotal leap in their agenda," the rifle association wrote on X after the court's decision.

  • 08/24/2023 8:43 AM | Anonymous

    NY gun owners will face background check fees for ammo purchases next month

    August 24, 2023 6:19 AM Staff Report 

    Starting September 13, New York State will require gun owners to undergo a background check every time they purchase ammunition, a move that has left many perturbed.

    Not only will buyers have to navigate the new checks, but they’ll also shoulder the cost: $9 for the firearm background check and an additional $2.50 for ammunition.

    The collected fees will be channeled to the state police to facilitate the checks.

    Advocates have expressed concerns over the lack of clarity provided to dealers and the potential time lag for checks, given the added workload for the state police.

  • 08/22/2023 9:17 AM | Anonymous

    Changes Coming Soon for New York State Gun Owners  MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2023
    Changes Coming Soon for New York State Gun Owners

    There are some significant changes due to take effect early next month in the Empire State.

    New York is switching from a jurisdiction in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducts firearms-related NICS background checks, to one in which the New York State Police will conduct all firearm and ammunition-related background checks using both NICS and a pending “statewide license and record database.” This shift is occurring due to legislation enacted last year, NY Exec. Law § 228, which authorizes the state police to act as the “point of contact” for background checks required under “18 U.S.C. sec. 922(t), all federal regulations and applicable guidelines adopted pursuant thereto, and the national instant criminal background check system for the purchase of firearms and ammunition.”

    That law directs the Superintendent of State Police to establish a “centralized bureau” for firearm and ammunition background checks.  NY Exec. Law § 228(7) specifies that, within 60 days of July 15, 2023, the superintendent must “notify each licensed dealer holding a permit to sell firearms” to submit requests for background checks to the state police, which appears to be an indirect way of setting a deadline of September 13 (the date the 60-day period expires) for the system to be operational.

    Section § 228(5) allows the state to charge fees for background checks using this state database, which fees cannot “exceed the total amount of direct and indirect costs incurred by the bureau in performing such background check.” One source indicates that these fees will add an additional $9 (firearms) and $2.50 (ammunition) to purchases and transfers.

    The shift to a state “point of contact” jurisdiction occurs in tandem with a second change, a related but separate development under a state law that mandates background checks for ammunition transfers by “sellers of ammunition.” This background check requirement dates back to the SAFE Act of 2013 and requires that a state database for ammunition background checks be used (federal law, 28 C.F.R. 25.6, limits the use of the NICS system for checks “only in connection with a proposed firearm transfer as required by the Brady Act. FFLs are strictly prohibited from initiating a NICS background check for any other purpose”).

    This ammunition background check requirement comes with a statutory precondition and grace period before it may take effect. Specifically, the state police superintendent must first “certify” that “the statewide license and record database established pursuant to [NY Penal Law § 400.02] and the statewide license and record database established for ammunition sales are operational,” followed by a 30-day period after which the ammunition background check requirement is in effect. In a classic example of the New York’s legislature’s signature style of “pass gun control laws first, figure out if they work later,” it became apparent once the SAFE Act was passed that the ammunition background check mandate was unachievable at the time. The-then police superintendent advised that his agency lacked the technology to implement the requirement and had “no idea when ammunition background checks… will begin across the state.”

    A further complication is that the entire ammunition background check database project was placed in abeyance due to a 2015 memorandum of understanding (MOU). The agreement, entered into by the Cuomo Administration and then-Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, promised that no state money would be spent on implementing the ammunition background check database until a cost plan had been approved by the parties. The MOU further stipulated that any certification of the database as operational would not be made until the parties had approved a plan on its implementation. Last year, however, Governor Kathy Hochul indicated she was aware of the “old MOU that was signed related to ammunition sales after laws were passed the decade ago, it was an administration document between the prior administration and the Senate Republicans,” but decided to ignore it – “we are literally tearing it up and New York will now require and conduct background checks for all ammunition purchases.”

    There is no indication on either the state police or the governor’s websites that the certification of the statewide license and record database as operational has occurred. However, the NY State Police website currently advises that the “background check requirements imposed on all retail sellers of ammunition are scheduled to take effect on September 13, 2023.”

  • 08/22/2023 8:26 AM | Anonymous

    On Wednesday, September 13, 2023, federally-licensed dealers in firearms in New York will be closed for business because they will be on strike. The Second Amendment “to keep” - of “to keep and bear arms” - will go dark. Without dealers, there will be nothing for you “to keep.” No firearms. No ammunition. We’re doing it to raise public awareness of unjust laws passed summer 2022, which dealers are fighting in federal court. On July 25, 2023, the New York State Police “Joint Terrorism Taskforce” started enforcing of those laws against dealers without notification to anyone. On September 13, 2023, the NYSP will attempt to launch its new firearms and ammunition background checks and it will start the build of the first-ever in U.S. history single database of gun owners.

    Will you stand in solidarity?

    At noon on September 13, we’re asking you to stand in solidarity with dealers fighting for your Second Amendment rights, your privacy, your Heller-McDonald-NYSRPA v. Bruen. Will you please go to your local rod & gun club, your local range, your local sportsmen’s association property, and fire a round. Make this the “Shot Heard ‘Round the State II.” We did this ten years ago after the “SAFE Act.” We need to do it again.

  • 08/22/2023 8:24 AM | Anonymous

    Aug 20 

    Written By Paloma Capanna

    It’s Sunday morning.  I thought that waking up would make reaching out to y’all one step easier.  Even singing “Try that in a Small Town” as I walked in the ADK this morning was no salve. So let’s just get this over with.

    I was yesterday texted a copy of this “official” letter from Hochul and Nigrelli, engaged in conversations, absorbed it, and thought I might hear from more than this one dealer who opened the mail to this letter.  It’s a British thing, but I don’t believe in delivering serious news in the dark or on a Sunday morning, before we’ve had a chance to go to church and ground ourselves to our family.  At least one of you dealers is sending a granddaughter off to college today, but I want you to have this afternoon to read through this letter from NYS Governor Kathleen Hochul and Acting Superintendent Stephen Nigrelli, received yesterday by an FFL trying to do business in New York. 

    It appears this letter is intended by Hochul and Nigrelli to constitute official dealer notification.

    There are a number of highly critical legal points to be made about this Hochul-Nigrelli letter – and those are going straight to the NYS Attorney’s Office 9:01 a.m. tomorrow.  I’ll share that as the next day or two gets on.

    I’m pushing out the Hochul-Nigrelli letter to my website for your FREE download, review, and discussion because I’m wanting to hear your thoughts as our conversation switches from gossip to go-mode.  It’ll also save you the surprise as you open tomorrow’s mail.  When you get yours, would you kindly scan both the letter and the envelope showing the postmark date and e-mail them to me as PDFs to paloma[@]2AMPatriot[dot]com?  I thank all of you helping me to develop a dataset.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2023.  We’re calling for all dealers and pawnbrokers to go on strike, at least for that one day.  And we’re calling for everyone to fire a single shot in solidarity at high noon, as part of the “Shot Heard ‘Round the State, II.” 

    I’m ready, if you wish, to start adding your names, your shop names, your rod & gun clubs, your sporting organizations, your churches, your 4-H.  Anyone in support who wants to stand up and add their name to the STRIKE + SHOOT page of my website, just send me a message. 

    We’re not near as small as they think and we have voice.  You simply have to decide to take it out of mothballs, where we all put it, along side our broken hearts, when our efforts against the “SAFE Act” failed at a time when it was Cuomo and a GOP NYS Senate majority.  This is too important to look backwards, and any number of you – God bless you! – only got your FFL after the “SAFE Act” and some of you even since the 10-bill anti-gun bill package was shoved through by Hochul last summer.

    Please stand with the Plaintiffs in Gazzola v. Hochul, and please stand strong.  This is the opening shot we knew was coming, and now we have it in writing after three weeks of the NYSP-JTTF slinking their way into our shops. Keep shining that light on everything they’re trying to pull over on dealers and pawnbrokers who are fighting hard to protect everyone’s Second Amendment rights in this modern America.


  • 08/22/2023 8:22 AM | Anonymous

    The First Shot is Fired

    Did you hear it yesterday? 
     A dealer opened his mail and found the “official” letter to dealers from NYS Governor Kathleen Hochul and the Acting Superintendent of the NYS Police.  No date filled in.  A postmark that means it was USPS posted too late to meet statutory notification requirements.  Legal errors.  It’s a damned mess to untangle into a coherent letter to the opposing NYS Attorney General.  

    For now, on this day we should be at rest, I apologize, but must ask you to share this e-blast with its links to everyone you know, especially your local dealers and pawnbrokers in firearms. There were 1,791 of them when I filed Gazzola v. Hochul back on November 1, 2022. We’ve already lost some, and, with a heavy heart, I know we’re about to lose more. It’s up to us to pull together to do everything we can to be the counterveiling force in support of these brave FFL owners and employees who are fighting to stay open so that we all can exercise our fundamental, first-class Second Amendment rights, here in New York. It’s the modern civil rights movement, and this is what’s being asked of us.

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

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

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

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