By Budd Schroeder S.C.O.P.E. At-Large Director, Chairman Emeritus
There is a real problem in New York. We have a huge scandal that involves Governor Andrew Cuomo and several of his close friends and contributors in what is an overload of corruption. New York has a national reputation for being very high on the list of corrupt governments. The “Three Men in a Room” has long been criticized, but never corrected.
Two of the three, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos have been convicted, but still are not in prison. Power and money can do marvelous things when abused by talented abusers. However, Andrew Cuomo was the third man in the room and he has not been indicted. There have been calls to have him indicted, but the power and money aspect seem to be working there, too.
However, since Cuomo has more than $30 million in his campaign war chest and many huge donations have been connected to lucrative state contracts, it may come to pass that some Attorney General would be interested in having an investigation. Probably would happen if the governor was a Republican.
As it stands, in politics perception can have the same effect as facts, and this could influence the election. However, there must be an alternative in the race to make it possible. Fortunately, there is a viable alternative candidate on the Republican and Conservative lines to make the change possible.
That candidate is Marc Molinaro who is like a breath of fresh air in a cheese factory. He is a fresh face with fresh ideas that are workable and reasonable. His problem is that, compared to Cuomo, he is underfunded and money is important. As a campaigner, he is outstanding, very likable and has a good program filled with possibilities rather than promises. At a recent campaign stop he spoke of the connections of his opponent to the size of his campaign funds and the timing of the lucrative contracts given to donors. Simple path relating cause to effect!
Marc Molinaro speaks to his audience with unusual sincerity for a politician. He does not tell them what he thinks they want to hear. Instead he presents the problems and his intention to solve them. His solutions make sense. Especially in the financial problems of New York! The expected deficit in the Cuomo budget for next year is more than $14 billion.
He talks about the tax suckers of state unfunded mandates which is a major problem regarding property taxes. Also, there is much waste and inefficiency in the bureaucracy that can be trimmed. He wants to give the tax breaks to small businesses that are the backbone of the country rather than the large corporations who get huge breaks and incentives. The current scandals involve some big businesses who promised thousands of jobs but haven’t even come close. Calling it “a drop in the bucket’’ would be a huge exaggeration of numbers.
The choice should be easy for the voters. As the campaign progresses, there will be the opportunity to make their decision on who will be the next governor. Shall we continue with corrupt and expensive government, or shall we elect someone who will stop the corruption and going deeper in debt?
This is a very important decision. Choose wisely, and vote.
By Tim Andrews, S.C.O.P.E. President
This will be the last edition of Firing Lines before the November 6th elections. The focus now is the November vote. The next edition of Firing Lines, following the November elections, will focus on the election results and their impact on the 2019 legislative agenda. Our success or failure in the 2019 legislative session will hinge significantly on our success or failure in the November elections. As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, it is not overstated to say this is the most important election in generations for New York’s gun owners.
In many ways this has been a controversial and sometimes contentious year, especially when it comes to the governor’s race. I won’t waste time and space writing about Cuomo. After eight long years, we all know what we have there and what needs to be done. I’m going to focus on the Republican side and start by telling you about a conversation I recently had with Julie Killian who is the candidate for Lieutenant Governor running with Marc Molinaro.
You may remember the controversy surrounding the choice of Ms. Killian for the second spot on the GOP ticket. In a recent campaign for a State Senate seat, she came out and expressed support for the SAFE Act. Obviously, this was an enormous concern for us, and in a phone conversation with Marc Molinaro following the choice of Killian, I expressed our concerns and asked him to reconsider and remove Killian from the ticket. Although Molinaro didn’t say this, most around the state believe this was a state party decision and not Molinaro’s. In any case Killian was kept on the ticket.
About my conversation with Killian, I met Ms. Killian at the SCOPE Yates County ‘Meet the Candidates Pig Roast’ in Penn Yan recently. We had a very frank discussion and she was very open about her history as it pertained to firearms and firearms issues. She essentially had little exposure to firearms either growing up or as an adult. She explained she knew little more than what she heard in the liberal media and that was the extent of her exposure. After being chosen to run for Lieutenant Governor she became very aware of the criticisms. Her reaction to the criticism was to study the issue and gain a better understanding of the Second Amendment and particularly Cuomo’s unSAFE Act.
During my time with her I went into SCOPE’s position and concerns with the various segments of the Act, and the extremely negative impact on law-abiding gun owners while having no impact on criminals. She was extremely open to the discussion and I certainly came away with the view she has evolved on the issue of guns and the Second Amendment. I specifically asked her if it was fair to say that her position on guns and the unSAFE Act have evolved and her answer was a resounding “yes.” She is absolutely in favor of doing whatever is necessary to repeal the unSAFE Act.
Now, I get that we all have a skeptical side to us that questions these ‘death bed’ conversions. I think it’s wise to maintain a bit of skepticism when it comes to whatever any politician tells us. Nonetheless we shouldn’t discount a politician who acknowledges a change of heart. We should applaud that politician for their willingness to approach a subject with an open mind and consider that maybe their position may be misguided or wrong. After all, one of SCOPE’s most important functions is to reach out to politicians and educate and that’s exactly what we’ve done here. This is a SCOPE success story, if the Molinaro/Killian ticket is elected we will have two friends in the executive branch of government in Albany.
One comment on Marc Molinaro: It needs to be stated that there is one candidate for governor who has a totally unblemished documented record when it come supporting the gun rights of New Yorkers, and it is Marc Molinaro. It would literally be a tragedy if gun owners do not get out the vote and support Marc this November. It would truly be a lost opportunity, and quite possibly, one we may not recover from for generations.
On the legislative side of things, the Assembly as you know is a freedom-loving gun owners’ nightmare. The Democrats hold a two-to-one advantage there and it’s not likely to change. That said, please support those Assembly candidates who do support the Second Amendment as they have a tough job and we do need their voice in the Assembly.
On the Senate side there’s been a small group of somewhat moderate Democrats who have helped the Republicans maintain a very tenuous majority. Six of those Democrats lost their primaries and now it’s become more important than ever to elect pro-Second Amendment candidates to the State Senate. During this past legislative year, the New York Senate has been the firewall that has stopped Cuomo’s anti-Second Amendment agenda. We need to keep it that way.
This is it. All hands-on deck. This is your chance to let your voice be heard. Cuomo is very vulnerable. He can be defeated. There is a pathway to victory for Marc Molinaro, but it starts with all of us. Let’s make it happen!
By William R Fox Sr, Genesee County Chair
Information also provided by Don Smith Wayne County Scope
WE THE PEOPLE have a decision to make in the coming 2 years. Should we re-certify our firearms (pistols) with the NY State Police before January 31, 2018? There will be 3 counties Albany, Schenectady and Fulton doing test runs on the recertification of the Pistol Permit Holders to work out the flaws. They will be sending you an invitation letter asking you to do so immediately. You may be asking yourself what are my options at this point, and is there an advantage to doing this early. We are not asking anyone to disobey any laws, and if you read down below, it gives you the law. Take a minute and look at what they are doing to us law abiding citizens.
There is a lawsuit going on, where a retired police officer and a Veteran had problems sleeping and went to the hospital to get checked out. A few days later he gets a phone call that they are coming to seize his firearms because the hospital turned him in. That’s what the so called Safe Act has done. This is only one instance that has taken place in New York State. There are plenty more going on with the HIPPA laws that the state is violating. The state has a data base set up with many New Yorker’s names that are in it, regardless if you own a gun or not. The information they are receiving and forwarding to local authorities is in direct violation of the HIPPA laws. New York City has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and by the so called Safe Act in 2014, there were 3,930 arrests; 3,173 of these were in New York City alone. These arrests were mainly in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Long Island. Most of these arrests were for violations that already were illegal before SAFE, but were attributed to SAFE. For 32 million tax dollars to implement this, where is the safe part supposed to be?
So as I said in the beginning, WE THE PEOPLE have a decision to make…..what will yours be! We need to make this as tough and inconvenient on them as they are making it for us, the law abiding citizen. The information below is what you are required to adhere to.
The New State Penal law was amended by the passage of the NYSAFE Act in 2013. Part (b) was added to Section 10 as stated below:
NY PENAL LAW - Article 400.00 / 10. (b): “All licensees shall be re-certified to the division of state police...by the licensee on or before January thirty-first, two thousand eighteen...” [e.g. “re-certify” yourself as NOT being prohibited from owning a handgun].
This requires you [licensee] to re-certify by providing to the NY State Police your name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, SS#, and firearms possessed together with an affirmation that the licensee is not prohibited from possessing firearms. Note: email address is at the OPTION of the licensee.
A “firearm” is defined as
(a) any pistol or revolver unless it is
(b) a shotgun having one or more barrels less than eighteen inches in length; or
(c) a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length; etc. [See *”Firearms” Definition Below*] A common shotgun or rifle used by law abiding citizens does not need to be included.
Nothing in the statute confers upon the State Police the authority to approve or disapprove re certification. It is only a local licensing officer who has the authority to issue, deny or revoke a pistol license in most jurisdictions. This would be a judge or justice of a court of record in Upstate NY having his office in the county of issuance.
You will receive a letter with an ‘invitation’ to re-certify immediately. The ‘invitation’ will be to recertify on-line. This will allow you to provide the state with your personal information in a database format.
It is NOT necessary to do either. Therefore, when you receive the “re certification” letter, this is what you may do, legally:
1. Go to the state website listed in the letter and print a hard copy of the form.
2. Mail the form via CERTIFIED MAIL thus confirming it was mailed and received.
3. Mail the form on Monday JANUARY 29, 2018 or Tuesday JANUARY 30, 2018.
NO re-certifications are LEGALLY required prior to JANUARY 31, 2018.
*NY State Penal Law and Firearms Definition:*
265.00. Definitions As used in this article and in article four hundred, the following terms shall mean and include: [Only section 3 applies and is referenced here]. 3. "Firearm" means:
(a) any pistol or revolver; or
(c) a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length; or
(d) any weapon made from a shot- gun or rifle whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise if such weapon as altered, modified, or otherwise has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches; or (e) an assault weapon....
By Jeff Knox
(January 1, 2015) It is mind -boggling that we’re now living in 2015. I like to think I’m not so old, but I also remember when 2001 was a distant date in a science fiction movie. I’m still waiting for the flying car I was promised. But flying cars weren’t the only things we were promised back in the good old days. Looking back at when we were looking forward to these days, I remember predictions about a coming ice age, a unified world government, and the end to crime, hunger, and poverty. There were also lots of predictions about the end of gun ownership. Back when groups like the National Coalition to Ban Handguns and Handgun Control, Inc. were new, they openly proclaimed they were going to completely destroy the “gun culture” by slowly adding one little restriction on top of another over a couple of decades. More than 40 years later, they are sticking to that strategy with new language and new tactics – along with new names for their groups – but the objective remains the same.
They’ve made some progress on some fronts, but rights supporters have been working hard too. Our successes have pushed the anti-rights extremists to back completely away from open demands for banning and confiscating guns, and instead calling for thinner and thinner slices off of the Bill of Rights. Instead of calling for national registration of all guns and gun owners, they now call for “universal background checks,” something that sounds completely different, but accomplishes much the same thing. Under their “background check” proposals, government records would be created for every firearms transfer – records that could, with a minor legislative adjustment, be computerized to identify almost every legal gun and gun owner – thereby accomplishing a major step in their goal of universal registration.
The anti-rights crowd depends on misleading language, hidden agendas, and a gullible, uninformed public to accomplish their goals because they know they will never win if they openly express their true objectives. They have the financial backing of self-righteous billionaires like Mike Bloomberg, George Soros, and Bill Gates to inundate the uninformed masses with their emotion-laden propaganda, and the full cooperation of the mainstream media to reinforce their misleading message.
But anti-rights groups consist of a few paid staff members, a few deep-pockets “angels” who fund their endeavors, and a few supporters who might show up for a rally or write an occasional letter to a politician. The anti-rights support is broad but shallow, with few supporters who actually know much about the issue.
Rights groups, on the other hand, range from the NRA with its 5 million-plus members, to local gun and shooting clubs in almost every community. There are state associations and genuine grassroots gun rights groups in every state as well, along with several smaller, national rights organizations like The Firearms Coalition. Beyond these single-issue groups, gun owners also enjoy the support of a variety of broader interest, conservative and libertarian organizations.
Gun control groups have demonstrated that they and their media friends can produce polls showing broad popular support for their carefully worded proposals, but rights groups are able to turn out truckloads of mail to politicians, thousands of activists at rallies, and game-changing numbers of voters in elections. In short, the anti-rights “movement” has money and an emotionally appealing, though misleading, message, but few committed supporters. Conversely The rights movement has tens of millions of active supporters, hundreds of small and large organizations, and a message that doesn’t resonate as well with the general public. Simply put, that message is: We, and our guns, are not the problem. Leave us alone and focus energy and resources on actual problems and workable solutions.
The one thing gun owners and supporters of liberty can do in 2015 and beyond to protect our rights and prevent the tyranny of an illinformed majority, is to sign up for email alerts from state and federal rights groups, and resolve to make a phone call, send an e-mail, or post a letter every time those groups raise an alarm. That sounds simple, but rarely do more than 10% or so of alert recipients take the few seconds needed to accomplish even that simple task.
If you care about protecting the Bill of Rights, be sure you’re tuned in to groups that can keep you informed, and make a resolution to take action every time your local or federal rights groups call for your help. You can find many active, state and local rights groups listed at www.GunVoter.org and you can sign u p f o r o u r a l e r t s a t www.FirearmsCoalition.org. Education, organization, and action are the keys to defeating assaults on our rights. Resolve to make a difference in 2015. Be informed, be involved, take action, and be part of the solution. ©2014 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement. www.FirearmsCoalition.org.
By Tom Rood
On Friday, February 6, a meeting organized by Yates County SCOPE chapter President John Prendergast was held in the Big Flats Town Hall for leaders of the southern tier SCOPE chapters and our elected officials. The purpose of the meeting was a frank interchange of comments regarding our efforts in Albany to repeal Gov. Cuomo's so-called SAFE Act and future directions in resolving this issue. Officials present were Assemblymen Phil Palmesano (132nd district- Chemung, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben), Assemblyman Chris Friend (124th district- Broome, Chemung, Tioga), State Senator Tom O'Mara (58th district- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, Yates), and Joe Sempolinski from Congressman Tom Reed's 23rd congressional district office. With the exception of Broome County, Congressman Reed represents these counties as well as Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Ontario.
The meeting room was pretty much filled and while no attendance list was taken, nearly all, if not all, of the eight Southern tier SCOPE chapter counties were represented.
The meeting kicked off shortly after 2:30 pm with opening comments from Yates County SCOPE president John Prendergast. John thanked everyone for coming and explained the reason why the meeting was set up and that if others had issues they wanted to bring forward, an opportunity for them would be made available at the conclusion of the program.
John pointed out that SCOPE is working hard organizing new SCOPE chapters, and registered voters- regardless of political affiliation - to support those political candidates that recognize our Second Amendment Rights and to continue to keep control of the NYS Senate. SCOPE stated position is full repeal of the SAFE Act. SCOPE is stronger now and is a recognized voice in the political arena and is being heard.
Phil Palmesano has always been a strong Second Amendment supporter and a strong SCOPE supporter as well and his opening comments were pretty much in that light.
Assemblyman Chris Friend, in his opening remarks, pointed out that while a couple of years ago there were only 14 counties that had active SCOPE Chapters, there are now, as a direct result of passage of the SAFE Act, 43 upstate NY counties with SCOPE Chapters and three more counties with organizing committees (Chris had done his home work well before the meeting). SCOPE is making a better connection in getting people registered to vote and getting them to the polls. Chris went on to mention that several races are decided by just a handful of vote differences and that absentee ballots are important and we need to work to get more people to send them in if they are away during actual voting periods.
Joe Sempolinski said that if Tom Reed had been a member of the state legislature, he would have voted against the Safe Act. Tom Reed is in favor of the reciprocity bill and, according to Joe, has an excellent voting record where the Second Amendment was the issue. As for the .223 green ammo situation, congress is working on the funding for the DHS; but the president is using executive orders to get around congress.
Senator Tom O'Mara took over from here and gave us a lot of insight as to the workings of the legislature. Getting full repeal of the SAFE Act is nil as the downstate dems control the assembly and they are not going to vote for repeal and the governor will never sign a bill doing it. State Senate Chair Dene Skelos told a group of senators that passage of the SAFE Act was a mistake. John Predergast pointed out that while Skelos might say that now, in the past he was anti-gun.
Senator O'Mara pointed out that the budget for NY is not a line item budget where specific items can be crossed out. Various agencies put in the budget the things they want the money for and they get a pool of funding as a result. From this money, they can move things around pretty much as they see fit. For example, while the ammo purchase background check software technology required in the SAFE Act is not currently available, there is no way to prevent funding for it in the budget process.
Another SAFE Act issue regarding the State Police controlling the 5 year renewal of concealed carry permits, getting it put back into the hands of county clerks where it is now would become another unfunded mandate from the state.
There might be some light at the end of the tunnel regarding definition of the assault rifle definitions. Pistol grips will probably remain, but the thumb hole in the stock might be eliminated (I took a rifle apart and brought a thumb hole stock to the meeting for the legislators to see just in case they were not up to speed on just what it was. My question to all of them was just how does this make any rifle more of an assault rifle?).
Comments from here went onto some other Albany issues. Cuomo sees teachers, in effect, corrupt as well as his own legislature. He actually believes it, which brought a bit of laughter from the audience. Just about every group that has to deal with the governor's office sees him as a bully- his way or the highway. Both sides of the aisle see it the same way and feel the pressure from it.
As for using the NYC rent subsidy issue as a bargaining chip to get some SAFE Act changes, Senator O'Mara pointed out that true, this was a big issue for NYC; but at the same time, upstate people look for property tax rate caps and they are not a NYC issue. So there goes the standoff.
It was pointed out from the audience that the state constitution does not have Second Amendment provision. Getting one as an amendment is not going to happen. However, the proposed state constitution convention in 2017 would be the place to handle it. Senator O'Mara would like to see this and may promote it.
Senator O'Mara is also in favor of mandate relief. Additionally the state rules concerning the Passage due to Need of Necessity (which Cuomo used to push the SAFE Act to a vote) needs to be revised. But getting 60 down state assemblymen to vote SAFE Act repeal is not going to happen.
From the audience - There are some who would like to see a senate and assembly vote on the repeal of the SAFE Act so we could get feel of who those legislators that vote against it. While this was not brought out at the meeting, upstate senators and assemblymen are listening harder to SCOPE and other Second Amendment groups like it. The reasoning is not hard to find. In November 2014, 28 NY legislators were not reelected. Some chose not to run for reelection. But 21 of those who voted for the SAFE Act were voted out of office! Fifty two county legislatures passed anti-Safe Act resolutions. Two hundred red sixty five Town Governments did likewise.
My final personal comments:
SCOPE plans to continue to organize new chapters and recruit new members in significant numbers and its Albany voice will continue to grow. Governor Cuomo has awakened a sleeping giant and he knows he shot himself in the foot with the passage of the SAFE Act. He badly misread his constituency, thinking he would ride into Washington on the SAFE Act's coat tails, but he torpedoed his own ship for all time. He might be governor of NY for another 4 years, but his political career is over.
By Al Belardinelli
Nozzolio to Cosponsor Senator Marchione’s FULL Repeal Kolb to Cosponsor Assemblyman DePietro’s FULL Repeal.
Sunday, March 8, 2015, a packed house at the SCOPE presentation hosted by the Seneca Sportsmen Club greeted Senator Nozzolio and Assemblyman Kolb. Both men stated their continuing dedication to repeal of the SAFE Act and further stated their efforts to at least repeal many of the clauses within that bad statute. They “privately” outlined the legislature’s strategy being used to accomplish OUR goals. While the effort described sounded pretty good, at that time, it fell short of full repeal… but that quickly changed. After this meeting, we formed an alliance between US and legislative efforts, which gives us great hope for FULL Repeal of the SAFE Act. By the way – OUR lobbying / calls / letters are a HUGE factor.
After the initial presentations by the legislators, a motivated and knowledgeable audience engaged in a Q&Q+A that was really more of a brainstorming conversation. WE detailed the overwhelming facts for FULL repeal, along with the changing perception of the SAFE Act. OUR points were well taken by the legislators and they agreed to incorporate OUR “details” into their “tool bag” going forward. This week, WE will further “strategize” with them and they will help us with “legislative details” and give US names to effectively pursue additional legislators to gain the majority support needed for a positive vote for FULL Repeal of the SAFE Act. The “numbers” show WE are very close right now!!!!
Besides the obvious self-defense issues that the SAFE Act brutally curtails, is the fact that the SAFE Act was and is a mass of corruption. The corruption surrounding all facets of the SAFE Act is equal to the crimes uncovered by Preet Bharara. The blemish of the SAFE Act MUST be erased for the sake of Albany’s integrity . FULL Repeal of the SAFE Act will be a big step in Albany’s realization that the corruption in Albany is ending. NOTE: the budget …well – let’s just say it’s the job of the legislature, NOT the dictate of Cuomo. (WE did not remove you Andy – but your days of dictating are numbered.)
By Donald H. Smith
I am a law abiding NY citizen of 73 years. I was born and raised in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains near the PA border. My parents worked hard to provide us with a minimal standard of living. Life was good to any kid growing up in that environment.
The family shotgun rested in the wash room next to the door. A box of shotgun shells were kept separately in the dining room cabinet on an upper shelf. My friends came and went on a daily basis and none of us even considered playing with the gun. It was “off limits,” and so were the shells. It was not until my father passed that I discovered a revolver in the dining room buffet beneath a pullout drawer. Its ammunition was found in a separate location.
I recall my father and brother going hunting on weekends. I was too young and stayed home. This suited my mother who grew up on a farm and detested the killing of animals, especially farm animals. She considered them her pets. I remember her telling about Papa killing “her” chickens for Mama to cook. She never ate meat, although she cooked plenty of it for the rest of the family. This may have contributed to her longevity. She lived with my wife and I until she passed at the age of 102. I eventually became old enough to take a Hunters Safety course. It was taught by my shop teacher who was also one of my paper customers. He was a strict teacher and took the course very seriously. Believe me, so did those of us who took his course.
Safety is not necessarily a natural instinct. It requires a parent’s or instructor’s diligence and the undivided attention of the student. I had been forewarned at home of the importance of taking gun safety seriously. So I was a willing student in the course.
I passed the course and was allowed to join my dad and brother when they went hunting. We couldn’t afford an extra gun, so I just tagged along. The best part was just being in the woods. When I was in high school, I was able to hunt alone. I often shouldered the shotgun and walked up the street past our K-12 school building. It was not unlike carrying a fishing rod in the village. Others did the same. A short walk and I was on the nearest hill.
I have never considered myself a “killer.” I have shot and killed a grouse, squirrel with a shotgun no less; never did that again, simply no sport to it, a turkey, a few pheasants and a deer. I’ve proven to myself that I can shoot accurately, so my shooting today occurs at the range with clay pigeons and paper targets.
I still look forward to hunting seasons so I have a good excuse to be in the woods. I enjoy the camaraderie of my friends, along with the beauty and solitude of the forest. Listen to the birds, see a few animals, especially when they don’t see me. My camera is now my “weapon” of choice. The last time I recall firing my shotgun was at a coyote chasing a deer while I sat in my chair trying to stay awake (naps are great in the woods).
My college roommate was from Smithtown, L.I. He grew up in a different environment and with a vastly different viewpoint on guns. We shared many interests, but one of them was not guns nor hunting. I can’t say he feared guns, but he could not see the logic of owning one. Our commonalities were in the field of science, music and food.
I believe this helps explain why the NY SAFE Act was acceptable to so many legislators from Downstate NY. This is not meant to be critical of those with a different point of view. But surely we all recognize that the same set of values are not shared by those in Upstate vs Downstate. What justification is there for a Downstater to subject those of us in Upstate to a set of regulations that may be suitable in New York City but make absolutely no sense to the majority of the state's Upstate citizens?
I sat recently with Senator Boyle and discussed that very issue. He explained that 2 of 3 of his constituents favor the SAFE Act. I believe this is due to their lack of understanding of the Act and its intrusions on the lives of law abiding citizens like myself.
It is my opinion the SAFE Act is NOT about gun control, but it is certainly about CONTROL.
Gun control in this state and country is not simply an attempt to outlaw 'scary' firearms. Autocratic states like New York have successfully regulated common sporting rifles and magazines under the guise of improving the safety of its citizens. But what is their ultimate agenda? Listen to the words of Sara Brady: "Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn't matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed." Source: Sara Brady, Chairman, Handgun Control Inc, to Senator Howard Metzenbaum The National Educator, January 1994, Page 3.
These are disconcerting words coming from the mouth of an American. Recall:
1] Chancellor Hitler in 1933: "This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"
2] Senator Dianne Feinstein: “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up [every gun]… Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in.”
3] Governor Cuomo in December 2012: "Confiscation is an option".
Governor Cuomo claimed the federal government and other states would follow suit upon passage of the SAFE Act. He was wrong and remains so today.
California first introduced a so-called “assault weapons” ban in 1989 followed by Connecticut in 1993. The Connecticut ban did nothing to stop the horrific event in Newtown. The town had built a mental institution in 1933 where Adam Lanza might have been housed. Unfortunately the state closed it in 1975. NY State has followed a similar pattern in closing such facilities and exposing the public to potential danger. Consider these thoughts by David Kopel, who is research director of the Independence Institute in Colorado and co-author of the law school textbook, “Firearms Law and the Second Amendment” [Aspen, 2012].
His article in the Wall Street Journal, dated Dec.17, 2012, is entitled Guns, Mental Illness and Newtown. It points out that “none of the guns that the Newtown murderer used was on the ban list since those bans concentrate on guns’ cosmetics, such as whether the gun has a bayonet lug, rather than their function”.
Yes, the Bushmaster AR-15 and even the AK-47 are "military-style weapons." But the key word is "style"—they are similar to military guns in their cosmetics, but not in the way they operate. The guns covered by the original ban were not the fully automatic machine guns used by the military, but semiautomatic versions of those guns designed for non-military use.
The civilian version of the Bushmaster uses essentially the same types of bullets as small game hunting rifles, fires at the same rapidity (one bullet per pull of the trigger), and does the same damage. The civilian version of the AK-47 is similar, though it fires a much larger bullet—.30 inches in diameter, as opposed to the .223 inch rounds used by the Bushmaster. No self-respecting military in the world would use the civilian version of these guns.
The large-capacity ammunition magazines used by some of these killers are also misunderstood. The common perception that so-called "assault weapons" can hold larger magazines than hunting rifles is simply wrong. Any gun capable of holding a magazine can hold one of any size. That is true for handguns as well as rifles. A magazine, which is basically a metal box with a spring, is trivially easy to make and virtually impossible to stop criminals from obtaining. The 1994 legislation banned magazines holding more than 10 bullets yet had no effect on crime rates.
I have watched a demonstration where 3-ten round magazines were duct taped together side by side. Thirty rounds were first shot from a 30 round magazine. Then the 3-ten round magazines were used with the shooter interchanging magazines as quickly as possible. The time difference for the total of 30 rounds was approximately 2 seconds...barely noticeable.
Let's consider how effective the Clinton 1994 Assault Weapons ban was on curbing crime in the US. A series of studies concluded with a 2004 study led by Christopher S. Koper for the U.S. Dept. of Justice and this statement by Koper: “In general we found, really, very, very little evidence, almost none, that gun violence was becoming any less lethal or any less injurious during this time frame. So on balance, we concluded that the ban had not had a discernible impact on gun crime during the years it was in effect.”
Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades. Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.
Mass shootings are a matter of great public interest and concern. They also are a relatively small share of shootings overall. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less than 1% of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008.
Safety can simply not be legislated with so-called “feel good” gun bills. Note that the Newtown, CT crime occurred in a “gun free zone”. Kopel continues: “Real gun-free zones are a wonderful idea, but they are only real if they are created by metal detectors backed up by armed guards. Pretend gun-free zones such as schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, etc, where law-abiding adults [who pass a fingerprint-based background check and a safety training class] are still disarmed. These pretend gun free zones are magnets for evildoers who know they will be able to murder at will with little threat of being fired upon”.
Again Kopel: “People who are serious about preventing the next Newtown should embrace much greater funding for mental health, strong laws for civil commitment of the violently mentally ill and stop kidding themselves that pretend gunfree zones will stop killers. Safety can simply not be legislated with so-called ‘feel good’ gun bills”.
I find it interesting that the national media chooses to magnify some shootings but ignore others. The ones they ignore involve armed citizens who were at the scene and thwarted the shooter’s attempt to continue killing. These include the Shoney’s Restaurant in Anniston, Ala. ; the high school in Pearl, Miss. ; the middle school dance in Edinboro, PA ; and the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO  where our son and his family live. These are but a few examples.
A deranged man with a gun entered the Clackamas Mall in Oregon a week before the Newtown, CT shooting. He killed two people, then saw a shopper pull a handgun on him and committed suicide before being shot. The shopper had a concealed carry permit.
Most recently there was a shooting in San Antonio, TX. A disgruntled boyfriend entered a restaurant and shot his ex-girlfriend. Patrons ran to a nearby theater (i.e. “gun-free zone”). The shooter followed them, intent on shooting them as well. An off-duty county deputy was in the theater. She pulled out her handgun and killed him. What is the lesson to be learned here? “Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns”.
“The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines” was written by Loren Coleman in 2004. Kopel claims it shows that the copycat effect is as old as the media itself. He goes on to say that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1774 classic, “the Sorrows of Young Werther” triggered a spate of copycat suicides all over Europe. But today the velocity and pervasiveness of the media make the problem much worse. Again, the exceptions are when a “good guy with a gun” shoots a “bad guy with a gun”.
Why does this discrepancy in reporting exist? Perhaps the media, like the legislators mentioned above, has an agenda of gun bans at the cost of our God-given rights protected by our Constitution. The same Constitution elected officials took an oath of office to defend. Many of our forefathers defended it with their lives. Now it is your turn, with your votes.
I respectfully request that you co-sponsor the FULL Repeal Bill in your house if you have not already done so. Then lobby your colleagues to vote to repeal the NY SAFE Act. Finally, vote to bring the repeal bill to the floor of your house for an up or down vote.
By Daniel Meyers
Before the SAFE ACT I did not see very many AR (Armalite)- 15’s. I must assume that they were kept out of sight by those who feared this day would come. Probably due to the assault rifle misnomer that was applied to it. To those gun owners who say they have no use for these very enjoyable target rifles, I predict your favorite deer rifle will soon be labeled a SNIPER rifle. We should know that during the early years of Viet Nam the military cleaned out many sports stores of Winchester 30- 06 rifles for their new sniper program. An argument can be made that since most deer are taken within 40 yards the need for a rifle capable of 500 yd. accuracy is not necessary. Now do you see how leftists work? Label it, demonize it, register it and then confiscate it from the Sheeple.
Another observation I’ve noticed is our politicians telling gun owners how they are trying to help end this draconian law but, procrastinate with many and various excuses as to why nothing can be done. As soon as you hear them say “not at this time, we don’t have the votes right now, etc.” it should be your signal to vote for someone else. Because leftists don’t wait, they keep pounding the point (usually behind closed government doors) until they get their way.
It has been shown how easy it is to take taxes, property or anything from hard working, law abiding, polite, taxpaying people. Perhaps watching on television how minorities in Baltimore, Missouri, NYC, Mississippi, etc. get government to work for them should be paid attention to. After all ISIS, Iran and Russia will be getting our nuclear material without being very nice to our government or troops. I’m sure they will send it back to us in some form when they are ready. At the very least it will be a great bargaining chip for UN inspired international gun laws that Amerika will be required to comply with; like the mandates that come down on us from Albany.
I would not consider moving out of state as that pampered, pompous, punk from Albany has suggested. The ease at which he has ignored the Second Amendment is being closely watched by other states. So one thing they have noted is that “Liberals vote, Gun owners don’t”. The state has gone quiet I think, as many fear attracting law enforcement attention. I recommend going to your gun cabinet or safe and taking a hard look at what you have. Realize that some firearms (that list will grow) can never be used for self defense, fired or repaired as you would be the one in trouble for having it. The powers that be, will quickly inform you that you have brought this all on yourself. Freedom has a sound and it should be very loud and ring true, fear is quiet. Well, I am fearful of being outed as a gun owner.
By Michael Caruso
Do you remember the time when a hand shake or the word of another was as good as gold? Many of us who are old enough do remember. Many people now find it easier to say whatever has to be said at the moment, to appease the audience.
This certainly rings true for many politicians. It is easier to appease the masses by saying hollow words with no action to back those words up. With the questionnaire we sent out last year, it was no shock to us that very few actually spent the time to fill it out. With the 2015 Legislative Session finished for the year, we now know why they didn't.
When one of your representatives tells you to your face they support the 2nd Amendment, you expect them to fight any form of infringement upon that right. You didn't vote for that candidate or incumbent to have them approve funding, not introduce bills in defense of the 2nd Amendment, nor vote for the wrong leader of the State Senate. Sadly, and not to the shock of many, the opposite actually happened.
We had the State Senate with a “Republican” majority mind you, pass the budget. This had funding for the unSAFE act deep inside its pages. We had the same majority fail to introduce any form of a repeal bill to be voted on. When you have the majority you have the power to shape legislation, which is the norm. Well, we apparently live in the Twilight Zone, for the norm is the opposite of what you think.
The novel “1984” also comes to mind as well, Freedom is Slavery, War is Peace, and Ignorance is Strength. To continue the “Twilight Zone” episode, our elected officials failed to listen to our demands that a Senator from Syracuse be elected as the new President Pro Temp of the State Senate.
We then get to the “Big Ugly”, our elected officials who supposedly support the 2nd Amendment had a good chance to get full repeal. Instead we were handed the “Big Ugly”, with not a whimper in regards to the unSAFE act.
Our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves right now, for they stated the following at the end of the Declaration of Independence. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
We must hold every elected official accountable for not living up to pledges they sign, and for not following up the words they speak with action. Most importantly we must hold anyone who fails to keep their oath accountable. Many politicians love it when the public is not involved; to them it is better to have a mass populous worry about insignificant matters. Remember this, many elected officials fear a populous that is awake and is part of our participatory form of government. The movie “A Bugs Life” has a great scene which describes how many politicians feel. Hopper, the leader of the grasshoppers explains how things are to his fellow grasshoppers:
“You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It's not about food, it's about keeping those ants in line.”
In closing, the fight for the 2nd Amendment is a fight for all of our rights. It is not a one issue movement, nor is it one of those “trendy” movements that pop up now and then. Our movement is founded on truth, honor and the foundation laid by our Founding Fathers. A foundation where everyone is bestowed upon them certain inalienable rights, not by a group of men, nor by three men in a room, but by our creator.
We must not give up. We grow stronger each and every day. To give up now is to let the ones whose only desire is to take all of our rights away, win. It might not seem like we are making progress, but trust me, we are. Continue to wake up the people who are still under the induced stupor sponsored by the ones who want to take our rights away. If you are a member of a gun club, encourage them to begin a legislative committee. Many clubs have decided to stay below the radar, now is not the time to do so. This is another avenue to educate the public, even some gun owners. Never accept the simple answer, that “I support the 2nd Amendment!”
By James D. Tresmond, Esq., Buffalo
It is time to put a final nail in the coffin of New York’s so-called “Sullivan Act”.
The Sullivan Act affixed enormous criminal punishments for possession of a handgun without permission of New York state officials. If you own a handgun, and keep that handgun in your home for selfdefense, you are guilty of a “Class A” misdemeanor if you did not obtain a license from your county licensing officer before obtaining that firearm.
The United States Supreme Court ruled that handgun possession within the home, independent of military service, is a fundamental. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008). This right is incorporated against the states through the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010). In other words, states may not prohibit law-abiding American citizens from keeping handguns in their homes for self-defense.
Why then does New York require that you obtain a license to keep a gun in your home? Moreover, why does your handgun license expressly state that your right “is revocable at any time?” Something is seriously wrong with this picture. After all, rights are not rights if some bureaucrat can revoke your right “at any time.” What’s going on here, and what is being done to protect your constitutional rights?
Most people may not realize that the Sullivan Act was not passed for any legitimate state objective such as public safety. Rather, Timothy Sullivan sponsored the act as a way of intimidating and penalizing Italian immigrants to New York who, like many Americans to this day, often carried revolvers. Sullivan was a notoriously corrupt politician associated with the infamous graft machine known as Tammany Hall.
The law was passed such that licensing agencies had the capability to grant or deny pistol permits on an arbitrary, case-by-case basis as so many residents throughout New York are familiar with today. Those chosen as political favorites would obtain a carry license, while the immigrants would be denied the same right.
The same licensing scheme established under the Sullivan Act remains in effect today. Egregiously, the Sullivan Act is more than bad legislation; it is unconstitutional legislation. It is unconstitutional because it converts your constitutional right to keep a handgun in your home into a privilege “revocable at any time.”
This despicable denial of citizens’ fundamental rights has exploded out of control. All Americans living under the current New York regime must ask state permission to exercise their fundamental constitutional rights.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS EXPLAINED
The elevation of handgun ownership in the home to a “fundamental right” has particularly important conseq uences in la w. T he ter m “fundamental right” is a special term within federal and state law used to describe a particular right necessary to preserve a free and open democratic society.
Fundamental rights are those rights “essential to a scheme or ordered liberty (Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 ) and “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition (Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 ).
The Supreme Court has consistently held that fundamental rights are not up for debate; your fundamental rights belong to you regardless of what any transient political majority decides. Writing for the Supreme Court majority, Western New York’s own Justice Jackson wrote: “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).
Plainly stated, fundamental rights are afforded the highest degree of protection under our system of laws and are not easily encumbered. “The identification and protection of fundamental rights is an enduring part of the judicial duty to interpret the Constitution” that “requires courts to exercise reasoned judgment in identifying interests of the persons so fundamental that the State must accord them its respect.” Obergfell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ____ (2015). Those rights enshrined within the Bill of Rights are fundamental. To that end, Heller and McDonald have settled the issue that your right to keep a handgun in your home is a fundamental right.
THE SECOND AMENDMENT’S IMPORTANCE IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT
The importance of the Second Amendment as a basic human right is as old as our nation. Federalists and anti-federalists alike unanimously agreed that the right to keep and bear arms worked as a prophylactic against the creation of a despotic regime. In the days following the Civil War, self-defense was the central focus of the Second Amendment’s scope. White supremacist groups terrorized freed slaves and their families.
The clear and present danger posed to freed slaves prompted the 30th Congress to pass legislation guaranteeing equal rights to all people. The Freedman’s Bureau Act of 1866 protected “The right to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings concerning personal liberty, personal security, and the acquisition, enjoyment, and disposition of estate, real and personal, including the constitutional right to bear arms, shall be secured to and enjoyed by all citizens without respect to race or color, or previous condition of slavery” (emphasis added).
New York, once a beacon of freedom and progress, has paradoxically made the wrongful choice to side with the position of former slavery-supporting governments. New York thereby converts its residents’ constitutional rights into mere privileges, revocable at the mere whim and caprice of unelected bureaucrats. In the coming days, we are going to take affirmative steps to bring a swift death to the Sullivan Act.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW
I urge each and every one of you to contact your state assembly members and senators and demand a full repeal of both the Sullivan Act and the SAFE Act. Explain to your friends and family members that, while they may not own guns, carve-outs and exceptions to one area of the Bill of Rights expose other rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, protections against warrantless searches, to the same acts of casuistry and tortured reasoning that will make all of us less free. It is the only practical approach to save our republic.
We will continue to pursue legal challenges in the courts. You may remember my client David Lewis, whose pistol permit was wrongfully suspended after the New York State Police targeted him, despite his never having done anything wrong. David’s experience gave him the deep understanding between what happens when a government treats rights like privileges.
The damage to David far exceeded the denial of his Second Amendment right. David was subjected to public embarrassment, his privacy rights were violated, defamed as danger to society — again, something that was never the case. That is why David retained me to represent him in mounting a constitutional challenge to the Sullivan Act.
Like many of you, David understands that the Bill of Rights has to be respected and enforced as a whole. The erosion of one fundamental right necessarily triggers the erosion of other fundamental rights. The protection against warrantless searches and seizures is abrogated when the Second Amendment is not respected. Likewise, wrongful exceptions carve-outs in one area of constitutional law may be applied to others. Your government rarely violates a single right at a time. History and experience tell us that once our rights are eroded, governments violate entire categories of them en masse.
The time to act is now. In the words of Winston Churchill, we shall never surrender. It is a pleasure, and an honor, to defend your rights.
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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