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.
By Budd Schroeder
As expected, the action of one evil person in South Carolina has the anti-gun advocates calling for more gun control on all Americans. They want more restrictions to limit Second Amendment rights. The words of the Constitution are “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” All the restrictions are infringements on this vital right.
Looking at the media one would think there is a huge percentage of gun owners who are not fit to own firearms, but using simple math disputes that. For the sake of convenience let’s use the figures of gun owner numbers as one hundred million. Most experts estimate that there are more than that. Then let’s use the figure of 100,000 gun violence events. The actual crime rate is lower, but simple division shows that .001 percent of gun owners are violent.
We could hope that figure would describe the percentage of corrupt politicians in government, but we, unfortunately know that is much higher. Yet, it is the corrupt politicians who grandstand and call for more gun control.
The fact is that no gun control laws stop evil criminals from committing their horrible crimes. South Carolina law forbids carrying a gun in a church without the permission of a church official. That gave Mr. Roof a perfect killing field because there would be nobody there capable of stopping him. Reportedly he reloaded five or six times to kill nine people. Not having a high capacity magazine didn’t hinder him in his mass murder either.
The S.A.F.E. Act in New York is another example of gun law failures. It requires the registration of so called “assault weapons.” If estimates of the number of guns that meet the state’s definition is correct, divided by the number of guns actually registered, the result is a meager five percent.
That would highly suggest that there is a lot of civil disobedience in the state. This brings up the concept of Prohibition. That was a law that was obviously unpopular and created even more problems. The public didn’t look at it as a good law and they didn’t obey it.
It had to be repealed as the SAFE Act should be repealed because it has no effect on reducing gun crime. In fact homicides increased, including two policemen being shot to death while sitting in their car. Politicians don’t seem to grasp the obvious. Criminals don’t obey laws and good people don’t need restrictive laws.
E. J. Dionne talked about guns and suicides, blaming the ownership of guns as a factor. Japan has virtually no private ownership of guns and their suicide rate is more than double that of the United States. Go figure. There must be something else that causes suicides.
Gun bans won’t work to keep them out of the hands of criminals any more than drug bans prevent the use of illegal drugs by addicts. If there is a demand for something, there will always be a provider using illegal means.
The only thing that makes a gun dangerous, is the person holding it! Cars and alcohol are not the cause of drunk drivers. They are the products being misused by the drunken driver. The laws should focus on people and not the potential means for evil or tragic events. Gun control is actually an attempt at people control, and politicians like to control people. “Gun control” is a good press release for politicians who prefer slogans to solutions.
Firing Lines, Volume XXIV, Issue IV August/September 2015
Sheriff@SaratogaCountyNY.gov - PRESS RELEASE-FOR RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY INTERNET DISTRIBUTION AUTHORIZED
SHERIFF MICHAEL H. ZURLO ANNOUNCES FORMAL PATH TO UNRESTRICTED PISTOL PERMIT FOR SARATOGA COUNTY RESIDENTS
Kevin P. Mullahey, Undersheriff
Richard L. Castle, Chief
Ballston Spa, NY – June 17, 2015 –Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo today announced that since taking office in January 2014 he has worked to improve the pistol permit process in Saratoga County. His efforts have resulted in a reduction of processing time from over a year to less than three months in many cases while at the same time working toward a path for those wishing for an unrestricted concealed carry permit to obtain one.
Following recent meetings with representatives from area gun clubs and county firearms instructors, a plan has been devised that would allow law-abiding and responsible gun owners to obtain an unrestricted concealed carry permit upon completion of a live-fire safety and qualification course as well as classroom training on the legalities and responsibility of carrying a concealed firearm. To be eligible to obtain an unrestricted pistol permit in Saratoga County a person would first need to possess a restricted pistol permit for a period of one year and successfully complete the live-fire safety and qualification course. Upon successful completion of this course a certificate of completion will be provided to the permit holder who may then request that all restrictions be removed from his or her permit. It is anticipated that an unrestricted pistol permit may be issued by the County’s pistol permit licensing officer to anyone who successfully completes this course, provided that all other statutory requirements are met.
According to Sheriff Zurlo “A recognized path for obtaining an unrestricted pistol permit in Saratoga County is long overdue. I am pleased that through a collaborative effort with responsible gun owners in Saratoga County we are finally able to bring this to fruition.”
Saratoga County firearms instructors are in the process of designing the required training course in the hopes of starting to offer the course later this summer.
Led by Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo (R,I) the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, with more than 240 personnel provides law-enforcement protection and community services across Saratoga County, an area that covers more than 815 square miles. For more information visit: www.SaratogaCountySheriff.org
By N. Keith Kappel
There are two things to do when you’ve made a political calculation that backfires. The techniques apply regardless of whether it’s a law you’ve touted that caused unintended consequences or when an appointee or elected official you supported turns out to be an embarrassment.
In the case of unintended consequences, simply unleash a barrage of statistics to support that you have done the right thing – and they don’t have to be accurate or relevant. If it’s an individual who is a problem, then circle the wagons, heap praise on the person’s accomplishments and see that they are given prestigious awards and praise.
A year after the passage of New York’s infamous SAFE Act, a spokeswoman for the governor declares that the numbers are indisputable – the SAFE Act has enabled the state to better protect New Yorkers. “There have been 1,291 charges under the new law, with 1,155 for felony firearms possession, formerly a misdemeanor, with 1,041 of these cases (81 percent) in New York City, mostly Brooklyn and the Bronx. Separately, 17,751 people have been charged this year with misdemeanor weapons possession, almost 90 percent in New York City. These charges includes other weapons such as switchblades, blackjacks and brass knuckles.” No cause and effect correlation is provided to demonstrate which components of the SAFE Act were responsible for these enforcement actions.
Said proclamation of the SAFE Act as a success is unsupported, transparent nonsense and a shallow attempt to provide cover to the governor.
Details of the felony weapons charges noted above have not been disclosed. Interestingly, the ban on so-called assault weapons didn’t take effect until Jan. 15, so I suspect the 1,291 arrests were primarily for possession of unregistered firearms, which would have occurred without the SAFE Act. Also not reported was the disposition of these cases in terms of follow-up prosecution. Law enforcement I’ve spoken with often state their frustration with weapons charges being used as plea bargaining chips. In addition, the announcement fails to provide a breakdown between firearms, switchblades, blackjacks and brass knuckles. The 17,751 number sounds like a red herring thrown in to obfuscate and pump up the law’s effectiveness.
As Nancy Pelosi said, “...we have to pass the law to find out what’s in it!” Pass it the governor did, in the dark of night with no opportunity for debate or input. The response from the public was and continues to be loud and strong – Repeal It! Note that tens of thousands of Repeal the SAFE Act signs permeate front yards across the state. In addition, 52 of 62 New York counties and 225 municipal governments have passed resolutions in opposition, and sheriffs across the state have said they will not enforce. Billboards have been placed in Albany as a constant reminder to our legislators of what upstate thinks about this legislation. Seems like a lot of folks found out what’s in the bill.
Let’s take a look at independently published crime statistics and assess where this law is directed and whom it truly affects:
There is a cultural component to violent crime that the politicians want to deflect attention from because it speaks to the failure of many government policies and programs. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI.
Uniform Crime Report and the National Youth Gang Survey show that, clearly, the crime problem is primarily an inner city demographic occurring in larger metropolitan areas and are drug- and gang related. Instead of dealing with this the politicians demonize an inanimate object with an emotion charged label of assault weapon. The SAFE Act fails to deal with the real issues and instead criminalizes people for what they lawfully owned prior to its enactment. It further penalizes and encumbers the law abiding for the simple acts of buying ammunition or giving a firearm to a family member.
Key components of the SAFE Act include a ban on so-called assault weapons, a ban on magazines that exceed 10-round capacity, a requirement that firearms be loaded with no more than seven rounds, background checks for ammunition purchases, severe restrictions for firearms transfers unless a background check is performed, confiscation of private property (without compensation) from the owners upon their passing and registration with the state of ALL firearms owned by a person upon their passing.
There is no justification in any statistics or independent study to indicate any of these elements are, can be or have been effective in addressing crime or criminals. On the contrary, there is substantial evidence that these make criminals out of the law abiding. Case in point is the singular arrest for the illegal sale of a so-called assault weapon when the seller was co-opted into consummating the sale the day after rather than the day before the law took effect.
The so-called assault weapon ban is absurd on two counts. First and foremost, no one can define an assault weapon beyond certain cosmetic features. Second, such firearms are used in an insignificant number of crimes, unless you count those given by the U.S. Department of Justice to the Mexican Drug cartels.
According to the SAFE Act, a firearm is prohibited if it is a semiautomatic with a detachable magazine and any one of the following: bayonet lug, a flash suppressor, muzzle brake, barrel shroud, grenade launcher, protruding pistol grip, protruding forearm grip, thumb hole stock or adjustable stock – characteristics which have nothing to do with the function of the firearm. I had to dispose of the thumb hole stock that came with my M597 Remington target grade 22 and replace it with a standard stock to “de-Cuomo” it and avoid registration and eventual confiscation.
The SAFE Act trashes the Second Amendment rights of the law-abiding and ignores the fact that the law will not be obeyed by criminals. Unfortunately, it is not about crime and criminals, but it is about control.
(Editor’s note: Keith Kappel is a former board of directors member for SCOPE –Shooters’ Committee on Political Education.)
By Donald H. Smith, At Large Director
The Second Amendment isn't about hunting; it's about tyranny. Our Founding Fathers weren't worried about our being able to bag a duck or a deer; they were worried about us being able to keep our fundamental freedoms. Second Amendment rights belong to individuals, not to states or cities. Many of our forefathers died for this right.
Gun bans do not limit access to firearms by the bad guys. However, the bans do limit my Constitutional rights. It is not the responsibility of elected officials to legislate my ownership of firearms or firearm magazines. They are my personal property and protected by the Second Amendment.
California first introduced a so-called “assault weapons” ban in 1989 followed by Connecticut in 1993. David Kopel is research director of the Independence Institute 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 states: “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”.
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”.
Safety cannot be legislated with so-called “feel good” gun bills. “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 gun-free zones will stop killers.”
Furthermore, Kopel explains: “Since gun controls today are far stricter than at the time when ‘active shooters’ were rare, what can account for the increase in these shootings? One plausible answer is the media. Cable TV in the 1990’s, and the Internet today, greatly magnify the instant celebrity that a mass killer can achieve. We know that many would-be killers obsessively study their predecessors.”
Consider that automobiles are more lethal than guns. We have laws for our highways but cannot guarantee everyone will obey them. Certainly regulations and personal responsibility go hand-in-hand. Perhaps we should replace large engines with small ones? But no, this might be construed as a violation of our civil rights.
The same can be said for alcohol. We know its use can result in crime and death, particularly when used in conjunction with drugs. My brother was innocently struck and nearly killed by a driver who had consumed a large quantity of alcohol. The driver died in the accident much like shooters have killed themselves after they have killed or maimed innocent bystanders. My brother never fully recovered. Some believe in restricting the size of gun magazines in an erroneous assumption that it saves lives. This suggests that we likewise reduce the size of alcohol containers. A parallel “reasonable, balanced and measured” alcohol policy might be as follows:
• Alcohol shall be served in half-pint containers only.
• Consumers must be registered in a national database.
• Purchasers must pass a fingerprint based background check.
• Immediate failure of background check upon evidence of DWI convictions.
• Number of purchases per customer shall be limited to one half-pint per week.
Thus we can end “the risk of unnecessary, high-capacity” alcohol containers. We might even consider enhanced penalties for possession of illegal amounts of alcohol.
I am sure these proposals would be considered fair and would not offend law-abiding alcohol consumers. “We can’t just stand back, the way things are, you have to do something to make a difference.” This sounds very much like recent quotes regarding proposed gun regulations. Do we honestly consider cars, containers and guns to be the real culprits? Common sense and sound judgment should convince us otherwise.
James Madison once said something to the effect that limited government , without self - government, is worse than tyranny. Those of us who are capable of governing ourselves, and obeying the law, as per Madison, should not expect to endure infringements upon our fundamental freedoms, not the least of which is our Second Amendment. Tragic events such as Tucson and Newtown should not provide the impetus for passage of legislation restricting such rights.
I end with a perspective on the Second Amendment which is quite appropriate: “No other property or objects are guaranteed to We the People, under the Constitution, as directly as “arms’ in the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is an explicit recognition of legal property ownership.”
By Stephen J. Aldstadt, former President of S.C.O.P.E.
One of the chief and most poignant criticisms of the NY (UN) SAFE Act is the fact that experts in law enforcement were not consulted in the drafting of the law. Most County Sheriffs and Police Unions have criticized the law.
PoliceOne conducted a Gun Policy & Law Enforcement survey in March of 2013, two full months after the passage of the (UN) SAFE Act (www.PoliceOne.com). More than 15,000 officers completed the survey. The results of this survey give a pretty good snapshot of the opinion of rank and file law enforcement personnel. These are the men and women who are out there on the front line fighting violent crime and working to make our communities safer. Let's take a look at how police officers view just a few of the major provisions of the (UN) SAFE Act. Survey questions in bold print:
What effect do you think a federal ban on manufacture of some semiautomatic firearms, termed by some as “assault weapons” would have on reducing violent crime?
71% indicated None. No effect. Interestingly 20.5% chose Negative, meaning they believe that a ban would actually have the effect of causing an increase in violent crime.
Do you think a federal ban on manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would reduce violent crime?
An overwhelming 95.7% answered NO! Do you think that a federal law prohibiting private, non-dealer transfers of firearms between individuals would reduce violent crime? 79.7% answered No. This is the holy grail of the anti-Second Amendment crowd. We hear a constant cry for “Universal Background Checks” and yet overwhelmingly, professional law enforcement personal do not believe it would reduce violent crime.
Clearly Police officers do not think laws like the (UN) SAFE Act will reduce violent crimes. What do they think would be effective?
Do you think increasing the severity of punishments for gun trafficking, particularly by unlicensed dealers or “straw purchasers” who buy arms for persons ineligible to own them, would reduce instances of gun crime?
A majority of 58.8% said yes.
Do you believe that that use of a firearm while perpetrating a crime should result in stiff, mandatory sentences with no plea bargains?
Overwhelmingly, police officers feel that prosecuting people who commit crimes with guns will be productive in making our communities safer, not passing more and more restrictive laws on ordinary citizens. Why then do our politicians ignore the law enforcement professionals and continue to support laws like the (UN) SAFE Act? What if the law enforcement professionals decided to ignore the politicians and their restrictive gun laws?
They were asked....
What is your opinion of some law enforcement leaders' public statement that they would not enforce more restrictive gun laws in their jurisdictions?
22.2% said Favorable, and another 48.8% said Very Favorable
If you were a Sheriff or Chief, how would you respond to more restrictive gun laws?
44.9% answered "not enforce and join in the public, vocal opposition effort".
17.2% answered "not enforce and quietly lead agency in opposite direction.
10.0% answered "unsure"
Less than one in five indicated they would enforce the law!
The (UN) SAFE Act primarily effects the average law abiding gun owners and its most restrictive provisions specifically target licensed pistol owners. What do rank and file feel about civilian gun owners?
Do you support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable?
YES, without question and without further restrictions – 91.3% !
On a scale of one to five – one being low and five being high – how important do you think legally -armed citizens are to reducing crime rates overall?
1 - 4.7%
2 - 4.9%
3 - 14.0%
4 - 21.7%
5 - 54.7%
We hear a constant drum beat for “Common Sense” gun control measures, always calling for more and more restrictions on the average citizen. How about this for common sense, how about we listen to the men and women who are out there every day putting their life on the line to keep us safe?
Those who support laws like the (UN) SAFE Act want us all to believe that gun violence is an ever increasing problem in America. The truth is just the opposite. By using government data, the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics show we have had a steady decrease in gun crime for decades.
There are notable exceptions to this: violent crime has shown an alarming increase in Baltimore and New York City, two cities where the rank and file police feel that they no longer have the backing and support of their political leaders. At a recent high profile event NYPD officers all turned their backs on Mayor DeBlasio because they feel the mayor does not have their backs. Morale among the police in Baltimore may be at an all time low.
The recent MOU, or Memorandum of Understanding, is an admission that the (UN) SAFE Act is unworkable. The fact that less than 4.5% of gun owners have complied with the “Assault Weapon” registration shows that it is un-enforceable. The fact that it is so widely criticized and ignored by our Sheriffs and Police officers demonstrates how ill-informed and ill-conceived the law is.
It is time our elected leaders started paying more attention to our police officers. Law enforcement needs to be consulted before politicians pass ill-informed, unworkable, and unenforceable gun laws. The (UN) SAFE Act must be repealed or over-tuned.
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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