On January 15, 2013 the State Legislature passed the “SECURE AMMUNITION AND FIREARMS ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 2013,” commonly known as the New York SAFE ACT. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it the same day. It was a bad law in almost every way. The law was enacted at an emergency session of the State Legislature called by Governor Cuomo. There was no actual emergency, other than Cuomo’s desire to pass a gun control law before President Obama and Congress passed one. The passage of the SAFE ACT had at least one unintended beneficial side effect. The firestorm of opposition to this bad law guaranteed that Congress wouldn’t pass its own version of such a law. Unfortunately, New Yorkers are stuck with this law that clearly infringes upon their Second Amendment rights.
The SAFE ACT requires almost all sales of firearms and ammunitions be reported to the State. It prohibits the sale of various types of firearms, and forbids internet sales of assault weapons. It changes the definition of what constitutes an assault weapon so that many formerly legal firearms are now illegal. It imposed an arbitrary limit so that no ammunition magazine can contain more than 7 bullets. It turns out that almost no firearms have such magazines available. Governor Cuomo publicly acknowledged this portion of the law was unenforceable. To avoid allegations that the law was intended to ban the sale of all handguns, Cuomo declared that larger magazines are okay, as long as no more than 7 bullets are placed in that magazine. Guess who can be counted upon to ignore such limits? I think that criminals will simply laugh at this foolish law.
The SAFE ACT failed to contain an exemption for law enforcement officers carrying standard issue firearms as part of their duties. This put police in risk of prosecution. This oversight had to be corrected in an amendment passed earlier this summer. The current provisions of this law are virtually unenforceable and counter-productive. Earlier this year the Allegany County Legislature passed a resolution opposing the New York SAFE ACT, and calling for its repeal. At least 51 other counties (out of a total of 58 counties) have passed similar resolutions calling for its repeal. Not surprisingly, Governor Cuomo has dug in his heels and refuses to consider repealing it. At present he has the necessary votes in the State Legislature to prevent its repeal.
My objective in writing this article is to energize and motivate as many voters as possible over this issue. We must let Albany know that it has gone too far, and that the SAFE ACT must be repealed. The way to do that is to vote for candidates who oppose the SAFE ACT. This will communicate a clear message to State Legislators who must run for office next year. A strong turnout for Republican candidates is the best way to deliver that message. Although many local Democrats also oppose the SAFE ACT, their party has clearly chosen to endorse and support the SAFE ACT. They must now pay a price for supporting this law.
In April 1775 British Redcoats marched from Boston to Lexington to seize guns and ammunition stored by local residents. Those patriots refused to accept the right of the government to take away their firearms and ammunition. In defense of their freedom they took a stand and fired “the shot heard round the world.” This precise issue started the American Revolution. The right to bear arms has enormous implications for our nation and society. The consequences of allowing this law to survive cannot be overestimated. If the SAFE ACT had been in effect in 1775 the Redcoats would have known the name, address and other personal information of every patriot that stood against them on that historic April morning. We must take a stand now, before it is too late. REPEAL THE NEW YORK SAFE ACT.