Feb. 24, 2013
On February 25th the County Legislature we will consider a resolution seeking the repeal of the recently enacted NY SAFE (Gun) Act. I have received more comments on this than any other issue in recent years. I plan on voting to support the repeal of that law. In my opinion it is a bad law, and was passed under false pretenses. Despite the claims by Governor Andrew Cuomo, there was no emergency, and no circumstances that warranted jamming through an extreme law without full dialogue, discussion and debate.
The “emergency” that prompted Governor Cuomo to push the NY SAFE Act through the State Legislature was the report that President Obama was going to call upon Congress to pass a federal law dealing with the same issues. Cuomo didn’t want to be upstaged by the President. As further evidence of the fact that there was no emergency, consider what changes were brought about, and whether any of us are “safer” as a result of the provisions in the new gun control law. The plain truth is that no one is safer or less likely to experience gun violence as a result of the passage of this law.
The recent push for stricter gun control laws was prompted by the tragic incident at Sandy Hook. Although there is no proof to support their arguments, President Obama, Governor Cuomo and other public officials, along with the national media, have linked widespread gun ownership with incidents like Sandy Hook. Their arguments are flawed and do not stand up to close scrutiny.
Much has been written about the fact that this law violates the Second Amendment to the United Sates Constitution. I agree, but won’t belabor that point here. Instead I want to expose the political motivation behind the NY SAFE Act.
The general public was shocked and outraged by the shooting at Sandy Hook. It represents every parent’s worst nightmare. The media ran non-stop coverage, even when there was nothing new to report. Given the lack of real news to report, the media speculated about the causes of the tragedy and demanded answers. Opportunistic politicians obliged by telling them the problem was widespread gun ownership, and demanding that guns be taken away from honest and law-abiding citizens. The politicians came up with a catchy name for a poorly drafted and ineffective gun control law. Despite all their rhetoric there is absolutely no evidence that the adoption of the NY SAFE Act will have any effect in preventing future tragedies.
Several undeniable facts related to this law need to be discussed. Consider the following:
- Each year thousands of young people die in our cities from violence involving illegal guns.
- The national media largely ignores these tragic deaths because they have become “routine” and expected. They don’t generate high ratings.
- The victims in these deaths are typically lower income “minority” children.
- Many of these deaths are related to drug dealing and gangs.
- The guns causing these “routine deaths” have been “illegal” under existing laws that have been on the books for many years. This has not prevented criminals from getting guns used to commit crimes.
- If gun control laws are effective, how do you explain this epidemic of gun related violence in our inner cities?
- If gun control laws haven’t saved lives in our inner cities, what basis is there for thinking they will save lives in suburbs and rural areas?
- The new law is largely “self-policing” and “self-reporting.” Law-abiding citizens with guns will be impacted by it, but they aren’t the people committing crimes with guns. Criminals will not turn themselves in.
I am offended that for years the media has ignored the deaths of thousands of poor inner-city children. Those deaths are as great a tragedy as the deaths of middle class suburban children at Sandy Hook. Guns are not the problem. Crime is the problem, and America needs to address it. The real tragedy is that our leaders have failed to address and solve that problem.