More State Gun Control on the Horizon

The following is passed to us from the Shooters Committee on Political Education (“SCOPE”) and we are forwarding it to  our members without editing.  If you are so inclined, you can and should do your part to write your legislators and let them know how you feel about these proposals.  You should all be prepared for whats coming over the horizon.  Members interest in joining SCOPE can click this link for more information.

 

What’s On the Horizon for 2019

Albany Legislation:
This is a general overview of what we expect in terms of gun legislation coming out of Albany when the legislature convenes in January. Of course, the legislative season is fluid and this list isn’t necessarily complete and can change as circumstances evolve. Given the 2 to 1 majority Democrats have in both houses, turning back anti-gun legislation this year will be formidable, if not impossible to say the least. 

  • Red flag bill (extreme risk protection order) – I would expect the Assembly proposal to be reintroduced this year, it’s typical of other red flag bills passed around the country with one glaring exception, this bill adds school personnel as qualified petitioners. The problem with this is that school personnel are not qualified or necessarily good judges of whether a student is truly a danger to himself or others. Also, let’s say a student does pose a security risk, under this proposal the school district would go to court and seek an order which would likely take several days. In the meantime, the unintended consequence is a potential perpetrator with plenty of time to follow through and complete an attack. If schools have a student, they view as a risk the most prudent action is to involve law enforcement which is already an available option. 

The other issue with school administrators is they’re often not rational thinkers when it comes to firearms. We’ve all heard stories of children who are disciplined for making paper guns, playfully using make-believe guns or even chewing a pop-tart in the shape of a gun. Another consideration, an unsuspecting parent or guardian who has broken no laws will likely have their firearms confiscated with no due process.

Regardless of who the petitioner is, the Assembly proposal lacks due process, even for those who are not the target of the order. Additionally, there are no penalties in the legislation for those who make a false claim. 

  • Bump stock ban – While many of us may have little use for a bump stock, they’re nothing more than a firearm accessory, much like magazines, pistol grips on rifles, flash suppressors and noise suppressors. The function can easily be replicated with a rubber band or a quick trigger finger, they make a firearm less lethal because they severely limit the firearms accuracy. Because bump stocks are an accessory, supporting such a ban would be inconsistent with our long-standing opposition to bans on other accessory items like magazines. 
  • Extended waiting period – A NICS check results in one of three responses: proceed, denied or delayed. When the response is “delayed” it generates a three-day waiting period giving officials three extra days to determine if the purchaser is eligible to possess a firearm. Keep in mind the letter “I” in NICS stands for “instant,” when the system was established it was intended to be an instant system. On what is supposed to be the exception, when an immediate determination could not be made officials have up to three days to determine eligibility. Albany legislation wants to extend the three-day period to ten days. If there’s a problem with the NICS system, it’s with the government bureaucracy failing to update the system with timely and accurate information. Extending waiting the period will do nothing to correct that problem. Law-abiding gun owners should not be burdened by government incompetents. 
  • Social media and search engine history – There is new legislation (S.9191) in the State Senate that would require pistol license applicants, renewals and owners of semi-automatic firearms grandfathered under the SAFE Act to submit their social media passwords and search engine history, to determine a person’s suitability. This legislation is an assault on not just the 2nd Amendment but also the 1st, 4th, 5th and perhaps the 14th Amendment. Also, recently introduced is S.9197, similar to S.9191, except this proposal pertains to rifles and shotguns purchased through a licensed dealer. Since all sales must be completed through an FFL with a NICS check, I would assume all sales, including private sales, would come under this legislation. For years we’ve been telling trap shooters and hunters they will eventually come after you, well here it is.Here’s a question that’s not directly addressed in either one of these pieces of legislation. If it’s determined your social media and search engine check comes back as unsatisfactory, will firearms you already possess be subject to confiscation?  This legislation is Orwellian in nature and it’s like giving the government the keys to your front door. Even someone who isn’t a gun owner should cringe at this legislation. The proverbial slippery slope, if gun licenses, why not driver licenses, real estate license, or any license issued by the state.

 

          Requiring firearm owners to obtain Liability insurance – S.2857 is a proposal that would require firearm owners to obtain a minimum of not less than one million dollars in liability insurance. Under state penal law, firearms are defined as revolvers and pistols so apparently, this requirement pertains to concealed carry license holders. However, the legislation does read, “Failure to maintain such insurance shall result in the immediate revocation of such owner’s registration, license and any other privilege to own such firearm.” The term registration isn’t defined but they may be referring to semi-automatic firearms registered under the SAFE Act. Notice also, this legislation clearly exposes what we’ve always known, the gun grabbers don’t believe you have a right to own a firearm, in their view, it’s a “privilege” as they have spelled out in this proposal.

Mandating liability insurance could make it impossible for low-income citizens, many who live in high crime areas, from owning a firearm to protect themselves. Self-protection will be for the privileged. Another obvious point regarding this legislation is the lack of need. Law abiding gun owners, people with concealed carry licenses are rarely involved in criminal behavior, ask any sheriff. Overwhelmingly firearms used in crime are possessed by criminals illegally. They would not be impacted one bit by this law. The only point to this legislation is to create one more tool to disarm law-abiding citizens. We need to specifically ask our legislators how this will disarm gang members and criminals, and how will this make us safer?

These are my thoughts on legislation that has been floated in the media over the last few weeks, what will come to the floor for votes remains to be seen. We may see some, we may see all, we may see legislation such as microstamping or mandatory storage bills. We need to make our voices heard and keep our members informed. Our strength is in our members and your leadership, I encourage you to look this over and please offer your input. Not one of us has all the answers but together we all can make a difference.

Judicial Activism 

As most of us understand, with Democrats controlling all levels of state government, our legislative prospects may be bleak. Nonetheless, that should not preclude us from doing all we can to convince legislators that proposals like those I’ve discussed here are not in the best interest of the law-abiding citizens of New York State. If we are not successful legislatively our best option is probably through the courts, specifically the federal courts. Those are options we’ll continue to investigate, including hiring an attorney on retainer, as we proceed. In the meantime, we will begin to put more emphasis on fundraising for our legal defense fund.

 

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