By Budd Schroeder Chairman Emeritus
The SAFE Act is still a topic of discussion, especially now that Chris Collins is sponsoring the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA, HR 3576) which, if passed, would negate several of the most objectionable provisions of the law.
People may want to discuss the SAFE Act, and it is up to members like us to educate them on the uselessness of the law when it comes to diminishing “gun violence.” The discussion starts at the beginning of how it was passed, literally in the middle of the night with no three day waiting period for adequate debate or input.
Governor Cuomo and corrupt politicians (Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos) pushed it through the Assembly and Senate. The two legislative leaders were convicted and sentenced for corruption on other matters, Silver’s conviction was overturned and he may face another trial, but neither is serving their sentences. The point is that the origin of the law was passed in a dishonorable way by dishonorable people.
It was called a “message of necessity” although some of the provisions didn't go into effect for a year, and others are not in effect now. What it did was focus on ways for the state to deny honest gun owners four constitutional and civil rights without due process. Governor Cuomo and his toadies thought, and still think, that is necessary.
It banned many semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. It started out banning any rifle or shotgun that had a magazine that could hold more than seven rounds. It was so badly written that it didn't exempt law enforcement officers from that provision. Needless to say, that was quickly corrected and also because of the uproar that many handguns came with ten round magazines, ten round magazines became the limit for civilians.
Then some of the idiots in the legislature decided that it would be legal to have ten round magazines, but the owner could load only seven rounds in it. A couple of people were arrested for that, but a federal judge negated that provision. However, it is only in that judge’s district that it is positively legal. It could be illegal to have more than seven rounds in a magazine in the other parts of the state. Whatever happened to “equal protection under the law?”
Nothing has been litigated on that aspect so far. Perhaps there are prosecutors smart enough to realize that bringing stupid cases to a trial can make them look stupid. Ridicule is not something politicians and bureaucrats like.
The law also says any semiautomatic firearm with a detachable magazine would be illegal if it had a “military” look, having such features as a collapsible or folding stock or one with a thumbhole in it. It also banned guns with a bayonet lug or a threaded barrel. All of the banned features are cosmetic. When debating a politician or anti-gun dimwit it is a good idea to ask them how those features makes the gun “more deadly.”
Their answers could usually be met with laughter from the audience which again, can cause the anti gunners to be ridiculed. However, the politicians told people who owned these types of guns that they could be made legal if the gun was registered. Obviously, if the bureaucrats know you have the gun that makes it “less deadly.”
Add some more ridiculous provisions of the SAFE Act. It still has the provision that the state can make people have a background check when they buy ammunition. This has not been put into effect yet because the State Police don't have the equipment to run the state equivalent of the NICS check. "Stupid is as stupid does," said Forrest Gump. This whole law serves as a good example of that saying.
Then, the law requires a background check for any private sale or transfer of all guns. So, if Joe up in the North country wants to legally sell his Winchester 94 to his close friend and the nearest FFL dealer is forty miles away, they have to drive the eighty miles, pay ten bucks for the NICS check (if the dealer will do it) before the sale is legal. There are rumors that in some places guns are exchanged with cash and a handshake without going through the legal process.
The question hasn't come up and been publicized about how do you prove a bill of sale dated before 2013 wasn't involved in a gun purchase? That could be problematic in some jurisdictions.
The other problem with that law is it prevents the Amish from legally buying a gun. In order to perform a NICS check, the FFL dealer needs a photo ID. The Amish, by their religion, don't have photo IDs so they cannot get the background check. That is also a good question to use in the debate or discussion. “Why do you think the Amish are such a dangerous society that they shouldn't be able to legally purchase a firearm?
Getting a stupid look from the person who has to think of a logical reason for that is worth the time and effort to ask. As you keep asking and interjecting these questions for which there is no logical answer, you are making the opponent crumble. How does he defend the indefensible?
Now, you are getting warmed up and finding the chinks in the SAFE Act defender’s armor. You have showne the stupidity of the law on the cosmetic restrictions of the guns. You always have the undeniable truth that THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES ANY WEAPON DANGEROUS IS THE PERSON HOLDING IT.
A hammer can be used to build a house. What do you call that? The obvious answer is that it is a tool. What do you call the same hammer if it is used to smash a person’s skull? The obvious answer to that is “a weapon.” Again undeniable logic!
This is the “weapon” you should use in the debate or discussion. Truthful statements that can't be refuted or rebuffed are winners. So, in desperation, your opponent may counter with, “The background check will make it more difficult to buy a gun.” And the answer to that is the degree of difficulty is not a factor.
Many drugs are totally illegal and there is no place to buy them legally. The addicts don't seem to have a big problem getting their supply. The same thing is true for firearms. If there is a buyer for a product, you will soon find a seller. That is a law of commerce.
The anti-gun debater might come up with “most guns involved in crimes come from out of state.” The answer could be. “Most illegal drugs come from out of the country.” State or federal borders don't stop criminal commerce.
Another argument comes up on the subject of limited capacity magazines. The opponent might say “If it wasn't for the high capacity magazines you wouldn't have mass murders.” Then you discuss the ease and speed of changing magazines to reload.
Let them think a moment about this thought. The atrocity caused at Sandy Hook by Adam Lanza is a good example of that fallacy. He could have committed all those murders with an old fashioned double barrel shotgun. He was murdering little children. Who could stop him from reloading? Again the danger comes from the criminal not the weapon.
Another point comes from a mass murderer in Virginia. He murdered many carrying a bunch of seven round magazines. The mass murderers are cowards. They select places to commit their murders where they don't have much, if any, opposition. How many mass murders have been committed at gun clubs? The vast majority of the mass murders were committed in “gun free zones.”
You can bring up a response by relating to drunk driving deaths and that more than half of the homicides involve drugs or alcohol. Drugs are illegal, but if we use the “logic” of the SAFE Act in this vein, we can argue that they also are inert until a person uses them.
So, if we make the purchase of alcohol more difficult, that will cut down on drunk drivers. Prohibition was one of the greatest failures in our history. Difficult to get alcohol? The people who wanted to drink were not significantly inconvenienced. Criminals made fortunes during the Roaring Twenties. Finally, the stupid law was repealed , as the SAFE Act should be.
Using this analogy, maybe we could reduce drunk driving and alcohol abuse if the bottles were smaller. How about a law that would forbid any alcoholic beverage to be in anything larger than a pint bottle? How about limiting alcoholic beverages to no more than 20 percent alcohol content? Limiting magazine capacity makes as much sense.
Speaking about the analogy using cars, try this one. There is no place in NY where a person can legally go faster than 65 MPH. Therefore to make our roadways safer, wouldn't it make sense to pass a law to make all cars sold in this state have a governor on it that would not allow the car to go faster than the legal limit?
Speed kills and how many lives could this save? The only reason a person could want to have an automobile that can exceed the speed limit, is because he WANTS to exceed the speed limit.
Andrew Cuomo grinned as he declared that “Nobody needs 20 rounds to kill a deer.” Well, nobody needs a car that will go faster than 65 MPH. Of course police and emergency vehicles (and probably the governor’s car would be exempt).
Of course, being New York and the fact that fines for speeding is a good source of revenue for governments makes it acceptable in Albany to have these dangerous cars on the road. (A bit of sarcasm here).
The biggest problem for honest gun owners is that they can lose four constitutional and civil rights without due process. No law abiding gun owner wants criminals or mentally impaired people to possess firearms. Felons are forbidden to have guns. However, the issue of mental impairment is causing a big problem.
People who have been falsely reported by a hospital or certain people in the medical or social services for “being a danger to themselves or others” can cause the loss of the right to keep and bear arms. There is the case of Montgomery v. Cuomo still sitting on a judges desk because he won't bring it to trial. Whatever happened to “justice delayed is justice denied?”
The case involves a retired law enforcement officer who was having a problem with insomnia and went to a hospital for treatment. He was released and a couple of days later the police came to his door and confiscated his guns and pistol permit.
Others are part of this action. One is a woman who voluntarily went to a hospital because of a medication problem. She was falsely reported as an involuntary admission. Same thing happened to her. Some people (not a part of this case) lost the four constitutional and civil rights because of the medication they were taking.
All got notices of the confiscation and the removal of gun ownership and their guns. There was no hearing and we found out that the government is exempt from HIPAA laws. They can do what they choose to do.
So far, the woman involved in the Montgomery Case had her permit reinstated because of the involvement of a good lawyer and investment of money. But, there is a big glitch for the possession of her guns. Being charged is enough for the state to notify the FBI and she, and the others now can't pass a NICS check. There is no easy way to get the stain of the report off the list.
So why cannot those who are falsely accused possess firearms? The state has no interest in rectifying their mistake. They refuse to rectify their mistake. They refuse to contact the FBI to get the names of the wrongly accused persons removed from the list. Where is the justice here?
The other abomination is when a pistol permit is suspended and the handguns are confiscated the owner’s long guns are confiscated too. When the pistol permit is reinstated the police have to return the handguns, but not the long guns. In order to get the rifles and shotguns returned, a Supreme Court Judge has to be served with an Article 78 to return the confiscated property. The filing fee is close to $400 and the average lawyer’s fee is more than a thousand dollars. The legal costs may be more than the gun is worth and not be in the budget of many people who are affected. Perhaps this is another ploy to deny gun ownership. The power to tax is the power to destroy. So are expensive processes to regain constitutional rights.
So, if you are debating, arguing or writing letters about the SAFE Act, this article may give you some good talking points to prove that New York has corrupt politicians running Albany and the laws are strictly to limit the Second Amendment rights for honest citizens. It is up to us to convince the corrupt politicians that the law is a dismal failure and does nothing to reduce “gun violence” because CRIMINALS DON'T OBEY LAWS.
Go forth and preach the gospel of logic and reason.