The NY SAFE Act was passed in the aftermath of the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Unfortunately, as with all reactionary legislation, it accomplishes none of the stated goals and serves simply to punish law-abiding folks.
It is the height of leftist arrogance to assume that criminals will simply be dissuaded from committing crimes if “we just pass one more law.” Indeed, many times it is the failure to enforce the laws “on the books” that permits crimes to occur. Other times, it is personal failures — such as the inability of the Newtown shooter’s mother to get her son much needed mental health treatment and to permit him access to otherwise legal firearms.
The NY SAFE Act was a lemon right out of the gate. In his wisdom, Governor Cuomo neglected to put an exemption in the law prohibiting large-capacity magazines for police officers:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is working on amendments to clarify the newly passed gun-control law, following complaints that it did not explicitly exempt police officers from a ban on high-capacity magazines.
The state law bans magazines over seven rounds — police officers typically use magazines that hold twice as many bullets. Critics of the law claimed the alleged oversight was a product of the haste with which the package was passed through the legislature.
“This could have been avoided,” Republican Assemblyman Al Graf told FoxNews.com.
However, Cuomo’s office insists police officers are still exempt.
“Police officers possessing ammunition clip with more than seven bullets are not in violation of this law and they never will be, period,” Cuomo spokesman Matthew Wing said.
Cuomo is taking a page from Obama by modifying the law without legislative authority after enacted.
The NY SAFE Act language states:
S 265.37 UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CERTAIN AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICES.
IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON TO KNOWINGLY POSSESS AN AMMUNITION
FEEDING DEVICE THAT SUCH PERSON LAWFULLY POSSESSED BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE
DATE OF THE CHAPTER OF THE LAWS OF TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN WHICH ADDED
THIS SECTION, THAT HAS A CAPACITY OF, OR THAT CAN BE READILY RESTORED OR
CONVERTED TO ACCEPT MORE THAN SEVEN BUT LESS THAN TEN ROUNDS OF AMMUNI-
TION, WHERE SUCH DEVICE CONTAINS MORE THAN SEVEN ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION.
There is no exemption for police in the original statute. While some argue that the NY SAFE Act does not remove police exemptions, it’s up for debate. Indeed, Cuomo and the New York State legislature felt that it was necessary to pass an explicit exemption for former members of law enforcement. The point is, the legislation is sloppy.
Is it effective? Well, gun manufacturers have announced that they have gotten around the requirements of the NY SAFE Act by re-designing the “scary looking” “assault weapon.”
Simple design tweaks are allowing gun makers to get around restrictions New York put in place following the 2012 school shootings in Connecticut, prompting some critics to say the laws were mere window dressing.
New York lawmakers passed the SAFE Act last year, and announced to much fanfare that it effectively banned the sale of “assault weapons.” But AR-15s, the most popular type of guns often referred to as assault weapons, are sold in Empire State gun shops, freely and legally. The gun is being marketed by Stag Arms as a “New York-compliant AR-15,” and features a slightly modified stock and no bells and whistles. The gun does not have a pistol grip, for instance — one of the features banned by the act.
In New York, an assault weapon is defined as any semi-automatic rifle that accepts a magazine and has any of a list of ten features, ranging from a pistol-like grip to a flash suppressor to a bayonet mount.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Violence Policy Center — all groups that support more gun control — declined to comment or did not answer questions from FoxNews.com about the effectiveness of assault-weapons bans.
The New York Attorney General’s office referred questions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, who did not respond.
Cuomo’s website boasts that the state has “the toughest assault weapons ban in the country” and that “under the legislation, the Bushmaster used in the Newtown, Conn., shooting will be illegal.”
[Alan] Gottlieb [president of the Second Amendment Foundation] said that may be well-intentioned but is ineffective at best.
“Some of the guns they’re banning are the safest guns,” he said. “There aren’t many accidents committed with Bushmaster rifles, and there are a number of times that so-called assault rifles have been used in self defense.”
This gun functions exactly as an AR-15 did pre-NY SAFE Act and is exempt from the Act.
This just goes to show what an ineffective and token piece of legislation the NY SAFE Act was. It was simply a reactionary piece of “do something!” junk that legislators and lobbyists slapped together so they could boast some claim (“hey, look — we did something!“) and make nannystaters who wet their footie pajamas over guns feel better.
Indeed, as the sentiment (meaning polls) seemed to shift regarding guns, politicians’ views changed. Stunning, I know.
Take the Mayor of Poughkeepsie, New York, for example. Mayor John Tkazyik was once a proud member of Mike Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), which really should be named “Mayors Against All Guns.” Days after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Mayor Tkazyik co-signed a letter to President Obama requesting that legislation be passed that included: “universal background checks,” elimination of assault rifles and “high-capacity” magazines, and other items which actually were included in the NY SAFE Act.
Fast-forward to 2014 and Mayor Tkazyik penned an op-ed talking about how Mayors Against Illegal Guns has “left him” and he no longer supports them. Interestingly enough, 2014 is an election year and Tkazyik is facing a primary challenge as he runs for New York State Senate. The timing of the anti-MAIG op-ed is interesting, considering it came days after Tkazyik announced he’s running for New York State Senate. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association thinks that Tkazyik’s epiphany is a load of crap.
While illegal guns are certainly a problem in the United States, polls show that Americans don’t want to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens to go after criminals. Even the 9th Circuit recently found that citizens indeed have a right to bear arms (i.e., carry for self defense).
The NY SAFE Act is a punchline and people are turning against it.
Just like Governor Cuomo – who doesn’t want to raise taxes to fund universal pre-kindergarten in an election year — Mayor (and State Senate candidate) John Tkazyik wants to paint himself as a patron saint of the Second Amendment in 2014. The question is this: would Tkazyik have voted for the NY SAFE Act in 2013 and, if elected, what will he do in 2015? It’s difficult to think he’d be a defender of the Second Amendment if polls temporarily sway against gun rights.
We simply don’t need leaders like that.