by Contributor Alyce Auman
Well, well, well. Is there an echo in here?
It’s always interesting when other parties try to piggy-back off the work of the Libertarian Party when they were not originally doing the hard work of changing minds. Where was Republican Congressmen Chris Collins, the New York 27th District’s Rep when the Libertarian Party was addressing the highly invasive gun laws here in New York? Either way, we are glad you are finally on board, Chris. The Libertarian Party has a lawsuit filed against Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State for this disgusting violation of our 2nd Amendment Rights and we are glad to see that you are as well … finally.
THE SAFE ACT
The New York SAFE Act, otherwise known as New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, is a gun regulation law in the state of New York. The Act was approved in the New York State Senate on January 14, 2013. The legislation was written in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Known around New York as “King Cuomo”, he describes the law as the toughest gun control law in the United States. The bill passed under the “message of necessity” procedure, a device in the New York State Constitution by which the governor may expedite a vote on a bill, bypassing a usual three-day waiting period. Although nominally used for emergencies, the “message of necessity” procedure has been frequently used in New York to pass many pieces of legislation (it has been used at least 415 times since 1938).
For those of you unfamiliar with this controversial law here in New York State, here’s a quick snapshot of the Act:
The Act broadens the legal definition of assault weapons.
The Act included a high-capacity magazine provision, which means that beginning on April 15, 2013, only magazines with a capacity of seven rounds could legally be sold in New York.
The Act requires ammunition dealers to conduct background checks (similar to those for gun buyers) for purchases, and bans on direct Internet sales of ammunition.
The Act amended the New York Mental Hygiene Law to add a new reporting requirement for mental health professionals including physicians, psychologists, registered nurses and licensed clinical social workers.
The Act requires owners to report lost or stolen guns and ammunition to authorities, and makes it a misdemeanor to fail to report the theft such a loss or theft within 24 hours.
The Act created a universal background check provision, requiring all sellers or other transferors of firearms and ammunition to conduct background checks (through the National AInstant Criminal Background Check System) of the prospective purchaser or other transferees in “all sales, exchanges or disposals of firearms, rifles or shotguns” or ammunition, except those between immediate family members, provided that the transferring family member does not know that the transferee “is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.”
The Act requires that a prospective firearm transferor and transferee process the sale via an federally licensed dealer (FFL), but “does not mandate that FFLs play this processing role. “An FFL, who does elect to provide the service, may not charge the parties more than $10 per transaction. The seller may leave the gun with the licensed dealer, but the purchaser must appear in person to show identification and fill out an ATF Form 4473” which is retained by the FFL.
The Act requires those who live with a household member “who has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence crime, has been involuntarily committed, or is currently under an order of protection” to “safely store” any guns, using “an appropriate locking device including a trigger lock, a gun safe, or a secure gun cabinet.” Failure to do so is a misdemeanor.
The Act amended New York State Penal Law to establish “tougher penalties for those who use illegal guns as well as measures to help combat gang violence.”
The murder of a first responder engaged in official duties was made a Class A-1 felony, with a mandatory life-without-parole sentence. This was the “Webster provision,” named for the 2012 Western New York Webster, NY shooting, in which two firefighters were fatally shot by an arsonist.
The Act increases illegal possession of an unloaded gun and possession of a firearm on school grounds or a school from misdemeanors to a Class E felonies.
The Act provided that recklessly injuring a child by a firearm, as well as selling or transferring a gun to an individual known to be prohibited from possessing a gun, was a Class D felony.
The Act provided that “sharing a gun with an individual who is not authorized to possess a gun and commits a crime” called criminal faciliation.
The Act made straw purchasing (buying a gun “for someone the buyer knows to be disqualified because of a conviction of a crime, an involuntary commitment or other disqualifier”) a Class D felony (it was previously a misdemeanor).
The Act created a mandatory minimum sentence of for using or carrying a firearm in drug trafficking or in committing a violent felony – a minimum of five years if loaded, and three if unloaded, with some discretion for the court to impose lower sentences in drug trafficking cases if mitigating factors are present.
The Act allows prosecutors to seek a sentence of 25 years in prison to life imprisonment (an increase from the previous 15 years) in prosecuting gang members when the gang is involved in murder.
The Act requires the holders of handgun permits to be re-certified every five years with the local county clerk or sheriff.
The Act permits the holders of handgun permit “to request that their application information be made exempt from disclosure under state Freedom of Information Law.” This was in response to a controversial website set up in 2010 that published the names of permit holders.
“The SAFE Act stops criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, increases penalties for people who use illegal guns, mandates life in prison without parole for anyone who murders a first responder, and imposes the toughest assault weapons ban in the country. For hunters, sportsmen, and law abiding gun owners, this new law preserves and protects your right to buy, sell, keep or use your guns.”– Governor Andrew Cuomo
- Suspending the requirement that only magazines that can contain 7 rounds or less can be purchased. Going forward, magazines can be purchased that can contain up to 10 rounds. Magazines may only contain up to 7 rounds regardless of their capacity, unless you are at an incorporated firing range or competition, in which case you may load your magazine to its full capacity.
- Clarifying that active law enforcement continues to be exempt from the prohibitions on the possession of high capacity magazines, assault weapons, and magazines containing more than 7 rounds, as well as the law prohibiting weapons on school grounds.
- Ensuring that local safe storage laws are not preempted by the SAFE Act
So what do the Libertarian Party members who originally filed the lawsuit against Andrew Cuomo have to say? The Erie County Libertarian Party isn’t letting republicans totally steal the credit for opposition to SAFE. Read the press release they just released about it:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1st, 2017
Erie County Libertarian Party call on Congressman Collins to take bolder stance on SAFE Act
Erie County Chair claims proposed legislation from Collins doesn’t do enough to protect 2nd Amendment rights of New Yorkers
Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Libertarian Party slammed Congressman Chris Collins’s [R-NY27] proposed legislation to repeal parts of the SAFE Act, as well as bar other states from enforcing certain laws against guns in the House of Representatives. The Erie County Libertarian Party isn’t against efforts to remove aspects of the controversial gun control legislation, but says this bill doesn’t go far enough to protect the Constitutional rights of his constituents.
“As we’ve seen in the Chicago V. McDonald Supreme Court case, the 2nd Amendment protects the individual right to bear arms from unconstitutional state and local infringement.” According to Erie County Libertarian Party Chairman Kevin Cruver, “You have the fundamental right to protect yourself and your family. Governor Cuomo can’t take that away from the citizens of New York. We’re asking Congressman Collins to use his position to ensure that people like Governor Cuomo can’t turn law abiding gun owners into criminals with unconstitutional laws”. The Erie County Libertarian Party would like to see all restrictive gun laws repealed. The SAGA (Second Amendment Guarantee Act) leaves intrusive Federal laws and only voids additional laws made by states and localities.
The Erie County Libertarian Party has an active lawsuit to repeal the Sullivan Act, a precursor to the SAFE Act. Former Chair Edward Garrett explains, “The lawsuit was the brainchild of Jim Ostrowski, a Libertarian lawyer who has fought big government for decades. It’s so absurd that a law that so egregiously violates the 2nd amendment has been upheld in court challenges over the last 100 years.” The Sullivan Act is a gun control law in New York State that took effect in 1911. The law requires licenses for New Yorkers to possess firearms small enough to be concealed. Possession of such firearms without a license is a misdemeanor, and carrying them is a felony.
The Erie County Libertarian Party was founded in 2015. They are dedicated to a restoration of a constitutional government and individual sovereignty. To learn more or to get involved with the Erie County Libertarian Party please visit www.facebook.com/WNYLP
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