Going into last week's New York Farm Show, I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of rural vehemence to the state's new Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act. The law does nothing to secure citizen safety, and, in fact, threatens it.
The silent scratching of Governor Andrew "Quick Draw" Cuomo's approval pen on the NY SAFE Act awoke an angry giant – a pro-gun force that would kill his presidential aspirations with high-caliber common sense.
Common sense and thorough thought was clearly lacking on what Cuomo calls the nation's toughest gun control law. The act was pushed into law in mid-January within 48 hours of due process.
Within four days of SAFE's passage, several thousand pro-gun supporters protested it at the state capitol. A month later, the anger of a generally quiet, law-abiding pro-gun citizenry still loudly exploded at our exhibit during New York Farm Show via a two-question poll that close to 1,000 people crowded in to share their opinions.
We asked: "Do you favor requiring criminal background checks for all gun purchases?" Our unofficial tabulation showed:
Unfortunately, we didn't ask if they favor criminal background checks for ammunition – which SAFE will require for all ammunition, even 22 bullets and shotgun shells as of Jan. 15, 2014. But from the sentiments strongly expressed, it was pure, intentional regulatory overkill.
We also asked: "Should the sale of military-style assault weapons (pistols and rifles) and high-capacity magazines be banned?" Our unofficial count showed:
There were many reasons for this lop-sided vote. One is that the law oversimplifies the definition of assault weapons to include even a Ruger 10-22 rifle, I'm told.
The New York State Sheriff's Association confirms that "the new definition of assault weapons is too broad, and prevents the possession of many weapons that are legitimately used for hunting, target shooting and self defense." But according to SAFE, all such previously-owned weapons in the state must now be registered within a year.
Language within the law makes very clear that previously owned and legal 30-round magazines must be sold to out-of-state residents or turned in to local authorities by April 15, 2013. Maximum legal magazine capacity is reduced from 10 to seven rounds.
Open season on law-abiding citizens
State Police officers at the New York Farm Show had no clue yet as to how they would enforce the new anti-citizens' rights law. The most explosive time may well be during hunting seasons as unaware hunters are confronted by law enforcement. It's no exaggeration that many hunters treasure their hunting rifles almost as much as their families. And many of them will be reluctant to have their prized possession being confiscated via a law that may well violate the Second Amendment right – to keep and bear firearms.
If not struck down, this law effectively prevents the sale of all ammunition within the Empire State. Officials with several farm supply companies have already confirmed they won't (can't afford to) run background checks for 22 bullets or shotgun shells. So look for tents and stores perched just outside New York borders selling munitions as well as firecrackers.
With SAFE, New York has declared open season on law-abiding citizens for those who follow no law but their own. Governor Cuomo and the legislature forgot who they are supposed to be protecting. Already, at least three legal challenges are filed to overturn portions or all of SAFE.
For more details on this rights struggle, visit NY_SAFE.
Perhaps the most cogent comment offered at New York Farm Show was this by a very wise farmer: "We should be spending far less on gun control and far more on mental health." Amen to that!
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