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Albany Police Officers Union denounces “shameful” NY gun law

Albany Police Officers Union denounces “shameful” NY gun law

Blame NYS not NRA for failure of federal gun legislation

If you want to understand why any new federal gun legislation will fail, as it did yesterday, don’t look at the NRA.

Certainly the NRA plays its advocacy role.

But what motivates grassroots opposition is the belief that government always will overreach, and that any expanded legislation necessarily will be used as a subterfuge to remove guns from the possession of law-abiding citizens.

If there were any doubt about ulterior motives, that doubt was disabused when New York rushed to be the first state to pass post-Newtown gun legislation, with the acronym the SAFE Act.

As we discussed before, the SAFE Act had little to do with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.  Rather, it imposed a set of irrational and arbitrary standards governing lawful possession of guns and ammunition magazines.

Most prominently, the law imposed a 7-round magazine limit for new handgun and magazine purchases  That number almost certainly was unconstitutional because it was a de facto ban on a wide range of common handguns for which there were no 7-round magazines.  Such a backdoor handgun ban confirmed the fears of overreach.

Not surprisingly, that 7-round magazine limit was eliminated because it was unworkable.  In its place was a more common 10-round magazine limit, but the 10-round magazine only can be lawfully loaded with 7-bullets.  Such arbitrary limits do not instill confidence that the overreach is over.

Yet the controversy did not end with the elimination of the 7-round magazine limit.  There have been reports that NY State officials are using mental health and prescription records to confiscate guns even from persons who pose no obvious threat.

The fear of government overreach in NY State is palpable.  Virtually all upstate counties have passed resolutions against the SAFE Act.

Even the Police Officers Union in Albany, the state capital, has come out against the law in a scathing letter issued April 15 (embedded at the bottom of this post)(h/t Rusty Weiss via Tom Bauerle) addressed to NY political leaders:

The Albany Police Officers Union condemns and opposes the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (the “SAFE Act”). Substantively, we believe that it violates fundamental constitutional rights, that it is unduly and purposely burdensome on law-abiding citizens, and that it will not deter criminals or mentally ill individuals from plotting and carrying out bloodshed and violence. Procedurally, we believe that the way in which the bill was rammed into law via an unjustified and expedient “message of necessity”, which circumvented the right and the ability of the citizens of this State to voice their concerns about the bill and have them addressed, is an outrage. This flawed law, and the way in which it was rushed and passed, shows the apparent contempt that those who govern have for the governed, and calls into question whether we truly have a representational government. Morally, we believe that this law is about ideology and politics and not about making anyone any safer. We respectfully demand that you do the right thing and repeal the law….

We as police officers are on the front lines of public safety. Respectfully, none of you are. We see, feel, work, and live with the effects of gun violence in ways that you do not. We believe that you see gun violence as a means to move your agenda and your ambitions forward. You know that the SAFE Act will not work in the way
that you pretend it will. You know that this shameful SAFE Act was about ideology and politics and not about making anyone safer.

When even a Police Officers Union denounces a gun control law, you know there is widespread anxiety about government overreach.

Similarly overbroad efforts in California and elsewhere only stoked concerns that government does not know when to stop.  When gun laws are so complicated and burdensome, law-abiding citizens are at risk of becoming unwitting criminals.

Knowing that the draconian laws will be applied to ordinary citizens but not to well-connected celebrities like David Gregory increases the concerns.

That fear of overreach was palpable yesterday, and it remains.

Abany _NY_ Police Union Letter Opposing SAFE Act


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First they came for the 2nd Amendment, then the 4th, then the 5th, and finally they came after the 1st Amendment so now everything said that is not in concordance with the government’s position is “hate speech!”

Bill, you’re a conlaw guy. Can you comment on why SCOTUS refused to grant cert. on a case involving this very NY law?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Bill Quick. | April 18, 2013 at 10:27 am

    That was a surprise, but probably waiting for a “cleaner” case regarding concealed carry.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Bill Quick. | April 18, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I’m not a “conlaw guy” or even a lawyer. Am a retired Peace Officer, so I am not a total stranger to the court system. Leaving out the legal and constitutional merits of the case; the Supreme Court [and all courts] are as much political institutions as they are judicial institutions. In these days, possibly more so.

    It takes 4 Justices to grant cert. It may well be that if there is a bloc of 4 or more that wants to grant cert, they still may have doubts about each other in the bloc and about the other Justices.

    Amongst those who want to examine the law, they may be worried about the existence of one or more of them who may really want to grant cert in order to strike a blow against the Second Amendment. And any who want to strike the law down may have doubts about where the court will come down as a whole. Since now a law can be found to be unconstitutional, but can be redefined on the fly by the Court as a constitutional tax even though it specifically was written not to be a tax; means that there are very few certainties left. It depends on what the meaning of “un” in unconstitutional is … today. The case would be of such import that it may be a tipping point that they do not want to trigger.

    Finally, if the Supreme Court takes it up, it will be considered to be a direct challenge to the Democrats and the Administration. They may not want to deal with the attacks they will get from the Left, and feel that it will be politically more acceptable and generate less heat for themselves if they wait until a significant portion of the American people are outraged by the inevitable over-reach of the government. Of course, by that time, any decision the court makes may be moot.

    Subotai Bahadur

Ah, yes. The U.S. Constitution.

It was nice, while it lasted.

People who have been fighting the gun-grab Collective know the tactics and ploys very well.

They almost never come at us directly, but instead use various Trojan Horses, such as the “universal background check”, which sounds innocuous enough, but is laden with very bad things…and that by design.

In other words, they LIE. Just as did Pres. Freakout and his props yesterday following the vote. Constantly.

When you have the ACLU coming out to say the legislation poses threats to civil liberties, you can be assured it isn’t “common sense, reasonable” legislation, as falsely advertised.

Here is a “common sense, reasonable” change in the background check law…

MAKE the form that is used DROP all information about the gun being purchased. Why is that even there, if the purpose is a background check on the BUYER, and has no business collecting information on the GUN being purchased.

In the Immortal words of John Paul Jones, “I have not yet begun to fight!”

In the Immortal words of Leonidas, King of Sparta,

“Molon Labe!”

The “low information” gun-control advocates simply agree with whatever soundbite or pithy factoid they’ve heard lately. They don’t like guns, don’t see why anyone would want one, and frankly just wish guns would go away.

The “true believer” gun-control advocates have one simple goal: To make the private possession of any firearm a felony. Period. To confiscate every gun the government doesn’t control. They don’t care how many decades it takes. They are nothing if not patient. They will pass on the job to their descendents when they grow old. It will never stop.

It appears that the New York Police Departments are finally waking up and realizing that if the public can’t have firearms because they have been on ANY psychotropic drugs, that the public will eventually DEMAND that any POLICE officer on psychotropic drugs be FIRED FOR CAUSE (because, obviously, they’re dangerous and should not have a firearm).

Anyone want to make a guess on how many police officers are treated with psychotropics? Let me give you a hint: depression, sleeplessness and anxiety are RAMPANT in the law-enforcement community, and many “over-the-counter” drugs taken for common conditions have a psychotropic component.

This is a great letter.

Please, folks, send a snail-mail letter to this group thanking them for supporting the Constitution and for support individual human rights. I will.

They didn’t have to do it, but I’m very glad that they did.

Henry Hawkins | April 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

Other reefs to hit:

1. Many psych meds are prescribed for conditions other than psych illnesses. (You can be on ‘psych’ meds for a physical condition).

2. Many common painkillers not categorized as psych meds nonetheless alter cognition and sensation to the same degree or worse than do psychiatric meds. (You can be mentally whacked on pain meds but still a viable gun owner).

3. Many non-psych meds are prescribed for psych illnesses, such as simple Benadryl, an antihistamine allergy med, but the drug most commonly prescribed in the NC prison system for anxiety and depression. (You can be mentally ill but not treated with psych meds, possibly avoiding the psych trap for gun permit denial).

I’m sure a thorough review of the NY gun laws will show they’ve accounted for all this.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Boy, I can testify to your No. 2…!!!

    I will NOT take anything with Codeine, regardless of the pain I am in.

    It makes me mean, and I have AWFUL dreams. Not gonna do it…nope, it wouldn’t be prudent.

myveryownpointofview | April 18, 2013 at 11:49 am

What occurred to me is the number of children that were placed on attention deficit drugs in the past two decades. I know that when my son was in elementary school easily half of his class were medicated. Can we assume that those kids will be denied their second amendment rights in NY?

I’m so glad now that I fought my son when he wanted to try anti-depressants prescribed by his university counselor. He had gotten himself stressed over his studies and work, and so that counselor was insisting he should go on drugs.

I had a HUGE battle with my son and we finally agreed that he would try a natural approach first. He got a prescription for one of those special lights (upstate NY light deprivation), and I scrimped to send him to an hour of Swedish massage once a week for six weeks. Melatonin at bedtime, long walks too. He was so stunned at the difference, he kept saying how he felt completely different.

And now more than ever I am extra grateful that I chose to influence him against taking that garbage they were trying to dope him with.

But what about all the children and young adults that have been on this junk for the past two decades prior to this “SAFE” act?

Here is a better source for the police letter:

DocStoc steals and resells (or requires registration to obtain) copyrighted documents that it scarfs up from the internet.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to janitor. | April 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    DocStoc is a service similar to Scribd where users can upload documents. That is my account and I uploaded it so that I could generate an embed code to use in this post. Many readers don’t like to download pdf’s so it’s easier if I embed it. No password is needed to read it.

New York citizens should also demand that, at the very least, any law passed under these “urgent” and “got to do something RIGHT NOW” provisions, can only be in effect for no more than 6 months. Thus allowing actual deliberation and comment before they are made permanent.

legalizehazing | April 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

ahh when even union scum say… wow that’s messed up

Midwest Rhino | April 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I’m sure all the illegal gun owners in Chicago would turn their guns in voluntarily, at least those dealing in and/or taking those psychotropic drugs. They just need another law.

But the top law officer Holder sells 2500 guns to Mexican drug cartels, and they head off to sanctuary city Chicago. Illegal aliens, drugs, guns … thank God for Obama setting the example in Chicago of how to deal with those problems.

I love it: The long arm of overreach is slapped away by the long arm of the law.

Henry Hawkins | April 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

A word about involuntary commitments as a marker for denial of gun rights….

For 12 yrs I worked the night shift at a County-run diversion ER, to which people experiencing emergencies due to substance abuse or mental illnesses were referred from local medical ERs. (A brief description of invol process, particular to NC: Somebody – family, employer, police, doctor, etc – believes someone is an imminent threat to self/others due to psych problems. They go to local magistrate and pitch concerns. Magistrate issues pick up order. Local police pick up person, take them to psych unit like ours for evaluation and possible involuntary commitment to psych hospital).

Two concerns about using a previous invol commitment to deny gun rights:

1. Most common abuse of invol process was instigated by the patient his/herself – the homeless guy tired of outdoor life in winter refusing to back off claims of suicidality forcing someone to file papers only out of liability concerns (many chronic homeless are this system-wise and worse, knowing that if they stick to their claim of being suicidal they’ll get admitted somewhere because nobody in the chain will risk being liable if they call his bluff). A lesser version was the druggie desperate to get off the street because some dealer was after him. This is so common a problem it has a DSM psych diagnosis of its own: V65.2 Malingering. But hey, if some homeless manipulator or druggie wants to forfeit his/her gun ownership rights by engineering his/her own false involuntary commitment, I’m pretty sure that’s fine by me. However….

B. A significant number of the bogus involuntary commitments we saw were put on innocent people without actual psych issues – the person filing the commitment papers was sticking it to someone else for reasons other than psychiatric problems, often part of marital/divorce strife. One woman, a psych nurse who knew the system well, had her husband picked up on false suicide claims knowing he’d be released but that the process would take many hours – she’d had a crew with a truck standing by and when he finally got back home, she’d cleaned out their house to announce their separation, of which he’d had no idea before being picked up.

Another common false commitment was parents making up psych symptoms to get an unruly but otherwise mentally healthy teen locked up. One family petitioned their 16 yr old who refused to go on vacation with them, they were afraid to leave him home alone, but they wouldn’t be denied their vacation. They pulled up in a freakin’ Winnebago, all packed, in a hurry to get him committed so they could go on vacation while he was ‘safe’ in the hospital.

Another family talked a magistrate into invol papers with false claims of their son’s suicidal threats, but revealed during collateral interviews that their real issue was their anger that he refused to go to college like they wanted, wanted to be a tattoo artist instead.

We saw all sorts of bizarre abuses of the invol system like these examples, perpetrated on innocent people with no psych issues whose only ‘crime’ was to have been at contretemps with the petitioner.

Best guess at the frequency of bogus invol claims would be about one in ten.

By new style gun regulations, these innocent people would be denied gun rights.

Which supercedes, state gun regs or federal HIPAA laws on confidentiality? State gun regs or secrecy of juvenile records?

I agree that one productive path to effective gun safety is restricting the truly mentally ill from gun ownership, but that would be exceedingly difficult to achieve – neither sociopaths nor psychopaths are particularly concerned with obeying the law. Then we recall that the Newtown shooter did fail a background check and was denied a weapons purchase permit – so he murdered his mother and stole hers.

Got that one covered, gun grabbers?

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    “Which supercedes, state gun regs or federal HIPAA laws on confidentiality? State gun regs or secrecy of juvenile records?”

    A field of legal theory called “conflict of laws”, which as you multiply laws and regulations becomes a real mess.

    ONE reason I understand that the background check system lacks “compliance” in terms of mental health data is that several state legal authorities have issued opinions that “compliance” would violate HIPAA, and that HIPAA is controlling.

    As I say, a mess…

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | April 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      As a clinician under HIPAA regs, the penalty on me for breaking a client’s confidentiality maxes at a $5,000 fine, 5 years in jail, or both.

      This is anecdotal, may not be true, but as far as I know no one has ever been convicted of such a violation in NC.