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Local opposition stymies NY SAFE Act gun law

Local opposition stymies NY SAFE Act gun law

There has been a mostly quiet refusal of county and local officials to implement and enforce the onerous provisions of the NY State gun law rushed through the state legislature in almost comical fashion after the Newtown, CT, school shooting.

In the rush to legislate, the text of the law failed to exempt police and other law enforcement from limits on the number of rounds in a magazine, and imposed a ludicrous 7-round magazine limit that even the State agreed was unworkable.  That 7-round limit has been declared unconstitutional by a federal court, although the rest of the law was upheld.

But what has slowed the law the most was an upstate insurrection, where almost every county legislature declared its opposition, and many clerks and local police simply ignored the law. Local Sheriff groups have come out against the law as have police unions.

The Ithaca Journal reports on the result:

When a gunman killed 26 people in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, New York’s top elected leaders rushed to toughen state gun laws in a month’s time.

Propelled by the flash of emotions following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the state Legislature approved the NY Safe Act on Jan. 15, 2013, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it hours later.

Now, a year later, the new gun law has yet to be effectively implemented.

Officially called the NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, the law regulates weapons ownership, sales, permits and ammunition.

In dozens of interviews with The Ithaca Journal, county sheriffs, county clerks, a retailer, a target shooter and a hunting guide described the law’s shortcomings, administrative delays and a maze of gun permit paperwork that some local public officials predict will take years to sort out.

Those delays and flaws have weakened the enforcement of the SAFE Act — designed to protect New Yorkers from the national horror of mass shootings in schools, shopping centers and theaters.

Locally, sheriffs said they aren’t actively enforcing the SAFE Act, which means they’re not running stings or looking for violations as they would to combat drugs. Instead, they are enforcing violations of the gun law they encounter as they enforce other laws….

Broome Sheriff Harder said the law’s requirement that only seven rounds be kept in a magazine drew criticism because seven-round magazines are not available from manufacturers.

Harder cited what he sees as another flaw, this one limiting private weapon sales.

“If I’m your brother, I can’t sell you my weapon. I can drive over to Pennsylvania and give it to you, and come back over the state line. It’s legal,” Harder said. “But if I’m standing right here in Binghamton, New York, I just can’t give it to you.”

Tompkins County Sheriff Ken Lansing said he thought parts of the law were hastily drafted and that sparked criticism of the effort. He also faults the requirements it places on gun owners.

“Why are we making laws more restrictive?” he asked. “Criminals don’t pay attention to them anyway. Let’s enforce the laws that we have, and have just punishment to deter people from breaking those laws.”

There also is the usual government incompetence at play as the state database is not ready, as The Albany Times Union reports:

Wednesday marks the first anniversary of New York’s SAFE Act, a controversial gun law passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo a year ago in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

The day will come and go without a key component of the law going into effect.

Wednesday was originally supposed to trigger a requirement that buyers of ammunition go through background checks before purchasing bullets or shells.

Gun dealers are then supposed to keep records on the sales.

But the deadline has turned out to be a moving target and is delayed until further notice.

The vague timetable for requiring background checks was first reported by the Times Union in October and it was made official around the start of January through a letter to the public from State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico posted on a website outlining the new law.

“The state database is currently under construction and not operational, and prior notice will be given to all sellers on a timely basis before the database is completed and any requirements are relevant,” reads the recently added statement on the SAFE Act site (

News of the delay came as no surprise to gun dealers who late last year suspected that was the case when they noticed they hadn’t received any details about the background check mandate from the State Police, who are charged with enforcing the new law.

There is a significant downside to all this. Non-enforcement does not mean that conduct remains legal. It just makes the likelihood of getting trapped more haphazard, and more discretionary as to the police and prosecutors.

There are a lot of otherwise law-abiding people who have been made criminals in the eyes of the State, and that’s the reality.

(Featured image source: NY SAFE Resolutions)


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There are a lot of otherwise law-abiding people who have been made criminals in the eyes of the State, and that’s the reality.

Obamacare does the same thing.

    “Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law breakers.”

    snopercod in reply to gettimothy. | January 16, 2014 at 11:58 am

    “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it. . . There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

    –Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”, 1957

We long ago crossed the Rubicon where laws were seen as rational, clear limits in our civic landscape, over to the far and nightmarish shore where we all hold them in some contempt and level of dread.

And for the same reason; they are no longer reasonable.

Tompkins County does not disappoint … deep, deep blue in a sea of blue.

When it comes to obeying laws, I encourage blue state NY residents to follow the example of their Grand Gecko, Barack Obama.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | January 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

Blame Obama. The tone gets set at the top. That is a truism. Obama has decided not to enforce federal marijuana laws. He has decided not to enforce aspects of immigration law. And we could keep listing other examples all day long.

His governing philosophy boils down to tyranny, ‘if I don’t like the law, I’ll either change it on my own by executive decree or I won’t enforce it.’ As Ted Cruz said recently, the Constitution is now superfluous.

It’s no surprise this attitude at the federal executive level has reached down to the state, county, and municipal governments, too.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | January 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

It’s not just Obama, of course. Bill Clinton was disbarred for lying under oath.
Once the dam breaks, water will flow. These 2 old-ish articles on the coming middle class anarchy are must reading, IMO.
In the meantime, whenever you buy anything be sure to ask “do you give a discount for cash?”. Let your seller choose whether he wishes to uphold the state by paying taxes.

The Connecticut Atty Gen. has released the official report on the Sandy Hook event. The executive summary is fairly comprehensive and clarifies numerous errors in the contemporary reports of the event. It also demonstrates that the political calculations that prompted the NY SAFE Act did not produce a result that would be effective in either preventing or mitigating the actions of Lanza, the shooter. Find the report at:

An article that compares the CT Attorney Gen. report conclusions with the rhetoric at the time shows that the key points of the rhetoric are wrong. Lanza’s ties to the school, use of multiple weapons, timely police response, magazine size and violent video game obsession are dismissed as causal factors. The rhetoric was simply the usual spin at any opportunity to add more restrictions on Second Amendment rights. The truth is that we may never know what caused this event and stunningly we may not ever be able to prevent mass killing attacks in “gun free” zones. See the assessment at :

SAFE is simply a misnomer designed primarily to advance the political fortunes of Gov. Cuomo. He thought SAFE would advance his reputation nationally as an effective “Progressive” governor. I am sure that he and his close advisers are shocked at the unexpected push back by NY citizens and the resulting bad press surrounding Cuomo’s actions. Unfortunately we have to live with the results of his vanity and ambition –at least for a while.

The map provided above makes the NYC area look like a diseased scrotum. Politically, it is.

This is nullification practiced by citizens. If the people are to remain sovereign (like in We the People) the technique of nullification will have to be used much more widely. Including by states themselves telling fedgov to butt out. An excellent example of this is the intrastate gun act enacted by Montana,

If fedgov is to remain a limited entity states are going to have to push back hard to keep it contained. One way to assist in this effort is NOT voting for any Democrat.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to pfg. | January 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I’ve posted repeatedly since Obamacare passed that Americans ought to simply ignore it, that the federal government is powerless when sufficient numbers of otherwise law abiding citizens refuse to comply. They have the laws and means to enforce, but not the political will to fine or jail large numbers of good people over Obamacare. The first passive resisters may serve as martyrs till the grassroots groundswell sufficiently grows, but I have already made personal arrangements to be and survive just that.

      Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm


      True civil disobedience requires that you put yourself fully at the “mercy” of the law, partly to show the immorality of the law.

      I am there.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | January 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm

        Just so. You and I have been reinforcing each other’s posts on this at least since Obamacare passed.

        Mrs. H spends a lot of her time wringing her hands and blinking rapidly, but she supports me on this.

          Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm

          A coupla decades ago, I asked a room full of patriotic men how many would die for their country.

          The response was pretty unanimous. They would.

          I then asked how many would go to prison for their country.


          I reasons are many.

          Bless Mrs. H.

      The people can freely ignore ObamaCare because there is an easy way to avoid paying the penalties. All you have to to is avoid over paying your income tax with holding. However, when Tyrant Obama could change this by executive order and thereby create an opportunity for him to inflict pain on his enemies.

So how come New Yawkahs continue to elect liberal progressive extremists?

The rest of us want to know…

    onerightguy in reply to GrumpyOne. | January 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    New York is actually two states politically, but unfortunately without a border to separate them. If you look at the map above, you can clearly see the political division. In the minds(?) of the Legislators, massively apportioned to the NY City/Long Island area, upstate NY exists only to provide revenue to fund projects and welfare for the City. Numerically, the down state voters significantly outnumber the upstate voters.

    Taxes that discourage for example, smoking, do not affect things like businesses. See, taxes are only negative where you want them to be and have no effect elsewhere. (Rule 1.01.1A, NY Legislators Guide) So load up the gasoline taxes(City people don’t drive so much.), property taxes (Rent controls protect renters from property taxes and anyway we all know landlords deserve whatever punishment they get!) and so on. Then there are the 1+million unionized government employees with better than real life benefits. Taken together, many objective people are voting with their feet and NY is losing US Representatives with each census. And the state officials wonder why!!!

State Legislators Against Illegal Guns. Now there’s a complete pile of bs to hide their true intentions. They need to remove Illegal from their new name to truly reflect their views.

ALBANY — As gun-rights groups seek to overturn last year’s gun law, gun-control groups Wednesday said they want additional regulations in New York.

On the one-year anniversary of the SAFE Act, the groups and Democratic lawmakers said New York shouldn’t stop at the law passed last year.
State Legislators Against Illegal Guns-NY said it wants the Legislature to pass bills that would require additional safety storage of guns if the owners have children, require all semi-automatic handguns to have a feature that puts a code on each spent shell casing, called microstamping, and limit buyers to one handgun purchase a month.
Since major provisions of the law took effect in March, 1,291 charges had been issued through Dec. 17, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. Of those, 1,155 were for felony possession of an illegal firearm, which had been a misdemeanor prior to the new laws. Most of the charges were in New York City.

TrooperJohnSmith | January 17, 2014 at 5:37 am

New up… The NY Legislature will regulate the size of forks and spoons in an effort to fight obesity.

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