Monday, February 25, 2013

Guns For Sale...Except in NY

In response to the recent school shooting in Newtown, CT, the New State Legislature passed the NY SAFE Act which will go into full effect beginning March 15, 2013. Now it's not as if the gun laws in New York have been too lenient. Even before this new act, NY had some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. And as most legislation that is passed with all the sound and fury and all due speed that only elected officials can bring us, it is, shall we say, flawed.

Right off the bat, oops, our stalwart Legislators failed to add any exemptions for law enforcement. However, Governor Cuomo, looking all Presidential-y and in command-y, admits this flaw and will do something about that directly in the near future sometime.

And I quote (okay, not really, but I bet this is what his “internal dialogue” sounded like):

“Really, we all know that we didn’t mean that the police couldn’t…oh, well, you understand, don’t you? Look, I’m running for President and I had to use this to show how good I am at being in command! I had to get this shoved through our state Legislature to show President Obama up ‘cause HE can’t get it shoved through Congress. Well, and just as a little cherry on top, it should prove what good Democrats we are in New York [which might just help get those extra Hurricane Sandy dollars. So what if I only read the first few provisions! We got it mostly right, right? It coulda’ happened to anyone?”

And “Scene”…

Anyhow, the following are the new provisions of SAFE Act [from Wikipedia] and a Q&A from the Governor's own website:

- Bans possession of any high-capacity magazines regardless of when they were made or sold. The maximum capacity for a detachable magazine is reduced from ten rounds to seven. Magazines owned before passage of the SAFE Act able to hold seven to ten rounds can be possessed, but cannot be loaded with more than seven rounds. .22 caliber tubular magazines are exempt from this limit. Previously legal "pre-1994-ban" magazines with a capacity of 30 rounds are not exempt, and must be sold within one year to an out-of-state resident or turned into local authorities. The magazine limit takes effect April 15, 2013.[8]

- Ammunition dealers are required to do background checks, similar to those for gun buyers. Dealers are required to report all sales, including amounts, to the state. Internet sales of ammunition are allowed, but the ammunition will have to be shipped to a licensed dealer in New York state for pickup. Ammunition background checks will begin January 15, 2014.[9]

- Requires creation of a registry of assault weapons. Those New Yorkers who already own such weapons would be required to register their guns with the state.

- Requires any therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat of harming others to report the threat to a mental health director, who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient's gun could be taken from him or her.

- Stolen guns are required be reported within 24 hours. Failure to report can result in a misdemeanor.

- Reduces definition of "assault weapon" from two identified features to one. The sale and/or transfer of newly defined assault weapons is banned within the state, although sales out of state are permitted. Possession of the newly-defined assault weapons is allowed only if they were possessed at the time that the law was passed, and must be registered with the state within one year.

- Requires background checks for all gun sales, including by private sellers - except for sales to members of the seller's immediate family. Private sale background checks will begin March 15, 2013.[9]

- Guns must be "safely stored" from any 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.[9] Unsafe storage of assault weapons is a misdemeanor.

- Bans the Internet sale of assault weapons.

- Increases sentences for gun crimes, including upgrading the offense for taking a gun on school property from a misdemeanor to a felony.[10]

- Increases penalties for shooting first responders (Webster provision) to life in prison without parole.

- Limits the state records law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly. However, existing permit holders have to opt into this provision by filing a form within 120 days of the law's enactment.[citation needed] There also may exist issues with respect to "registered" owners in the new regulations vs "permit" holders under previous law.

- Requires pistol permit holders or owners of registered assault weapons to have them renewed at least every five years.

- Allows law enforcement officials to pre-emptively seize a person's firearms without a warrant if they have probable cause the person may be mentally unstable or intends to use the weapons to commit a crime.

Okay, so do you remember in the first paragraph where I said that oops, they forgot to exclude law enforcement? Well, there are now a whole slew of gun manufacturers who supply all those law enforcement agencies and officers in New York especially and they noticed. And they are taking these provisions very seriously. At least 30 suppliers have stated that they will no longer be supplying weapons and ammunition to any local, county, state, or federal law enforcement agencies in New York as per the provisions mandated by the SAFE Act. Some openly admit that is their response to the attack on the 2nd Amendment and some admit only to wanted to follow the laws of the state of New York. A rather bold move either way, but then none of these companies are hurting for business as per some of the disclaimers on their websites apologizing (or boasting) for delays because of record sales.

There is a third aspect to this which makes it even more interesting for our Governor. One of the oldest gun manufacturing companies in the country is Remington Arms Company founded in 1816 in Ilion, New York. Remington has been in continual operation for nearly 200 years and is one of the major employers in Illion and the surrounding area in Upstate New York. Well, Governor Cuomo is having to scramble to keep them from taking one of their many recent relocation offers from savvy Governors in those gun-ownership friendly states like Texas. So far they haven’t taken the bait, but the less business friendly New York state continues to be, the more seriously these offers will taken.

38 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

it seems like we are in some kind of tragicomedy playing a continuous loop starring insane politicians. Thanks, Bev

tryanmax said...

I can blame a one of the manufacturers for taking that stance. It doesn't seem too far fetched to think any one of them could be made the sacrificial lamb for the legislators' hastily made errors.

T-Rav said...

I wonder what's going to happen if in a few years there's another rash of gun violence. No, wait, I don't: everyone in NY will conclude the gun laws just aren't tight enough.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It will be interesting to see if the Democrats have pushed too far with this stuff. They are trying it out here too and they may pass some equally stupid laws. I suspect that if they do, they will get destroyed in the mid-term elections, but we'll see.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I hope Remington flees the state over this.

Libertarian Advocate said...

Andrew:

Our equally megalomaniacal Governor Dannel Malloy, self-identified progressive, went bonkers on his own gun safety commission last Friday with the ever loopy Plugs Biden at his side. Then, this morning we Nutmeggers learned that Barackoboob has appointed Danny-boy to the Council of Governors. Wow, what a prestigious Honor (/sarc off). Seems to me it's much like appointment to the President's now defunct advisory council on job growth that met 4 times and never generated an idea, much less a report.

Koshcat said...

Personally, I think law enforcement should lead the way. These assult guns are far too dangerous so only the military should have them. In addition, they also should have only 7 round magazines. If they are that well trained, they should only need one bullet. Let's go a little further and pass a law that all firearms for law enforcement should be kept in the trunk with trigger locks. They may get them out only when approved by the mayor.

I don't trust the police. They have become a paramilitary operation with little civilian oversight and huge publically paid pensions. I trust and like individual policemen (and women) just not the organizations. When the money starts running out and the public is prostesting these pensions, whose side do you think the police will take?

If having these guns is so dangerous and life is generally so safe, there is no need for them to have these guns either.

AndrewPrice said...

Libertarian Advocate, Obama has mastered the art of appearing to do something without actually doing anything. Appointing Biden as his point man on this was the first clue, and it sounds like appointing this governor to a pointless commission is just another example.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, All liberals trust authority... except when they don't.

Koshcat said...

Power to the people, man. PEACE!

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - I really feel that Cuomo jumped the gun (yeah, I know)and his rush to legislation (and to outdo Obama) will come back to haunt him in 2014/2016. Even Obama knows that there will never be any real changes on the Federal level. That's why he's taking his sweet time and letting Joe "Everyone Should Buy A Shotgun" Biden take the lead on the issues.

Though the factory Remington has in Ilion is for "special order/custom" guns, they have other factories all over the country and manufacture the very assault weapons that are specific to this legislation. With enough of a tax incentive which they surely do NOT get in NY, they may leave and I hope they do.

BevfromNYC said...

Koshcat - I think that is really the gist of what the gun manufacturers are trying to do - to make it known that if the "people" are prohibited from buying guns, then law enforcement agencies should be held to the same standard. I mean, maybe police academies can teach their cadets to vomit and/or poop on command like has been suggested by our well-meaning Congresspersons. If that will stop rapes (that don't happen anyway), then I am sure it will stop bank robberies and knife-wielding mad-persons.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I can see the signs on the doors now: "Tellers have only twenty Obama-dollars in drawers and are trained to poop on you."

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - That sign would stop ME from going into that establishment!

And, see - If we can come up with potential SNL sketches about Congressman Salazar's stupid "Young women don't need guns 'cause they are too irrational and anyway, rape doesn't happen anyway, but if it does, then why don't you just poop on the potential rapist 'cause that will stop him" statement, why can't SNL or Maher or Stewart or, well ANY other half-witted comedian??

Sorry about the run-on sentence, but it just became so ridiculous I couldn't stop myself

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Simple answer: Because they're political hacks, not comedians. They suffer from ideological blindness... or ideological hypocrisy.

Koshcat said...

How about an ad for a full body condom for rapists? Will protect you from unwanted bodily fluids propelled your way during the non-event.

LL said...

Police in England only carry billy clubs/truncheons.

Why can't New York simply adopt that practice in their effort to end police violence.

It makes perfect sense to me...

Koshcat said...

I'm with you LL.

I bet you I can find far more cases of police accidently shooting an innocent person than a woman shooting an innocent "rapist".

BevfromNYC said...

LL and Koshcat - May be wrong, but I think that it's the beat cops who only carry clubs. But then again, I get most of my info on the police in the UK from those UK cop shows on BBC America...

But then a couple of firefighters bum-rushed an axe-wielding maniac this weekend and stopped him from hacking his wife/girlfriend to death this weekend.

T-Rav said...

LL, and that's really working out well for them across the pond. (Not really.)

tryanmax said...

Actually, and this is interesting, England has been dabbling with armed Bobbies for awhile now. It started with special units, but its been working its way toward every uniform carrying a firearm. This has met with some degree of backlash from the public, but here's the interesting part, it seems the prevailing attitude is that the people are okay with armed police on the condition that they be allowed to arm themselves. And they point to US as an example of that idea working!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, There seem to be a lot of changes going on in England right now regarding guns. I think the ineffectiveness of the police/courts in light of the recent riots probably changed a lot of minds.

rlaWTX said...

I have a cousin who is a cop who is just about fed up with being tarred as one of the gun-grabbing bad guys. I have tried, nicely, to explain that there are reasons for fear - but Koshcat's description is about the best I've seen.

The rest of my gun-having family are getting a laugh at the "unintended consequences", but are also wary of federal mandates... State confiscation isn't really a worry 'round here...

tryanmax said...

rlaWTX, I sympathize with trying to explain the landscape to your cousin. I have a relative working for the DOJ who is worried about being furloughed. It doesn't soothe her in the slightest to point out that she's getting a better deal than countless others who lost their jobs in the private sector. I expect she prefers sympathy to being told to count her blessings, but what can I do?

tryanmax said...

I heard a piece on NPR about enthusiasts who are making functional firearms, including AR-15 receivers using 3D printers. There are already freely available plans for download by people who don't design but just want to print. This digital sculpting technology--I hesitate to even call it emerging anymore--has the potential to make the conversation as we're having it today obsolete.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I've heard that too. 3-D printers will change the world in an earth-shattering way very soon. It could well destroy manufacturing as we know it and it will make the idea of regulation of commerce essentially impossible.

tryanmax said...

Of course, that won't stop gov't from trying to meddle with it. I was nearly sick earlier today listening to some "experts" talking about how 3D printing "needs" government investment so the industry can ????? Yeah, that's about how complete the thought was.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! Yeah, that makes sense. This is an industry private industry will kill to develop, but it needs government money so it can... do something we can't even name. That makes sense.

tryanmax said...

Well yeah, because, jobs, sequestration, Republicans, racism, 9/11, something like that.

AndrewPrice said...

No doubt. And don't forget Bush.

Anonymous said...

Limey Libertarian:
A UK perspective: It is true the average UK ‘Bobby’ is not armed, they carry telescopic ‘night sticks’ , pepper spray and in some cases CS gas sprays and tazers. There are some officers that are permanently armed, diplomatic and royal protection squads, officers at major airports and we have mobile armed response units and specialised armed units for major incidents (Basically SWAT teams).

The UK has never really been a gun owning culture for many reasons I won’t go in to here, and we do prefer our police to be un-armed and are quite proud of it. How much longer that can go on is a matter of fierce debate. While your average low level opportunist criminal has almost no access to guns, gangs and serious organised criminals appear to be able to get them quite easily on the black market. So what do you do, arm the Police to counter the gangs, or try to stop the flow of guns (Or both)? It is a difficult issue for us.

BevfromNYC said...

Dear Limey Libertarian:
Sorry, but I just have to get this out of the way...;-)
We feel your pain. However our gun rights/laws came about in the aftermath of some pretty heavy-handed treatment that was directly related to a little squirmish we had with you "Limeys" a coupla' hundred years or so ago!

Okay, now with that out of the way. Yes, the British have been pretty heavy handed in de-arming all of their colonies over the last thousand years of so, therefore you AREN'T a culture of guns except for the occasion quail shoot on the estate or a fox hunt every now and then. Okay, I did it again. I'll stop I promise.

But it really hasn't stopped gun crime or crime in general. And I understand how difficult the situation is for you. Of course, it might help to do both - try and stop the flow of guns AND better arm the police. Why is it such a dilemma to arm the police? Do you feel they are a threat to the general population? I am not trying to be cheeky, but am asking a genuine question.

AndrewPrice said...

Limey Libertarian, The UK "never having been a gun owning society" I think explains why your government was able to ban them. A lot of people think "well, the British did it, so we can do it too... the people will comply." But honestly I think that's wrong. If you tried it here, that would be the one thing that would start a low level insurrection and federal officers would be getting killed left and right trying it.

Anonymous said...

Limey Libertarian:

Good question Bev. In the British national psyche there is still the romanticised image of the friendly British bobby in his old fashioned uniform and traditional helmet out patrolling his beat, giving naughty children a ‘clip round the ear’ and when he does arrest a criminal they say ‘it’s a fair cop guv’. We all know in the logical part of our brains it was never really like that, but we feel threatened by the modern police officers in their almost paramilitary type uniforms bristling with radios, nightsticks, pepper sprays etc.
There is also the underlying suspicion that the Police could be used as an instrument of control, and if they are armed that nervousness increases. As I say, it is a difficult problem balancing the need to fight the genuine increase in gun crime, whilst still maintaining public support of the police service. On a personal aside, If I lived in the US, I would almost certainly own a firearm myself.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I also think that the fact the UK, an island with strong border controls, can't stop the flow of guns demonstrates the hopelessness of ever keeping guns away from criminals in the US. You can smuggle anything you want into the US if you're willing to walk.

Anonymous said...

Limey Libertarian:

Not as strong as you might think Andrew. Being a member of the EUSSR (Sorry, my bias is showing). We have free movement of people and labour across the EU. Whilst I support this on general principles (Would not have met my Spanish wife otherwise). I does leave us open to some very violent Eastern European gangs that have started to come in recently, pecifically Albanian and Romanian gangs

AndrewPrice said...

Limey, That's interesting. I have German relatives and they somehow seem to have kept pretty strict control over their borders. But maybe that's just because the Germans are very insular as people.

As an aside, I always read the Mail Online because they are about 3 days ahead on American news (which is either very impressive or one heck of a condemnation on our media) plus I find Europe interesting, and it looks like Britain is going through a lot of problems right now. I can't believe all the taxes the government is imposing. I see nothing to promote growth.

tryanmax said...

Doing its part to include a wide range of perspectives in the gun debate, American Public Media is running a special edition of its program "The Story" dedicated to firearms related anecdotes as told by the very diverse New Yorkers who lived them. Yeah. That's right.

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