Cuomo, other governors lobby U.S. Senate for gun laws

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with the governors of Connecticut and Maryland, penned a letter to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday urging the chamber to approve legislative amendments that would require more background checks on gun sales.

Cuomo, Daniel Malloy of Connecticut and Martin O’Malley of Maryland, who are all Democrats, wrote in the letter that the proposed amendment to the “Safe Communities, Sade Schools Act of 2013,” fails to mandate universal background checks. But it would still help to make communities safer, the chiefs argued.

“While this proposal falls short of the universal background checks that are truly needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, we believe the Senate must take the first step to address gun violence in our communities and honor the victims,” they wrote.

“In our own states, we’ve enacted legislation since the mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown to combat gun violence and make our communities safer while respecting everyone’s Second Amendment rights,” they continued. “But gun violence respects no borders, and our states’ laws alone are insufficient to systemically address gun violence on a national basis.”

Cuomo has been critical of gun-law proposals on the federal level but has argued that federal laws are imperative to keep guns from crossing state lines.

Here’s the full letter:

Letter by cara12345

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  1. The “SAFE” (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement) Act was debated in closed session without committee hearings, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it into law within an hour of its passage — after waiving the required three-day public comment period. This 80 page legislation was passed late into the night… literally and figuratively under the cover of darkness. There existed no exigent need as claimed, of the Act’s 60 sections, only three (3) took effect on its adoption into law. Cuomo bragged that New York now has the “toughest assault weapons ban” in the country but claimed that the law respects the Second Amendment and preserves the rights of “hunters and sportsmen.” The former is true; the latter is not.
    The most widely reported provision of the law is the total ban on the sale of military-style rifles classified as “assault weapons,” effective Jan. 15. The provision forever prohibits anyone other than a law enforcement agency from acquiring such weapons, including the popular hunting and target variants of the AR-15 rifle. Current owners of such rifles must register them with the state by 2014, and the registration must be renewed every five years. Current owners of such rifles may never sell them to another New York State resident in the future or pass them down to members of their family.
    Shockingly enough, in many ways the “assault weapons ban” is actually one of the statute’s lesser infringements on the Second Amendment. The statute criminalizes, potentially criminalizes, or places under state surveillance even the most innocuous, banal, and pedestrian forms of gun ownership, and it restricts the right of self-defense. The new law prohibits the sale of any quantity of ammunition by anyone other than a licensed dealer and requires that such dealer perform a criminal background check on the purchaser and forward the purchaser’s name, address, age, and occupation, and the quantity, caliber, and make of the ammunition, to a State Police database. Thus, the ammunition database creates a de facto universal long gun registry. A hunter who purchases a box of five 12-gauge deer slugs will have the effect of documenting ownership of a 12-gauge shotgun.
    The law affirmatively requires that a person’s firearms must be confiscated if any order of protection is filed against them — no matter how meager the complaint may be. It also requires that a “mental health professional” (including a physician) who believes that an individual is a danger to himself or others must report his or her diagnosis to the police for purposes of firearm confiscation. Such a diagnosis is highly subjective. But the law exempts such “professionals” from civil liability; thus, any “mental health professional can initiate the confiscation of a person’s firearms, and the gun owner is forbidden to file a civil suit to challenge the “diagnosis.”
    The SAFE Act also severely infringes on the right of self-defense from criminal predation. Although Article 35 of New York Penal law allows the use of deadly force in the event of a home invasion, the SAFE Act restricts the ammunition capacity of all arms to seven rounds. If you possess a magazine loaded with more than seven rounds in your own home, you are guilty of a criminal offense. If a criminal with a stolen handgun and an illegal 15-round magazine invades your home and you shoot at him with more than eight rounds, you will be criminally charged, and your magazine (and possibly your firearm) will be confiscated and destroyed without compensation, because you have now used it in the commission of a crime.
    The seven-round magazine limit effectively bans or severely restricts the use of perhaps 75% of the firearms designed in the past 100 years. Seven-round magazines simply do not exist for common firearms such as the popular 10-shot Ruger 10/22 rifle, five million of which have been manufactured since the 1960s. Although the Act “grandfathers” existing ten-round magazines, it forbids owners to put more than seven rounds in them, and it requires lawful owners of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds to sell them out of state, surrender them, or destroy them. This is clearly an unconstitutional deprivation of private property, in violation of the Fifth Amendment.
    The law also prohibits the private “sale” or “exchange” of any firearm to any person unless a licensed dealer performs the “sale” and a background check. You may not give your brother or nephew a .22 rifle on Christmas Eve. The law does not clarify how long someone must be in possession of a firearm before such possession is understood to be an “exchange”; thus, it is possible that lending a rifle to your brother-in-law for deer season without a dealer transfer and a background check could be construed as an illegal exchange.” You would then be a criminal, and the gun used in the “crime” could be confiscated and destroyed.
    Finally, the SAFE Act requires that gun owners report any “loss or theft” of a firearm or ammunition to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so is a criminal offense. Read literally, a deer hunter who drops a single 12-gauge slug in the snow and cannot find it is a criminal unless he reports the loss to the police.
    The New York SAFE Act is one of the most brazen assaults on the Constitution and on individual liberty in the history of the United States. Cuomo has thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald decisions in 2008 and 2010 affirming the right to keep and bear arms. The intent of the law is to suppress and criminalize the common use of firearms, including guns not defined as “assault weapons.” This legislation does not have the support of our law enforcement community, which Cuomo failed to consult or exempt, despite being tasked with its enforcement. In fact, the NY State Sheriffs Association has specifically opposed the act. The New York State Association of County Clerks and the New York State Association of Counties have also passed resolutions opposing the NY SAFE act. More significantly, 51 of New York’s 62 counties have either passed, or are in the process of passing, resolutions calling for the repeal of the SAFE Act, that list continues to grow. New York has the highest taxes in the nation. It is ranked as the least “business-friendly” state in the country. The implementation of this legislation is not only going to cost NY state 36 million dollars a year, it has created a hostile environment for both in-state and out of state sports men and women who now risk committing crimes for the countless technical criminal violations created by the SAFE Act for possessing items which can be purchased over the counter in all our neighboring states.

  2. why are they pushing it like this is what NY wants? a majority of Districts here in ny voted against his illegal 3 day gun grab push. furthermore; its not even about just criminals, we forget its about tyrants to. they report the “Million Mom March” (note the caps, only 26 showed up on that bridge- a lot of kids to) but they dumb down the 7000 that showed up and continue to show up at the capital. they neglect to tell you about the majority of LawEnforc. against this entire thing. NY has drones in the sky; stop and frisk (like prison);cameras on every corner; warrantless searches; and overmilitarized city police that cant shoot. If anyone is listening NY is out of control, and a police state.

  3. It was just the hysterical reaction and underhanded implementation of overly restrictive gun laws in these states that caused gun rights activists, hunters and shooters to circle their wagons and stop any federal efforts. It seems evident that their national political aspirations are over and the voters will remember in November.

  4. It was the hysterical reaction and underhanded implementation of overly restrictive gun laws in these states (particularly in NY) that caused gun rights activists, hunters and shooters to circle their wagons and stop any federal efforts. It seems evident that their national political aspirations are over and the voters will remember in November.

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