We needed thoughtful debate in the wake of the Newtown and Webster tragedies about preventative measures to help thwart or lessen the severity of these type of incidents in the future.
We don’t need 30 round magazines to hunt deer or defend our homes.
What we didn’t need, however, was a governor preying on people’s emotions to push his agenda and further his political calling in the next presidential election.
And what we got was the latter.
What we got was a so-called “assault weapons” ban that overnight turned hundreds of thousands of law abiding, taxpaying gun owners into criminals.
How does turning law abiding citizens into criminals help fight crime?
What we got were subjective mental health provisions that will most likely scare people in need away from seeking help for fear their hunting rifles will be confiscated.
What we got was an intrusive ammunition tracking program that will have Big Brother closing in on the local 4-H shooting program because of the number of .22 rounds they expend in a weekend.
What we got was, in a word, ridiculous.
This law will do little to stop the type of mass shootings that prompted the legislation in the first place.
What it will do is allow president-elect Andrew Cuomo to stand at a podium in 2016 and tell the nation that he worked tirelessly to enact the “the toughest gun control law in the country.”
That’s what this is really about.
But at what expense?
At the expense of law abiding hunters, target shooters and other gun enthusiasts — a parting gift from Gov. Cuomo prior to leaving for Washington D.C.
For those who have not read it — like half the legislators in Albany who were not afforded the time — the law redefines “assault weapons” as any semiautomatic rifle with a detachable clip and one “military style” feature. Those features run the gamut from a flash suppressor to a pistol grip to a thumb hole stock to a bayonet mount.
Essentially anything that makes the gun look “military-like” or ominous in the eyes of a downstate politician.
Drop the pistol grip and flash suppressor from an AR15 and, voila, it’s no longer an assault weapon — perfectly legal under the governor’s law. Don’t you think gun manufacturers might take that into consideration?
Meanwhile, thumbhole stocks are pretty popular on many types of muzzleloaders and are used by shooting clubs to help steady aim.
Biathletes use modified .22 caliber rifles with pistol grip stocks and detachable clips (that hold 8 bullets, by the way). Who would have thought all along that these were “assault weapons”?
Interestingly, Saratoga Assemblyman James Tedisco, in his address to the Assembly prior to the vote, noted that more murders were committed in New York last year with blunt objects like hammers and rocks than the type of weapons banned by the new “assault weapons” law.
Out of 769 homicides in New York last year, only five were caused by the type of rifles banned by the new law, while 31 were caused by blunt objects.
Another 161 were committed with knives.
So, what exactly have we accomplished here? Legislators would have made a bigger impact on crime by banning rocks larger than a quarter and forcing the registration of kitchen knives and claw hammers.
The law gives citizens one year to register any “assault weapon” they may have in their home or they become non-law abiding citizens.
Get caught with one unregistered and it is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Do we really want to fill our jails with these people?
I am sure police agencies are loving the thought of enforcing this one.
Then, the law forces these same gun owners to recertify registered guns as well as pistol permits every five years and there is sure to be a fee attached to doing so.
Have any type of run-in with the law, even a misdemeanor, and the state can then confiscate your guns and deny your recertifications.
What we needed was to come together as a society and rationally discuss preventative measures that might stop these atrocities.
What we got was a law rushed through in the 11th hour that is more about protecting the destiny of politicians than people.