Cuomo’s NYSAFE Act And The Notion Of ‘Assault Weapon’
What the Law-Abiding New York Firearms’ Owner Must Know about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NYSAFE Act
NEW YORK’S ATTACK ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT
The Second Amendment is under attack. The Second Amendment is under constant attack. The State of New York has taken the Nation’s lead in undermining the exercise of this fundamental right through enactment of the NYSAFE Act. But you would make a mistake to accept the NYSAFE Act as something new and novel in the history of restrictive firearms regulation. It isn’t new. The NYSAFE Act is an elaboration over the last set of harsh New York firearms control laws. Through incremental steps the New York State firearms’ control laws grow ever harsher. The systematic erosion of New York residents’ Second Amendment rights is underway and has been underway for decades. This erosion is slow and lumbering but relentless and enduring. NYSAFE Act is terrible. It exists. So, we must contend with it.
YOU CAN NO LONGER BUY ASSAULT WEAPONS LAWFULLY IN NEW YORK
Many New York political leaders do not want New York residents to have firearms. But they loathe assault weapons in the hands of citizens. With enactment of NYSAFE politicians place tight controls on assault weapons. Residents can no longer buy assault weapons lawfully in New York, nor readily transfer them.
If you do not own an assault weapon and wish to buy an assault weapon in the future, you no longer can do so – not in New York. If you do own an assault weapon and wish to buy a second assault weapon, you no longer can do so – not in New York. If you now own an assault weapon and you wish to sell the weapon and later wish to buy another assault weapon, you cannot do so – not in New York. If you wish to sell an assault weapon or give the weapon away, then you must do so as the NYSAFE Act says. And, if you own an assault weapon and wish to keep the weapon – well – that is not easy because the Governor makes you jump through hoops. And, if you fail to do whatever you must to meet the new firearms control laws, you will be in trouble.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE
The purpose of this Article is to aid you in understanding the restrictive new firearms laws of New York: how they affect you; how they impact you and your firearms. No other website will provide you a more detailed and informative analysis of NYSAFE. You would need a licensed attorney to analyze the Act for you. His services are likely to be expensive.
WHY WE ARE DOING THIS
We see a need. We wish to fill that need. And we have faith in our cause: to preserve and protect our Bill of Rights. And, we see the especial need to preserve and protect our sacred right to keep and bear arms, embodied in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Our goal is to wake you up, not anesthetize you; to educate you, not indoctrinate you; to develop your critical reasoning faculties; not clamp them down.
THE GOVERNOR’S TAKE ON NYSAFE
The Governor’s own treatment of NYSAFE is simplistic. Ours isn’t. What does the Governor say about NYSAFE? Take a look. Here’s the link: NYSAFE ACT
Visually, the Governor’s site is impressive. The Governor has spared no expense on it. The site has stunning graphics and hosts many interactive tools. And the website displays the red, white and blue of the Nation’s flag. By draping the site around the Nation’s colors, the Governor wishes to ease concern over the NYSAFE Act. By draping the site around the Nation’s colors, the Governor is saying New York will protect the citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. If you miss the Governor’s hint, he hits you with this: “The safe act protects law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms and does not restrict New Yorker’s ability to buy, sell, keep or use their firearms.” Oh?
The Governor adds: “This website is a one-stop resource for New Yorkers to better understand how the NY SAFE Act does and does not affect you. Learn how you can keep you and your family safe.”
I do not grasp how the NYSAFE Act can keep a person and his family safe. From what the site offers the statement strikes me as more vain hope than promise. But even if true, hidden in the assertion is the Governor’s naked conceit: token security at the expense of liberty. And the claim, a “one-stop resource,” is bold and boastful. The Governor, at best, holds a sincere but false belief. At worst, the Governor is deceiving you.
The Governor’s “one-stop resource” lacks careful attention to detail our site provides. The Governor’s NYSAFE website simply lacks the academic rigor needed to grasp NYSAFE.
Unlike the Governor’s take on the NYSAFE Act, I will not say or suggest NYSAFE is easy to understand. It isn’t. But you must know NYSAFE to prevent revocation of your pistol license and long arm permit. You must know NYSAFE to prevent confiscation of your “assault weapons.” You must know NYSAFE to preclude imposition of civil penalties and criminal sanctions. Because New York has expanded Firearms control laws through enactment of NYSAFE, you must know NYSAFE. I will explain it.
In this post and several posts to follow I describe and explain the NYSAFE Act. I talk about and analyze several sections of the Act. The purpose here is to teach, not deceive; to inspire, not entertain; to protect the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, not betray that right.
WHY DO YOU DISCUSS THE NYSAFE ACT?
NYSAFE is the model for restrictive firearms legislation across the Country. Recent proposed or passed State and Federal firearms legislation mirror NYSAFE. To understand NYSAFE is to understand the political strategy of antigun groups and of allied politicians in Congress and State Legislatures across the Country.
In this post I’ll give you a short background on NYSAFE and begin my discussion of the words, ‘assault weapons.’
WHEN WAS NYSAFE ENACTED?
The New York State Legislature passed the NYSAFE Act on January 14, 2013. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Act into law on January 15, 2013. He’s proud of it. He has, as mentioned, devoted an entire website to it. Proponents say NYSAFE is a commonsense Act and sets a good example for the Nation. I know better. So do you.
WHAT IS THE NYSAFE ACT?
The NYSAFE Act isn’t one law but a set of laws. The Act is a grab bag of laws, wrapped into one thing. The official title is: “the NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 (Senate Bill 2230).” Often shortened to NYSAFE or the SAFE Act, the Act is a lengthy and confusing document, neither obvious in meaning nor workable in practice. And it cuts across the New York criminal procedure law, the family court act, the general business law, the mental hygiene law, the penal law and other laws. What the Act may do in making New York residents safer is open to debate. But in practice the Act creates confusion for firearms’ owners and difficulties for businesses. The Act creates headaches for the courts which must adjudicate the laws and headaches for public officials who must administer the laws. The Act places added burdens on firearms dealers and extra requirements on both the Superintendent of State Police and the Commissioner of Education. And the Act poses a moral quandary for mental health professionals who must resolve the laws with their ethical duty to their patients.
A WORD ABOUT ‘ASSAULT WEAPONS’
There is much buzz about assault weapons. President Barack Obama talks about them. Vice President Joseph Biden talks about them. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer talk about them. Governor Andrew Cuomo talks about them. Michael Bloomberg had talked about them and the new Mayor, Bill De Blasio, will talk about them.
The President and other ‘gun control’ advocates call these firearms weapons of war. But the military uses few of these weapons in their present configuration and uses none of them, to my knowledge, in a ‘battlefield assault’ role. ‘Gun control’ advocates liken these weapons to selective-fire or full auto submachine guns even though assault weapons are not selective-fire or full auto submachine guns. ‘Gun control’ advocates suggest ‘assault weapon’ is a technical military expression. But the military doesn’t use it and never has used it. The military does use the expression, ‘assault rifle.’
ISN’T AN ASSAULT WEAPON AN ASSAULT RIFLE?
No! Do not confuse the expression ‘assault weapon’ with the expression ‘assault rifle.’ The expression ‘assault weapon’ is not equivalent in meaning to the expression ‘assault rifle.’ The expression, ‘assault rifle,’ unlike the expression, ‘assault weapon,’ is a military expression. The words, ‘assault rifle,’ refer to a short, compact, selective-fire weapon that fires a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges. To read more about this, see David P. Kopel’s excellent Article, “Rational Basis Analysis of ‘Assault Weapon’ Prohibition.” The link to the Article is here: guncite.com.
Assault rifles are battlefield weapons. Assault weapons are not. But that does not prevent news commentators from referring to “assault weapons” as “military weapons.” Do not listen to those who tell you otherwise.
PAY NO ATTENTION TO OPINIONS. OPINIONS WILL TRIP YOU UP.
The opinions of news commentators are irrelevant and of no importance to the basic question: are any of your weapons “assault weapons?”
TURN TO THE NYSAFE ACT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT ‘ASSAULT WEAPON’ MEANS
The NYSAFE Act is where we make sense of – or at least try to make sense of – the expression ‘assault weapon.’
The NYSAFE Act is ‘the law of the land’ and the law applies to you, the New York resident. So, to learn whether one or more of your weapons are assault weapons you must turn to the NYSAFE Act. Nothing else is important or relevant to the matter of your weapons — nothing.
APPROACH THE ISSUE OF ASSAULT WEAPONS AS AN ATTORNEY WOULD
Lawyers ignore the emotional outbursts of politicians, of news anchors, commentators and analysts, and of talk show hosts. You should ignore those emotional outbursts too.
In this post I gave you general information about the NYSAFE Act. I talked briefly about the notion, ‘assault weapons.’ And I cautioned against equating ‘assault weapon’ with the military, ‘assault rifle.’ Military weaponry does not bear on our discussion.
I said, too, we look to the NYSAFE Act for guidance. What the NYSAFE Act says about “assault weapons” is relevant and critical to our inquiry. I stressed that point. What the NYSAFE Act says about the words ‘assault weapon,’ is what counts. That alone is important. Opinions about “assault weapons” count for nothing. You must keep these points in mind. I will reiterate them throughout my discussion of the NYSAFE Act.
In the posts that follow, I will continue my discussion of “assault weapons.” I will then lay out the categories of ‘assault weapon’ and focus on the definitions of ‘assault weapon.’ I will direct your attention to a couple of expressions that appear in the definitions: ‘semiautomatic’ and ‘detachable magazine.’ We will build an analytical framework. Once completed, we can examine any firearm and know if it is an “assault weapon” under NYSAFE. And we will discuss your obligations under NYSAFE in respect to it.
Copyright © 2013 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour) All Rights Reserved.
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