SAFE Act Prosecutions will Show if New York Dares Enforce Registration Infringements
“On Thursday of this week, more than 70,000 New York pistol permit holders woke up as felons. Law-breakers,” S.H. Blannelberry of GunsAmerica observed. “What was their crime? They didn’t register their handguns with the state.”
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo rammed through the NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in 2013,” the article explains. “This insidious law requires pistol permit holders to register their handguns and recertify their licenses every five years. Failure to do so is a Class E felony.”
So what does this mean? Are those who initially complied with registration now caught in a perfect trap, one that will result in the state destroying their lives for not complying with its terms of surrender, be it because they either weren’t paying attention or made the decision to defy an edict they view as tyrannical?
New York is playing coy, probably wary of sounding too much like “Star Trek’s” the Borg claiming “Resistance is futile.”
“The state police are not going to penalize those people who fail to recertify unknowingly by the deadline,” Beau Duffy, Director of Public Information for New York State Police claimed. All they want is “an up-to-date database on active pistol permits at the state and local levels.”
And why might they want that? It’s not unfair to recall an earlier New York diktat, where a similar promise was made:
“The New York City Police Department (NYPD) had notified the 2,340 New Yorkers who had been licensed earlier to possess semi-automatic rifles and shotguns that any of those licensed firearms that were covered by the ban had to be surrendered, rendered inoperable or taken out of the city. The recipients of the notification were directed to send back a sworn statement indicating what had been done with those firearms.”
And what of those who “knowingly” refuse to comply? Again, we can look to past precedent.
“The year after the ban was enacted, a man`s home in Staten Island was raided by the police after he had announced that he would not comply with the city`s ban. He was arrested, and his guns were seized.”
There’s one other important fact that can’t be overlooked, and that is to note who by law is exempt from registration requirements: Criminals, the ones causing the violence problems.
In Haynes v. United States, the Supreme Court basically ruled that since a felon is prohibited from gun ownership, requiring him to register one would violate Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination. That’s a correct ruling, but it does help illustrate the damnable lie behind all firearm registration “laws.”
With the caveat that I have no crystal ball, my best guess is that mass sweeps will not take place any time soon, especially since, aside from the manpower, logistics and resources that would require, enforcement, prosecution and incarceration would make that a practical impossibility. Also, many law enforcement departments in non-“progressive” areas have said they will not comply with enforcement orders. Others are saying the “law” is so confusing that enforcement is unworkable.
And what about enforcing the edict against those who “knowingly” refuse to obey?
“I just don’t see there’s any need to,” says Joseph Fuller of Cohoes, N.Y. Fuller says he owns several guns, including at least one that he’s required to register under the SAFE Act. But he hasn’t. “I don’t pay attention, to be honest,” says Fuller. “I have friends out in the boondocks. They won’t register their guns either. And they told me … don’t even bother. Don’t worry about it.”
Can the state afford to let high profile “scofflaws” defy its demands and not appear totally impotent in all matters? Is the best “answer” to remain low profile, and feign ignorance if “caught”?
Massive noncompliance already appears to be the case.
“Nearly One Million New Yorkers Didn’t Register Their ‘Assault Weapons’,” a headline notes on an earlier disarmament edict. Similar results can be pointed to in places like Connecticut and California.
I can’t blame fellow gun owners who choose a low-profile course, although it’s not the one I chose when faced with a similar decision. Some friends and I confronted the California “Department of Justice” years back when NRA partnered with them to walk us through their so-called “assault weapon” registration requirement of the time. We publicly defied them and tore up their offensive registration cards, incurring the condemnation of some “law-abiding gun owners” in attendance. We never did suffer legal repercussions, although I wouldn’t want to predict what New York “authorities” would do. (Make sure you make time to read “Why I Will Not Obey California’s Gun Registration Edict” by my friend and colleague Brian Puckett, who was one of my “accomplices” that night.)
Again, going back to that crystal ball caveat, my prediction is that enforcement will be selective based on perceived “beneficial” outcomes, and the first arrests will be within an extremely small subset of gun owners who commit other criminal acts. That will allow for arresting agencies and prosecuting attorneys to crow to supportive media about how the law is “saving lives.”
There could also be arrests of those loudly defying the requirement, especially if they get careless. If and when an advocate gets arrested, don’t expect much help from certain national rice bowl gun groups, which repudiate the growing “I will not comply” movement and instead insist that “good, honest” gun owners obey the law and work to change it.
A Samuel Adams quote comes to mind.
Expect them to claim the disobedient “are making us all look bad.” Certainly don’t expect them to fund the legal defense of a patriot whose assets have been seized and who will stand for the most part on his own (and boy, do I pray they will one day make me eat those words).
In Democrat strongholds like New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, etc., repeal and redress are not going to happen, and the deliberately “imported” demographic constituency shift will ensure legislative and judicial corrections will be denied to those who simply wish to claim their birthright back from infringing usurpers. Besides, “civil disobedience” to tyranny is a time-honored American tradition. Just ask Thoreau. Or better yet, Parker.
Just as Oath Keepers in the military and law enforcement have pledged that there are orders they will not obey, so too should patriotic citizens who understand their rights and duties refuse to cooperate in their own disarmament. Acts of tyranny passed under color of law do not override the supreme Law of the Land. The obligation is to follow the higher law.
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David Codrea’s opinions are his own. See “Who speaks for Oath Keepers?”