Gun Registration Deadline in New York Brings Large Scale non-compliance
April 15th brought the mandatory registration deadline for those New Yorkers who owned firearms now considered by the state to be 'assault weapons' if said gun possessed certain cosmetic features that appear evil enough to regulate. Well, it doesn't seem like the registration was much of a success.
(Gov.Andrew Cuomo signing the SAFE Act in 2013, AP photo)
The madness of the rules
The byzantine labyrinth that is the New York SAFE Act, which was rushed through the state legislature in record speed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo driving the train, includes a totally arbitrary list of cosmetic features to ensure that evil 'assault weapons' be banned in the future and those that are still out there be registered. Because of course you can't confiscate something if it's not registered first right?
The list of banned features to semi-automatic weapons with detachable magazines includes (with our unscientific reasoning behind it):
- Threaded barrels (because if you can change out muzzle breaks or mount a legal NFA suppressor on it, this has to be bad)
- Grenade launcher (come on, are they being serious?)
- Forward pistol grip (there shall not be anything tactical out there, not in the Empire State!)
- Folding or telescoping stock (because there shall be no need for adjustment)
- Protruding pistol grip (if it's not a traditional rifle stock, good luck)
- Thumbhole stock (What? Who even likes these other than to get around assault weapons bans...oh wait)
- Bayonet mount (because reports of bayonets used in crime have been on the climb, after all what other reason could there be?)
- Flash suppressor/muzzle break/muzzle compensator (because target guns deserve no compensation. What about the children?)
Sure, it looks funny, but deep down inside its still an AR.
Not only are new guns available, but owners can retrofit older guns to be complaint, and thus not in need of registration.
Forms? Forms? We don't need no stinking forms!
Speaking of registering guns, many in New York just...aren't.
(It seems that NY Safe Act gun registration forms will make a pretty good fire)
Of the estimated 1-million estimated 'assault weapon' owners in the state, less than 5000 have filled out the forms and made themselves legal. Many have sent in protest forms (see picture below) or symbolically destroyed their forms in an act of civil disobedience.
(One of the trending things to do in recent weeks is to flood the NY State Police with protest forms such as these. Yes, its kinda juvenile, but hey, so is arbitrary cosmetic bans on firearms)
In March, over a thousand forms were burned in Saratoga Springs by gun rights advocates in a BBQ grill set up at the local Elks Lodge parking lot. Sound like terrorists? No sounds like your ordinary Americans sick of taking it.
In this same tradition, defiant gun owners converged on Buffalo's Niagara Square on April 15 to protest the NY SAFE Act by shredding gun registration forms.
"We have to show courage. There's always a chance anything could happen but I wouldn't be here if I felt I was doing something that was hurting other people. I'm not hurting anybody. Nobody here's hurting anybody," Tony Matuszak said.
Late Tuesday night, just before the end of the deadline, New York Second Amendment Supporters left a Molon Labe (Come and Take them) banner for Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany.
For their part, the New York State Sheriffs Association opposes the SAFE Act regulations on 'assault weapons,' saying:
"We believe that the new definition of assault weapons is too broad, and prevents the possession of many weapons that are legitimately used for hunting, target shooting and self-defense. Classifying firearms as assault weapons because of one arbitrary feature effectively deprives people the right to possess firearms, which have never before been designated as assault weapons. We are convinced that only law abiding gun owners will be affected by these new provisions, while criminals will still have and use whatever weapons they want."
In addition, because of that, many law enforcement officers are already saying they will not enforce the ban, and its 6-month/$1000 fine penalties.
"We're not in favor of the SAFE Act, and no, we're not going to come barging into your houses, for law-abiding citizens, to get your guns," said Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley last week.
For now, the only thing New Yorkers can do is bide their time and become active enough in the next legislative process to vote out those responsible for the SAFE Act.
(Grenade launchers? Really?)