Ever since the hilariously inaccurately named SAFE Act was passed in New York, gun owners and Second Amendment advocates have been stonewalled by the state government whenever attempts were made to find out more about how it was being implemented. But one group, the Shooters Committee on Political Education, (SCOPE) managed to break through the wall of silence this month and found out residents have been largely turning their backs on at least one aspect of the law. Owners of so called “assault weapons” in the Empire State are supposed to voluntarily go through a special registration process to let Big Brother know who and where they are, but in large numbers the response has been to just say no.
About 44,500 assault weapons have been registered in New York since a new gun-control law was enacted in 2013, records released by State Police to a gun-rights group this week showed.
The Shooters Committee on Public (sic) Education, a gun-rights group based in western New York, successfully sued after the state refused to release the details. Now the group claimed that the statistics showed what they suspected: Few gun owners are complying with the SAFE Act adopted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature in January 2013.
The total number of applications to register assault weapons in New York was 25,536.
“The majority of gun owners and sportsmen in New York have absolutely no respect for this law,” said Stephen Aldstadt, the group’s president.
The group said that estimates have showed that there about 1 million assault weapons in New York, so if that’s the case, about 4 percent were registered as required under the SAFE Act. But gun-control advocates said there is no way of knowing how many assault weapons exist in New York.
Previous surveys and estimates have indicated that that actual number of AR-15 style weapons in New York is probably closer to one million. Unfortunately, the burdensome nature of the SAFE Act is such that many gun owners have been put in the position of either ignoring / breaking the law or subjecting themselves to an unacceptable level of government intrusion upon their lives and their rights. Who in their right mind wants to go down to the Sheriff’s office and fill out a bunch of paperwork which will only set in motion an investigation which will eventually wind up in someone showing up at your door to confiscate your rifle even if you’ve never been accused of breaking any other law?
To be clear, it’s not that this has rendered the law toothless. Gun confiscation has been going on in New York since shortly after the law took effect, sometimes for reasons as vacuous as a person having once been prescribed anxiety medication. And “investigations” such as these have resulted in the state terminating the Second Amendment rights of more than 34,000 residents without due process. But as SCOPE has found out the hard way, those numbers are extremely hard to come by because of the veil of secrecy which enshrouds the law in Albany.
That’s one of the more interesting aspects of the linked article. (And you can read more about this at SCOPE’s web site.) Asking the state for any information about the SAFE Act is an exercise in frustration. SCOPE had to go to court and through the entire appeals process just to force the state police to release the raw numbers for “assault weapons” registrations. I’ve experienced similar battles myself. When attempting to find out how many owners have had their guns confiscated since the law took effect, I filed three different FOIA requests with the state and had to appeal each one. At the end of the appeals process I was still informed that “no records suitable to your inquiry are available.” To this day we still only have ballpark estimates because New York is doing all of this under the covers and keeping the press in the dark as much as they possibly can.
This is a minor victory in the larger scheme of things, but SCOPE is to be commended for their efforts. Little by little the veil is being peeled away and the voters may eventually find out just how badly their rights are being abused by Andrew Cuomo and the Democrats in Albany.