If there’s anything you can expect from New York Democrats with certainty, it is their iterative throttling of the Bill of Rights. Whether it’s Governor Andrew Cuomo or Attorney General Fash (Tish) James, they all want the citizenry disarmed and muzzled, police defunded, and violent criminals released among the public. And if you thought that they can’t possibly do any more damage than what they already did with the NY SAFE Act, you’re absolutely wrong.
This Tuesday, NY Democrats held a news conference calling for more gun control. They have proposed several pieces of legislation that will embolden criminals while harassing ordinary people.
One of the proposals (S3347) does an end-run around the PLCAA (Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act) by allowing crime victims to sue parties who had nothing to do with the commission of a crime, namely, the firearm manufacturers. There’s a saying in Hindi, “Kare Kaun, Bhare Kaun,” which translates to, “One commits, another remits,” that is used in situations where someone who is not guilty of a misdeed pays the price while the real offender gets away with it. This old Hindi saying is a perfect fit for what New York Democrats are doing.
Another insidious piece of legislation (A07771) requires an individual to get a hunting license in order to be able to buy a shotgun or a rifle. California has already attempted this and is currently in court (Jones v. Bonta), having been sued by young adults (18-21) whose natural right to keep and bear arms has been made contingent on the acquisition of a hunting license. New York, not to be outdone by California, wants to make this a requirement for all adults, not just those in the 18 to 21 age range. If the Framers had hunting in mind, they would have quilled it down in the text of the Second Amendment, thereby prohibiting a vegetarian like me from keeping and bearing arms.
In a throwback to the malevolence of the Jim Crow era with its literacy tests for voting, this bill mandates a five hour gun safety course and exam, and passing a shooting range test with 90% accuracy, which is higher than the 78% accuracy required of New York cops.
Another bill in the New York Assembly (A7246B) “requires persons possessing any firearm to hold a firearms safety certificate.” From the text of the bill, there doesn’t appear to be any grandfathering clause either (not that it would make the bill any better). This is a willful burden created to harass gun owners, the process itself being the punishment for the alleged sin of gun ownership.
Of course, any safety course and exam will come with a “fee” which is a reanimation of the Jim Crow poll tax for an enumerated right. Democrats love to throw around “disparate impact” when talking about the outcome of legislation, but are intentionally laying down the framework for such disparate impact, demanding that the working poor of every race spend several hours and hundreds of dollars to obey Democrat diktats.
The most dangerous aspect of A7246B is that the state will keep a record of who has a firearms safety certificate, which is a de facto registry of gun owners. (Currently, only handguns and “assault weapons” are required to be registered with the state.) Such a registry is guaranteed to be abused in the future both during times of peace and unrest.
And it doesn’t end there! A07771 also requires prospective gun owners to “provide notarized proof of a passed drug test and mental health evaluation.” Most mentally ill people are not violent and non-mentally ill people can turn violent. What’s the next step in the process? Allowing a crime victim to sue a psychologist who provided the approval for an individual who turns violent, thereby making sure that no psychologist ever signs off on a firearm purchase? (I bet it is. Remember when seismologists got convicted in Italy for failing to predict an earthquake?)
The drug use certification is preposterous for a couple of reasons. First of all, narcotics are outlawed, and it hasn’t dawned upon these legislative geniuses that banning something or making it harder to obtain only mushrooms a thriving black market. Secondly, New York Democrats have made ridiculous proposals to give syringes and other drug paraphernalia to drug addicts. Clearly, the irony of demanding a drug test while aiding and abetting drug consumption with public money is lost on them.
My state is a pathetic mess. Not a day goes by when I don’t dream of moving away to a freedom-respecting, low-tax state. But I am, as of this writing, staying here to fight. I urge the readers of this article to alert your New Yorker friends and have them contact their Assembly Members and State Senators to make sure they know that these bills are oppressive and idiotic.
In the long run, if Bill of Rights aficionados want to save our freedoms, we need to stop playing defense in the courts and start playing offense culturally. That means taking non-gun owners to the range (assuming you can find ammo these days). The pandemic and riots last year have led to a sudden increase in the number of gun owners, but that’s not enough, especially in a state like New York. We need to surge our numbers to stop the onslaught at the source: the legislature.
Ranjit Singh is a co-author of “Each One, Teach One: Preserving and protecting the Second Amendment in the 21st century and beyond.” You can follow him on Twitter @AuthorSingh.