Albany Times-Union reporter James Odato broke the story recently that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s director of homeland security Jerome Hauer displayed a handgun during a meeting with a Swedish delegation in October of 2013, using the laser sight of the pistol as a laser pointer. The delegates were said to have ducked in horror as the pistol’s laser—which is aligned with the barrel of the gun—tracked across one of their heads before eventually finding the map inside a state building.
Carrying a firearm in a state building is illegal except for law enforcement officers. Hauer is not a law enforcement officer nor in law enforcement in the State of New York.
Sensing a scandal, the Cuomo Adminstration granted a waiver for Hauer after the fact.
The Cuomo administration has obtained a waiver to allow the head of the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to carry a handgun at work.
The required sign-off from a law barring state employees from packing a weapon at their workplace came from the state Office of General Services four days after the Times Union published a story about DHSES Commissioner Jerome M. Hauer using his handgun’s laser sighting attachment as a pointer in a meeting with a Swedish delegation.
Cuomo defended Hauer at a news conference Wednesday. The governor said he’s comfortable with commissioners carrying weapons to work as long as they have gun permits. He qualified the response by adding “if they are licensed and in that field of work.”
Hauer is not a law enforcement officer or working in law enforcement, although his official vehicle has emergency lights and sirens.
Despite the lack of a waiver before January, several witnesses said he has been carrying a gun on the job since Cuomo appointed him in 2011.
People have seen Hauer with his gun on him in state buildings, including 633 Third Ave. in Manhattan, where the governor has offices, and at division headquarters at the Harriman campus in Albany.
Prior to this recently-issued waiver, Hauer allegedly carried handguns illegally into state buildings. The crimes occurred in Albany, New York City, and presumably other locations in front of multiple witnesses between 2011 and 2014.
It is currently unknown whether the commissioner of the NYPD granted Hauer the special permit authorizing his carry in New York City, or if Hauer’s state-issued permit allowed him to carry in other counties in New York. New York State concealed carry permits are not automatically authorized for state-wide carry. It is also unknown if the specific handguns Hauer carried were licensed by the state.
Stunningly, Hauer admitted he was carrying a weapon during the meeting with the Swedish delegation, and even argued over which gun he illegally possessed at the time.
“Those are the facts,” Hauer said. “The Swedes wrote to Odato explaining that the gun was never pointed at anyone, that they never felt the least bit concerned and that it was strictly pointed at a wall. I do own a Glock but it is in Virginia. It is too big to carry in a pocket and it has no laser. I have never carried it because of its size. I carry an H&K P 2000. The gun that was in my pocket was an unloaded S&W 9mm. I have permits to carry and received verbal authorization to carry it on state property when I was hired and again many months ago.”
Verbal authorization is not legal authorization. Legal authorization requires a written waiver, which Hauer only just obtained, well after the fact
According to NRA-ILA:
Illegal possession of a loaded firearm is a class C violent felony, punishable by a minimum mandatory term of three and a half years and a maximum of fifteen years.
It seems obvious that the Cuomo Administration is attempting to sweep this scandal under the rug, even as the viciously anti-gun governor has sought to constrict the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers via the controversial NY SAFE Act.
Cumo recently set off a political firestorm when he stated, “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay…have no place in the State of New York.”
Apparently, there is plenty of room for felony gun crime in New York… as long as you work for Andrew Cuomo.