NY Dems ready to rush new gun restrictions into law

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The votes haven’t been cast yet, but the results seem set in stone after New York Democrats, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders in both chambers announced an agreement on a sweeping package of ten new gun control laws that they’re pledging to put on the books before the legislature adjourns next Thursday.

The bills include a number of new restrictions on legal gun owners, who are already subject to some of the most draconian gun laws in the nation, as well as expansions of some of the gun control laws that are already in place.

The new laws sought by moderate Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state’s liberal Legislature would further tighten and strengthen New York’s gun ownership restrictions, including raising the age from 18 to 21 for the purchase of semi-automatic rifles like those used in the recent shootings.

… The Red Flag law, which allows for the seizure of guns from individuals determined to pose a risk to themselves or others, would be expanded to allow more people — such as health practitioners — to file risk orders. And it requires, rather than allows, law enforcement to file an order if credible information emerges.

The alleged shooter in Buffalo, who is age 18, was previously referred for a mental health evaluation and counseling after reportedly threatening a shooting at his high school last year. But the police who investigated and school administrators did not file under the Red Flag law to block him from possessing guns.

“There was nothing stopping either of those stakeholders, the police, the school administrator, from filing a petition, while waiting for the mental health evaluation,” Fischer said. “If we put a law on the books that requires law enforcement to look a little further, it’s more likely that this will be tapped into and that that law enforcement on the ground will be trained to know that this is a tool that they can use.”

The package set to pass in New York also includes adding semi-automatic rifles to the weapons requiring a permit available to those over the age of 21. The state currently requires permits for handguns, but not rifles.

An age restriction on rifle sales in California has faced a constitutional challenge, but Fischer said that adding it to the existing permitting regime should insulate it from potential litigation.

Uh, no. That’s not how it works. My guess is that almost every one of these new laws is going to be subject to litigation, though it’s likely that the current lawsuits challenging age restrictions in California and Florida will get to the Supreme Court for potential review before any lawsuit taking on New York’s under-21 gun ban reaches the highest court in the land.

But Democratic lawmakers aren’t really worried about having their laws declared unconstitutional by the courts, at least not for the moment. They’re in full “do something” mode and their priority is putting the laws in place, not debating whether or not any or all of them violate the civil rights of gun owners.

Other provisions in the gun control package include new record keeping requirements that the NRA says will drive every gun dealer out of the state, as well as a microstamping law that will likely put a stop to the sale of all new models of semi-automatic pistols going forward, given that no firearms manufacturer currently produces microstamped firearms. The microstamping requirement is just one of the nonsensical proposals that are getting a green light from anti-gun lawmakers despite the fact that studies have shown that the microstamping can be easily defeated, either by swapping out firing pins or by defacing the microstamp. And those are just the start of the fundamental flaws in the proposal, as one study conducted by microstamping advocates demonstrated.

Because the alpha-numeric codes are frequently illegible, the study attempted to use expensive Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) to read the corresponding gear codes also imprinted on fired cartridges. The gear codes are meant to contain the same information as the alphanumeric code. The study concluded that even with advanced technology, “a full gear code appears to be rare and dependent on the weapon that made the impression.”

… There is also the variety of ammunition to consider. Working with just a sample of ammunition available to the public, both of these studies found that the presence of a lacquer coating on the casing of one brand degraded the ability to transfer the identifier number. Not only did the use of SEM technology fail to solve the problems associated with microstamping, but the authors also note that few crime labs have the imaging technology at their disposal to begin with. And all of this effort would be in pursuit of a technology that is easily defeated in seconds by using common tools or by switching out the engraved firing pin for an unmarked, readily available spare firing pin.

Microstamping isn’t a crime-fighting tool. It’s a slow-motion gun ban, and for the Democrats looking to “do something” in Albany in the coming days, that’s not a bug but a feature.

Aug 18, 2022 5:30 PM ET