It’s usually easy to tell when a psychopath is making moves for higher office or trying to hold on to it. The signs to watch for are an appetite for publicity, vilifying a numerical minority while pandering to the tastes of the voting majority, making a show of outdoing your rivals and if in power, abusing your public office as a means to the end of personal ambition.
As one of the least freedom-friendly states in the Union, New York’s electorate rewards politicians who are explicitly anti-rights, and that’s especially true when it comes to New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights. Those politicians representing the deepest blue enclaves or running statewide can and do say that they hate the Second Amendment and think that gun ownership ought to be destroyed, while those in less blue enclaves won’t say that openly but will admit it in private. (Case in point: Tedra Cobb caught on video supporting assault weapons ban)
The state of the Second Amendment in New York is bad. New York City is a fiefdom unto itself with a total disregard for the right to keep and bear arms. Ownership of every type of firearm requires permitting and registration, a burden on lawful citizens that does absolutely nothing to deter crime. Concealed Carry is non-existent, and as one would expect from any system involving discretionary power, such as India’s “Permit Raj” during its socialist nadir, it is victim to corruption and third-world bribery. (See article: Ex-cop: NYPD gun license division was a bribery machine)
New York State outside-NYC is marginally better, but it depends on where you live within the state. Long guns don’t require permits or registration but New Yorkers are subject to an “assault weapons” ban, which means they can’t own semi-automatic long guns with any evil features. Concealed Carry in New York varies from de facto shall-issue to de facto no-issue, but merely owning a handgun entails a long process that includes four character references and a court hearing. To the best of my knowledge, someone moving to New York has no recourse to even provisionally bring a lawfully owned handgun from their state of origin.
If you think that the status quo can’t get any worse, think again. New York recently passed a law making an end-run around the PLCAA, trying to destroy the Second Amendment by bankrupting firearms manufacturers out of existence; more awful legislation is also in the works.
For someone with a law degree, Governor Andrew Cuomo (J.D., Albany Law School) ought to have known that this bill was wrong on several fronts; it blames the wrong party for crime, violates the federal supremacy clause by trying to supersede the PLCAA and regulate interstate commerce, and is an unconstitutional assault on an enumerated right. However, electoral pressures almost always override principles in politics, so Cuomo signed the bill into law anyway.
Cuomo has a deeply troubling personal and political history. He has been credibly accused of sexual harassment and is currently facing the prospect of impeachment. In the past, he has openly said that conservatives are not welcome in New York and ought to leave the state. (Many have done just that, taking their productivity and tax revenue with them.) Cuomo’s governance during the COVID-19 pandemic was among the worst in the country; his decision to send sick people back to nursing homes led to a massive death toll, and in yet another example of cronyism, Cuomo arranged special COVID-19 tests early on for his own family, the wealthy and politically-connected.
It is unsurprising that someone like Cuomo, who treats a subset of New Yorkers as a special upper caste, has disdain for the egalitarian nature of the Bill of Rights and its guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms to the unwashed masses.
Cuomo is obviously bad for freedom-loving New Yorkers, but his ostensible gubernatorial rival and nemesis is even worse. NY Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James, who I affectionately call Fash James, has all the trappings of an authoritarian goon.
When Tish James campaigned for Attorney General, she called the National Rifle Association a “terrorist organization.” The NRA, as most people in the Second Amendment community know, is under a legal cloud due to Wayne LaPierre’s extravagances and improprieties. However, Fash James’ jihad against the NRA is not aimed at cleaning out the board and thus helping the organization, but in completely dissolving it and redistributing its valuable assets to gun control groups.
Someone with James’ background ought to know better. Imagine if the NAACP in 1950s Alabama had a corrupt President who was siphoning off money, and the Alabama Attorney General called the NAACP a “terrorist organization” and promised to dissolve it using its leadership’s corruption as a pretext. (See real life case: NAACP v Alabama). Yet, in today’s world under a different set of circumstances, James is acting like a fascist, abusing the power of her office to squelch a right she finds unpalatable.
In a game of typical political intrigue, James has initiated investigations of Cuomo on all fronts: sexual harassment, COVID mishandling, his COVID “leadership” book, while egging on other bodies to investigate him when she can’t. Cuomo’s misdeeds brought him to the edge, and James is gladly giving him the classic Looney Tunes cartoon nudge to launch him off the cliff. James’ behavior isn’t one borne of moral rectitude; it just so happens that it will bring her tremendous political gain.
In a state like New York, the Democrat primary is often the de facto general election. I really hope the Republican Party has a competitive nominee, but the likelihood of the Democrat nominee winning the general election is very high, whoever it ends up being. Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe is great on the Second Amendment, and I happily voted for him in 2018. However, any man who takes off his political beer goggles can see reality in all of its ugliness. Brace yourself, fellow New Yorkers. We are in for a rough ride.