An upstate New York lawmaker comdemned Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo new program to reward informers helping him enforce the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 his landmark restriction of gun rights.
“What was initially designed to be a tip line for citizens to call in suspected criminals in hot pursuit in six urban areas that showed a spike in crime has morphed into an old German Stasi – snitch line,” said Assemblyman William R. Nojay (R – Pittsford).
The freshman said the governor sent out a letter addressed to the chiefs of police calling for a program that rewards and encourages citizens to report so-called illegal firearm possession, he said. “This type of network targets ordinary citizens not engaged in violent crimes without protection from unreasonable search and seizure by agents of government.”
He said that the governor has taken the concept of a tip line to an absurd extreme.
“I envision SWAT teams descending upon innocent people,” he said.
“Rat out your neighbor, rat out your co-worker, rat out the parents at your child’s school and receive a $500 cash payment for any call leading to an arrest or conviction,” said Nojay, an attorney and radio talk show host.
The original informant initiative was never used or promoted,” he said.
“The governor is now using that executive action, which is a year old, as an enforcement mechanism because the S.A.F.E. act is unenforceable,” he said.
Stasi was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic, the old East Germany, and was one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies in the world.
Nojay said because Cuomo and his allies rushed the bill through the legislature, it was never vetted properly.
“The New York SAFE Act was poorly conceived and poorly drafted,” said Nojay.
“This law will fall under its own weight,” he said.
“Our district attorneys will not prosecute; our juries will not convict; our sheriffs will not comply; and our citizens will not obey this law,” he said.
The new law has resulted in various protests, lawsuits against the state, and resolutions by municipalities complaining that the gun control law is unconstitutional, he said.
Paul Gullo, a 15-year veteran police officer from Monroe County, now a political consultant and radio talk show host, said “The New York Sheriff’s Association overwhelmingly does not support the SAFE Act.”
The police chiefs work at the pleasure of the governor, he said. “The superintendent of the state police is appointed by the governor, and therefore the state police are the only arm of law enforcement that must enforce the SAFE Act.”
Gullo said, “Since the state’s sheriffs are elected positions, they work for the People, and the consensus is that they are not comfortable with a law that they believe is unconstitutional.”
He said that until the various court cases challenging the law are settled, most law enforcement will not enforce the S.A.F.E. act.
Nojay said the governor does not want to be embarrassed by a state population that will be less than 10 percent compliant.
“The governor will have the largest act of civil disobedience since the civil rights movement of the 1960s on his hands,” he said. “The gun tip line is a way for the governor to preemptively criminalize individuals en masse, citizen by citizen.”