“I spent two years floating around the Mediterranean protecting us from the Communists. And when I get home, where do I find them? They’re here.” –NY Citizen in response to gun ban proposals
“When people get angry in response to things like this, they form militias.” -NY Citizen
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the NY SAFE Act, a gun restriction bill cracking down on a state that already has the toughest gun laws in the nation. The gun bill exploits the Newtown Connecticut shootings by enacting restrictions aimed at further disarming American citizens. The provisions (listed in full below) include things like mandating police registry of “assault weapons”, establishing a state registry for private sales and even criminalizing the unsafe storage of weapons in the home.
New York citizens attended a meeting in Erie, New York to protest the NY SAFE Act provisions. Reports from the meeting claim that citizens attempted to recite the Pledge of Allegiance but the state officials weren’t interested. The citizens then recited the pledge anyway and thus began a raucous town hall that had citizens demanding to know the penalties for non compliance with the burdensome regulations. State officials declined to offer any serious responses to the concerned citizens who were vigorously protesting the restrictions. The state reportedly attempted to have private interviews with the media in attendance which angered the crowd. The government then attempted to take questions privately which even further angered the crowd and aroused suspicious about the state officials true motives. The questions asked covered a wide variety of topics including: jury nullifications, police actions, the purpose of the 2nd amendment and the likelihood of domestic terrorism.
The response from NY citizens may seem out of the ordinary for a state known for compliance with the most burdensome system of taxation and regulation in the nation. A state by state economic freedom report concluded that New York was the least free in the nation. Couple that with the recent Pew Research poll that discovered that for the first time in American history, a majority of Americans now believe that the government is a threat to their personal rights and no wonder the citizens of New York are grumbling about forming the militias.
But citizens interested in forming community defense leagues face an enormous challenge. Americans failed to resist the PATRIOT Act (spying on citizens), the institutionalizing of the Department of Homeland Security (Fusion Centers) and the National Defense Authorization Act (suspension of the 6th amendment), the government now has all the tools it needs to destroy the operative capabilities of any sort of group that might provide resistance to unconstitutional government power grabs. The irony is that the conservative leaning citizens who might be the first ones to join a militia were most likely the same ones supporting the laws that could easily be used against themselves.
In related news, a West Point affiliated think tank issued a report recently warning of the danger of far right extremist groups titled “Challengers from the sidelines: Understanding America’s violent far right.” The report charges that the “far right represents a more extreme version of conservatism, as its political vision is usually justified by the aspiration to restore or preserve values and practices that are part of the idealized historical heritage of the nation or ethnic community.” And states that “liberal worldviews are future- or progressive-oriented, conservative perspectives are more past-oriented, and in general, are interested in preserving the status quo.” The report goes on to warn about an anti-federalist movement dedicated to the principles of “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government”.
There was only one other time in history when Americans felt threatened enough by their government to form militias and the result of that was the death of 600,000 people. Given most citizens compliance with bad laws on a regular basis it seems unlikely there would ever be another attempt at such resistance again. But watching the video below gives a spark of hope that Americans might still bear the seeds of resistance to tyranny. Thomas Jefferson, a proud Anti-Federalist, once stated, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” Do you agree?
The video from New York is below.
The NY SAFE Act imposes the following restrictions:
- Further restrict assault weapons to define them by a single feature, such as a pistol grip. Current law requires two features.
- Make the unsafe storage of assault weapons a misdemeanor.
- Mandate a police registry of assault weapons.
- Establish a state registry for all private sales, with a background check done through a licensed dealer for a fee, excluding sales to immediate relatives.
- Require a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally to report the threat to a mental health director who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient’s gun could be taken from him or her.
- Ban the Internet sale of assault weapons.
- Require stores that sell ammunition to register with the state, run background checks on buyers of bullets and keep an electronic database of bullet sales.
- Restrict ammunition magazines to seven bullets, from the current national standard of 10. Current owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. Someone caught with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.
- Require that stolen guns be reported within 24 hours. Otherwise, the owner would face a possible misdemeanor.
- Increase sentences for gun crimes including for taking a gun on school property.
- Increase penalties for shooting first responders, called the “Webster provision.” Two firefighters were killed when shot by a person who set a fire in the western New York town of Webster last month. The crime would be punishable by life in prison without parole.
- Limit the state records law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly. The provision would allow a handgun permit holder a means to maintain privacy under the Freedom of Information law.
- Require pistol permit holders or those who will be registered as owners of assault rifles to be recertified at least every five years to make sure they are still legally able to own the guns.