By Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski)
It is well known that New York state already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Nevertheless, each year the Assembly Democratic majority puts forth a legislative gun package which contains bills that would place additional burdens on legal New York gun owners. This legislative package is marketed as a way to make our communities and families safer. However, on close inspection and after vigorous debate, it becomes clear that if these bills are passed they would not accomplish their stated goal but rather simply further erode our second amendment rights.
One of the bills being considered (A.5696-D) would require that gun dealers only be permitted to hire employees who are either licensed to own a gun or would qualify for such ownership. The bill mandates expensive background checks and requires certification of eligibility for such employment. Why is this necessary and how will it make us safer? The billâ€™s sponsor does not say. No examples of employees absconding or misappropriating firearms are cited. Further, the sponsor fails to mention that employers are already liable for their employees under current law and therefore have strong incentive to appropriately screen their employees. At best, this legislation appears to be a solution looking for a problem.
Another bill being proposed (A.28820-B) requires law enforcement to send expended shell casings or guns which have come into their possession and are believed to have been used in the commission of a violent felony to the state police. Under the bill, the state police are then required to enter information relevant to the identification of the expended casing or gun into an electronic database. This seems like a reasonable piece of legislation, however, the sponsor fails to note that maintaining this database has costs $36 million over nine years. Further, it has not resulted in a single conviction. Accordingly, to expand the database would be a waste of taxpayer money and an additional burden on local law enforcement agencies without providing any significant benefit.
Other measures being proposed by the Majority include legislation that would: (i) broaden the definition of assault weapons; (ii) place additional and redundant reporting requirements on legal dealers of firearms; (iii) require unreasonably restrictive and cost prohibitive requirements for gun storage; and (iv) prohibit certain caliber weapons.
If the above legislation passes and becomes law, the benefits would be minimal at best. However, it will continue a trend in New York where laws are enacted that aim to limit gun ownership for law abiding men and women in New York state. It is for this reason I oppose most of the bills included in the Majorities anti-gun package. My colleagues in the Assembly majority need to realize that placing restrictions on law-abiding citizens is not the way to make our communities and families safer.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.