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Posted: 9/30/2004 9:02:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/30/2004 9:12:57 PM EDT by sharky30]
I'm working on a letter to send to multiple NY legislators urging the repeal of the NY AWB now that the federal one is gone. I'm going to post what I have so far and will update as I change it. Please critique it and add to it as you see fit. Anything I post is intended to be used by anyone who reads this, either directly copy it or rewrite it in your own style. I don't care as long as the legislators in this state get slammed with requests to repeal the worthless law. Hopefully anyone else that contributes will have the same policy on using their material.

I am writing to share my opinion on gun control in New York, specifically New York’s version of the “assault weapon” ban. This letter will be fairly long in length so I will summarize my point in case you do not have time to read the full letter. The main point of this letter, which I will expand upon in the following paragraphs, is to ask for you to consider proposing a bill or supporting a bill proposed by another member of the Assembly that will repeal New York’s ban on so called “assault weapons.”

As you are probably aware, the federal ban on “assault weapons” expired on September 13th of this year. The guns covered under this law were used in a very small percentage of crimes before the ban. About 1-8% of gun crimes according to a paper by the National Institute of Justice (1). The ban also had a negligible effect on crime during the ten years it was in effect. In addition the law mainly banned cosmetic and not functional features, features that I will go into more detail about later. New York’s law bans the same guns and features as the federal law but does not expire. Since the federal law was not very effective in controlling crime, and is now no longer law, I feel that the New York law should also no longer be law. In addition this law only punishes law abiding citizens and does not effect criminals who by definition do not obey the law, another reason why its repeal would be good for NY.

Further crime statistics can be found here, http://www.awbansunset.com/crime.html, which summarized points from a paper written by David B. Kopel. Of the statistics listed on that page the ones for NY are most appropriate for this topic, and I included the national statistics.
* New York City. Of 12,138 crime guns seized by New York City police in 1988, eighty were "assault-type" firearms.
* New York State. Semiautomatic "assault rifles" were used in twenty of the 2,394 murders in New York State in 1992.
* National statistics. Less than four percent of all homicides in the United States involve any type of rifle. No more than .8% of homicides are perpetrated with rifles using military calibers. (And not all rifles using such calibers are usually considered "assault weapons.") Overall, the number of persons killed with rifles of any type in 1990 was lower than the number in any year in the 1980s.
As can be seen, so called assault weapons made up a very small percentage of the guns used in crimes.

The definitions NY uses for assault weapons can be found in Article 265, Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons, specifically parts 22 and 23 of 265.0 (2). With few exceptions these definitions regular cosmetic features which do nothing to make the guns either more or less dangerous. Here is a list of some of the features, and what they can be used for.
Bayonet lug: for attaching a bayonet. I’ve never heard of a crime involving the bayonet on a gun.
Flash suppressor: keeps the shooter from having their night visions affected by the muzzle flash, doesn't do much to keep people on the other side of the gun from spotting the muzzle flash.
Threaded barrel: for attaching a flash suppressor. Also allows a sound suppressor, also called a silencer even though they don't completely silence a gun. Silencers are regulated by the NFA of 1934, which means that if you pass an intensive federal background check, get local police to sign off on it and pay a $200 tax for a tax stamp you can then pay the price of the suppressor. Although in NY silencers are illegal even if a person is able to pass the federal requirements.
Telescoping stock: can make the gun a little shorter, but not that much. Can be a good feature to make the gun more comfortable to use for people with a shorter reach. The gun would still have to be at least 26 inches in length and have a barrel 16 inches in length per existing federal laws. Same length requirements apply for a gun with a folding stock.

Many of the people that support this ban say these guns have no sporting uses. While I don’t think ownership of any gun needs to be justified, just as I wouldn’t ask someone to justify owning a Porsche when the speed limit is 65mph, I will list some of the sporting uses these guns have. People use these rifles for target shooting. In fact every year there is a service rifle match at Camp Perry in Ohio. Many people, including young teenagers, at that and similar events at other locations use AR15 or M1A rifles. Both of those rifles can be equipped with features that would make them illegal under NY law. People also hunt with these guns. Varmints up through big game like deer and bear can be safely and successfully hunted with these rifles. They might look different than a traditional hunting rifle, but they are no more or less dangerous.

This law is ineffective and unneeded. It restricts the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens while having negligible effects on crime or criminals. It is more likely to make a criminal out of an otherwise law abiding citizen than it is to stop a crime. Please help repeal this law. Thank you for your time.

1) http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/173405.pdf
2) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/nycodes/c82/a68.html

Link Posted: 10/1/2004 4:41:05 AM EDT
I applaud your effort but frankly I do not think it is going to work. After all, we have had the Sullivan Law on the books for 100 years now and no one has been able to get that repealed or modified into "Shall Issue" in under six months (on the other hand, New York was one of the first states in the nation to actually allow concealed carry for its citizens). And here in Nassau County a pistol license now costs $200 every five years. I think only way we will ever get anywhere, if at all, is through the courts assuming we get a favorable second amendment ruling from SCOTUS.

The scary thing is I am afraid the legislature may go back and revisit all of this in terms of strengthening it. With groups like the VPC admitting the Federal law was not really effective and had too many loopholes I suspect they may decide to fix it since the New York law is just as "flawed" as the Federal law was. I am sure many lawmakers would love to adopt the California law with even tougher privisions.

I am worried that Tom Suozzi's "Fix Albany" program, which I do support, may have the perverse side effect of getting us even more restrictions since the goal is to get the legislature working again and, over the last three years, the Assembly has not been able to get any firearms bills passed by the Senate. By streamlining the decision making process and having several key Senators replaced, we may wind up with alot of new crazy laws on the books in the not too distant future. The alternative though is more and more unfunded mandates that drive local governments out of business.

Does anyone from New York recall back in June 2000 what was staring us in the face? The Assembly had already passed a draconian bill that called for licensing, registration, and off-site storage. The Governor wanted an AW bill to pass as part of his 2000 crime package, and all of this was pre-9/11 in which "terrorism" was not being used to justify tighter controls! Many existing arms were to be surrendered to the police and a new "Compliance Bureau" was to be setup within the State Police. It was worse, IMHO, than what California currently has on the books. Senator Marcellino from my district authored the replacement by copying the Federal law. It would have been nice had he included the sunset but it was still better than the alternative. Luckily the Assembly was willing to cut their losses and went along with it.
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 7:30:56 AM EDT
I agree that the legislature strengthening the law is a risk, but at the same time I feel I need to do something to voice my opinion to those asshats. well they're not all asshats, but most are
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 1:04:52 PM EDT
any other thoughts on this?
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 5:47:48 PM EDT
Sounds good man, can yas get the no rifle hunting ban in the Southern Tier changed too while your at it ?

but in all reality I really hope the laws get change.. it would be nice. As of now my goal is to pick up some PreBan (bah) black rifles so at least I have them before the laws can possibly take a turn for the worse.. ;/


Link Posted: 10/7/2004 6:06:10 PM EDT
there's a bill currently in review to extend rifle hunting to the southern tier. I was hoping it'd get pased by now but it hasn't
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