POLITICAL ACTION

Chairman – Jim Griesemer

Contact Jim at: jgriesemer@hvc.rr.com

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Political Action Report for February 2019

The Democrat-controlled New York legislature passed a package of bills aimed at making the state’s already tough gun laws even stricter, including a measure barring teachers from carrying firearms in schools.

The latest round of gun control legislation comes in the first month of Cuomo’s third term. Cuomo called the new legislation “a big step forward” for commonsense gun control.

A supporter of gun rights called the legislature’s bills “disingenouous” and said they would only hurt people who adhere to current firearms laws.

“It’s a violation of their Second Amendment rights and these are lawful gun owners who are not committing the crimes,” said Tom King, President of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and a National Rifle Association board member. The association, along with three New York City residents, recently filed against the city’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits.

One piece of legislation state lawmakers makes it illegal to sell or manufacture bump stocks, devices that can increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic weapons. Such a device was used by the gunman who opened fire from a Las Vegas hotel room in 2017, killing 58 people at a country music concert and wounding hundreds of others.

Another bill prohibits anyone other than a law enforcement officer, school resource officer, or other security personnel from carrying a firearm while on school property. Under previous state law, districts could decide whether to allow teachers and other school employees to carry guns in school.

The package of bills included measures to create a municipal gun buyback program and to extend the waiting period from three days to 30 days after an inconclusive background check before a gun can be purchased.

There’s also legislation that authorizes law enforcement, parents, teachers, and school administrators to ask a judge to evaluate a child they believe is a threat to themselves or others. The judge can then order the confiscation of firearms in the child’s home. That measure is known in Albany as a “red flag” bill.

Legislators say they could pass more gun control bills in the future. For example, they opted not to pass a bill that would have banned 3D printed guns or another piece of legislation that would require safe storage of firearms. In addition, a statewide ammunition database, passed as part of the Safe Act six years ago, was never actually created.

The latest survey of sportsmen and women shows a slight decline in the number of hunters and a steady number of anglers. There are slightly more than 53 million Americans who call themselves sportsmen or women and they spent more than $93.5 billion in 2016 on related gear. If hunting, fishing and target shooting were a corporation, it would rank number 25 on the Fortune 500 list. Such spending supports 1.6 million jobs and provides $72 billion in wages and salaries, and $20 billion in local, state and federal taxes.