By Rick Fuller
Perhaps the most widely discussed and debated law in the history of New York State, the NY SAFE Act, was enacted by a large bipartisan vote of the State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013. It has been a hot button topic by gun owners and activists since that time.
Personally, I am more concerned about my taxes, family health care and quality education for my children.
But now, after five years, handgun owners are “up in arms” again over the fact that they have to recertify that they are entitled, under law, to possess a handgun.
Recently newspapers, radio and television news have been awash with reports reminding gun owners of their obligation to comply with state law. The TV news accompanied of course with the obligatory footage of guns and weapons firing; county clerks are holding seminars.
I visited the state’s website set up for just this purpose (safeact.ny.gov) and registered my handgun more than a year ago; it took all of 5 minutes and I am now fully compliant.
This fact only demonstrates the point that too many gun owners don’t know, don’t care or choose not to know the law (remember, it’s been 5 years).
In their view, any gun safety legislation is wrong (the camel’s nose in the tent of gun confiscation). Perhaps SCOPE and like-minded gun organizations should have discussed this matter at their regular or special meetings to share the information. We know gun owners talk – I’ve visited the websites.
The reality of the need to recertify is to ensure that a legal gun owner has not run afoul of the law since receiving his/her most recent pistol permit.
If, in the interim, a handgun owner has been convicted of a felony or of domestic violence (perhaps assaulting a spouse or child); was involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility; has been dishonorably discharged from the military; is a fugitive from justice or is an unlawful alien or one who renounced American citizenship, the recertification will not be allowed.
At the time of recertification the gun owner is required by statute merely to affirm that he/she is not prohibited from possessing a firearm. The applicant will then be subject to a federal background check.
By the way, I am a gun owner – handgun and long gun – but I am fed up with the widespread devastation caused by wanton gun violence and the mindless fealty to the NRA and its affiliates’ spin that all gun laws are unconstitutional and will lead to gun confiscation.
There are 300 million guns in our country – do the math. That is why I joined New Yorkers Against Gun Violence to fight back and to provide a voice for those of us, gun owner or not, who see the need to protect the next generation from this one.
Rick Fuller, a member of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, lives in West Seneca.