With the state’s finest thinkers back in Albany for the start of another legislative session – and Democrats controlling all three centers of power – it’s a safe bet that more talk about guns can’t be far off.
In fact, Gov. Andrew Cuomo already has started the assault on weapons with talk of efforts to prevent New Yorkers from having parts shipped directly to them to construct untraceable "ghost guns." While that sounds rational, debate over the finer points is sure to follow as state officials pick up where they left off last year. Other measures floating around the political ether would do everything from banning gun shows in state-owned buildings and letting cops snoop into the social media history of those seeking pistol permits, to banning most gun raffles, even though raffle winners have to pass the same background check as any other gun buyer.
What you won’t hear is talk of anything like letting trained teachers arm themselves if they want to, or reciprocity arrangements that would have New York recognize pistol permits granted elsewhere, and vice versa, so no one would have to disarm to vacation across state lines.
With extremists on both sides and the rhetoric often reaching a boiling point over highly-technical definitions and provisions, it’s time to step back and put all of this in perspective by reminding ourselves of some fundamental realities of modern-day life when it comes to crime and self-defense.
Since most gun control measures are couched as "common sense" proposals, it’s time to take the New York State Common Sense Gun Quiz:
Question 1:. You hear the glass break and the intruder making his way up the stairs to the second-floor bedrooms where your spouse and children are still asleep. Your first move is to call 911 because your home is a gun-free zone. The armed invader, hearing you on the phone, most likely will:
a. Wait for the police to show up, to ensure that it’s a fair fight.
b. Hand you his spare gun and wait for you to draw first.
c. Kill you and your family because you are your own first defender, and you’ve chosen to be defenseless.
Question 2: No civilian needs an "assault rifle" because it is a "weapon of war." When the above-mentioned criminal breaks in, his intent regarding your family is to declare:
a. A sit-in.
b. An intervention.
Question 3: Deer-crossing signs are effective because bucks and does read them and know where to safely cross the highway. Similarly, gun-free school zone signs are effective – or not – because:
a. Law-abiding criminals read them and decide to go elsewhere.
b. Law-abiding criminals read them and leave their guns outside before storming in.
c. Law-breaking criminals read them and salivate over the soft target.
Question 4: You’re a teacher trying to keep your students quiet while hiding in the broom closet. Suddenly the gunman who breached your school’s security measures yanks open the closet door. With your students’ lives on the line, you want to be armed with:
b. Arts and crafts scissors and a package of crayons.
c. The biggest gun you can handle.
Question 5: Depending on the final wording, the proposal to ban gun raffles will hurt:
a. Sports and conservation organizations that use the raffles as major fundraisers.
b. Volunteer fire companies that use the raffles to buy new equipment.
c. Hardened criminals, who buy raffle tickets to get their guns.
Question 6: When New York State pistol permit holders get hit by the SAFE Act’s requirement that they recertify every five years whether, in the words of the State Police, "you receive a notification letter or not," state officials most likely will:
a. Send a reminder anyway, like when it’s time to pay up for a renewed car registration.
b. Send a reminder to make sure you know who’s responsible, like when when tax rebate checks go out before Election Day.
c. Do nothing and hope that you forget, so they can label you a "criminal" and confiscate your gun.
Depending on how you did on the quiz, you could be someone who truly has common sense – or you could be a New York State official.