As we discussed in Part-1 of this series, most states are engaged in a struggle between political parties on the best way to curb violent crime in America. Many proposed laws target lawabiding citizens under the guise of “common sense gun laws.” While most of us theoreticallysupport laws that would stop crime, or keep unstable persons from gaining access to firearms, thelegislation that receives the most bias from the press and media are those that attack the rights oflaw abiding gun owners; such laws leaving the criminal to commit crimes unfettered. Rarely dothe media focus on legislative efforts that may actually have a positive effect on crime rates.
Among the best experts on this subject is John Lott, author of “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.” Mr. Lott teaches criminal deterrence, lawand economics, at the University of Chicago, where he is the John M. Olin Visiting Law andEconomics Fellow. He also has held positions at Stanford, UCLA, Rice, and the Wharton Schoolat the University of Pennsylvania. In his book, he examines the effects of gun control laws, including the Brady Bill. After an in-depth study on the subject, he has come to the conclusion that “shall issue laws,” which allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons, steadily decrease violent crime. He explains that this result makes sense because criminals are deterredby the risk of attacking an armed victim. As more citizens arm themselves, the danger tocriminals increases. Nowhere is this clearer than comparing the violent crime rates betweenWashington, D.C. and Virginia.
In my research, I have found that we have among our legislators on both the state and federal levels, educated officials who have come to the realization that many gun control laws do nothing to make America a safer place. It seems as society wakes up to reality more and morestates have enacted shall-issue laws in the past decade.
New York consistently gets bad reviews for its stand on gun control. New York will not allowreciprocity with other states. It will not approve a CCW permit for non-residents and only understrict circumstances (competition or training) will allow a non-resident to remain in the statewith his/her gun. New York is a “discretionary issue” state which allows the licensing officercomplete control over who may and may not receive a CCW permit. Although most applicants will be awarded a CCW permit there are generally restrictions placed on the carrying of such, rendering them all but useless for personal protection.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the legislation currently proposed in New York that addresses the root problem through criminal control as opposed to enacting more gun control laws. The majority of these laws are proposed by Republican lawmakers in both the state assembly and senate.
ASSEMBLY BILL NO A01907
SPONSOR: Joseph Giglio (Rep)
CO-SPONSOR: Burling, Kolb, Barclay
LAWS AFFECTED: Adds §470 to the Real Property Tax Law
Grants a $100,000 real property tax exemption to conservation clubs and rod and gun clubs owning land acquired prior to January 1, 2011, having an assessed value of $500,000 or less.
CURRENT STATUS: 01/12/2011 Referred to Real Property Taxation
AUTHOR COMMENTS: This is a very important piece of legislation for all sportsmen. According to the Tax Foundation, New York has the fifth highest property tax in the country. The burden has become so high on homeowners and business owners alike that it is causing a mass exodus to lower tax states. This bill will provide relief to sports and conservation clubs which may be the difference between survival and closure.
ASSEMBLY BILL NO A02827
SPONSOR: Nancy Calhoun (Rep)
LAWS AFFECTED: Amends §10.00 & §30.00, NYS Penal Law, Amends §1.20 & §190.71, Criminal Procedure Law
This legislation allows a juvenile offender accused of criminal possession of a weapon(offenses), reckless manslaughter and attempts to commit certain felonies to be tried as an adult;changes the definition of “juvenile offender” to include criminal possession of a loaded firearm, machine gun or explosive, reckless manslaughter, and attempts to commit certain serious felonies.
CURRENT STATUS: 01/20/2011 referred to codes
AUTHOR COMMENTS: Ms. Calhoun has long been an advocate of criminal control, opposing gun control. This important legislation improves public safety by allowing longer sentences for juvenile offenders who commit violent crimes. Presently juvenile offenders can be tried in family court where sentences are lower than that of adults. An example of the importance of this legislation can be found in an incident in October 2006 in Newburgh, NY where police officers returned fire from a 23-year-old suspect, killing him. That suspect was on parole for the execution-style killing of another man over a drug deal when he was 17-years-old. Had this legislation been in place in 2006 the incident would never have occurred and those brave officers would not have to live with the burden of having killed a young man.
ASSEMBLY BILL NO A02869
SPONSOR: Nancy Calhoun (Rep)
MLTSPNSR: Conte, Curran, Finch, Kolb, Miller J, Oaks, Tedisco
LAWS AFFECTED: Amends §265.08 & §70.02, Repeals §265.09, NYS Penal Law; Amends§509-CC, Vehicle & Traffic Law; Amends §410 General Business Law
This legislation provides that the illegal possession of a deadly weapon which is loaded and capable of producing death or other serious physical injury or the display of a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearms during the commission of a crime is a class A-II felony; repeals related provisions.
CURRENT STATUS: 01/20/2011 Referred to Codes
AUTHOR COMMENTS: Once again Assemblywoman Calhoun demonstrates her intolerance to the illegal possession of a weapon and the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime. This legislation would increase the sentence for illegal possession of a weapon from a “C” felony to an “A” felony, providing a mandatory 3-8 year sentence. In cases where a firearm is used in the commission of a crime, the law would be repealed, changing the sentence from a “B” felony to an “A” felony.
ASSEMBLY BILL NO A05832
SPONSOR: Brian Kavanagh (Dem)
LAWS AFFECTED: Amends §606, Tax Law
This legislation provides a 25% tax credit against personal income taxes for the purchase of gun safety equipment up to $500.
CURRENT STATUS: 03/02/2011 Referred to Ways and Means
AUTHOR COMMENTS: This legislation is a refreshing attempt at getting people to properly secure their guns. Instead of enacting legislation making it a crime to leave a gun unsecured it instead provides an incentive in the form of a tax break on personal income taxes. Such an action will help many people who would otherwise not be able to afford a decent safe. Although this legislation is based in safety, we all feel better knowing our guns are secured from burglars. I applaud Assemblyman Kavanagh’s approach.
ASSEMBLY BILL NO A05899
SPONSOR: Brian Kavanagh (Dem)
CO-SPONSOR: Aubry, Camara, Paulin, Peoples-Stokes, Pheffer, Robinson, Wright
MLTSPNSR: Gottfried, McDonough, McEneny, Meng, Towns, Weisenberg
LAWS AFFECTED: Adds §3204-a, to NYS Education Law
Provides for a gun violence prevention program in public schools; provides that the program is to be developed by the department of education in conjunction with other state agencies and educational organizations and is to be made available to schools for use in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade; provides for a report to the governor and the legislature on the program;enacts the “gun violence prevention act.”
CURRENT STATUS: 03/02/2011 Referred to Education
AUTHOR COMMENTS: Educating children on the subject of guns has always been a good idea as it provides an understanding of the historic role of guns in the shaping of America and framing of our government. Like any tool, there are inherent risks associated with their use.
Once a common practice, firearm safety education programs fell to the wayside as liberal attitudes dominated our school system. Most children now learn about firearms from the inaccuracy of movies and television programs. And unfortunately, many more are learning about firearms on the streets where a gun has become a badge of courage. However, curriculums such as “NRA Eddie Eagle” are making a comeback. Over the past month, the students of HarmonyElementary School in Cushing, Oklahoma have been learning about the proper safety procedures and actions they should take if they see a gun. In 2010 the Virginia General Assembly approved a version of House Bill 1217, which allows local school boards to offer gun safety programs in elementary schools so long as they reinforce the policies of the NRA program—namely, EddieEagle’s mantra of “Stop! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.” Let’s face it; the EddieEagle program will save lives. We should all contact our elected officials and inform them of our support.
ASSEMBLY BILL NO: A06630
LAWS AFFECTED: Adds Article 161; §161.00 – §161.15, amends §70.02, Penal Law
Establishes the crimes of carjacking in first, second and third degrees, as the stealing of a motor vehicle from a person or presence of another person through the use or threatened use of force;increases penalties for causing injury to such victim, displaying a real or fake gun or using such a weapon; provides that all carjacking is a violent felony offense.
CURRENT STATUS: 03/23/2011 Referred to Codes
AUTHOR COMMENTS: This legislation defines all car-jacking as a violent felony offense and increases the sentence for such when a weapon is used or threatened or the victim is injured.
SENATE BILL NO S02282
LAWS AFFECTED: Adds §265.45, §265.50, §265.55 & §70.16, amends §70.25, Penal Law; amends §220.10, Criminal Procedure Law
Increases penalties for offenses involving the criminal possession of a firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun; restricts the ability to plea bargain to lesser offenses and provides for mandatory minimum sentences of imprisonment for violations appertaining thereto.
CURRENT STATUS: 01/18/2011 Referred to Codes
AUTHOR COMMENTS: Presently, those in possession of an illegal weapon view the sentence as a badge of courage. This legislation increases the sentence for such crimes making it less desirable to face charges of criminal possession of a weapon.
SENATE BILL NO S04536
LAWS AFFECTED: Adds §265.45, §265.18, §265.19 & §265.27, amends §60.05 & §80.00, Penal Law; amends §661, Education Law
Enacts the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act; creates offenses of illegal gun trafficking, criminal possession of a weapon by a minor, criminal use of a weapon by a minor, and lost or stolen firearm to be reported; also amends penalties and eligibility for tuition awards by students on probation or parole for weapons convictions.
CURRENT STATUS: 04/11/2011 Referred to Codes
AUTHOR COMMENTS: The most important provision of this legislation targets the criminal possession of a weapon by a minor. It allows minors to be tried as adults and adversely affects the ability of a student to obtain tuition assistance in the form of grants by any minor found to illegal possess a weapon. Use a gun in a crime? Forget student grants and loans.