Sunday, January 22, 2012

NY Gun Law Triggers Confusion-CNN

There have been three fairly high profile cases where out of state folks have been arrested for pistol possession in NY.  Mark Meckler (who probably should have been protected under FOPA) attempted to declare and legally check a pistol into his luggage for a flight while Meredith Graves and Ryan Jerome both attempted to check what they believed to be legally possessed pistols at NYC tourist attractions.

It's nice to see the laws in NY getting some almost even handed scrutiny (CNN tracked down Richard Aborn but couldn't find Tom King or Jacob Reiper?), but this article does not even scratch the surface.

For example, according to NY criminal law,

 "Firearm" means (a) any pistol or revolver; or (b) a shotgun having
  one or more barrels less than eighteen inches in length; or (c) a  rifle
  having  one  or  more barrels less than sixteen inches in length; or (d)
  any  weapon  made  from  a  shotgun  or  rifle  whether  by  alteration,
  modification,  or  otherwise  if  such  weapon  as altered, modified, or
  otherwise has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches;  or  (e)
  an assault weapon. 

So in other words, the firearms that are far and away most common in the state of NY-shotguns of "proper" length and rifles lacking the cosmetic features to make them "assault weapons" do not actually meet the statutory definition of "firearms".

Our definition of "Loaded" is equally batty.  If you have in your possession everything you need to make your gun go bang (cartridges,magazine or clip as appropriate, powder/cap/ball etc) even if they are in separate bags, your gun is considered "loaded"  See item 15 in the above link.

From the CNN article  "Erin M. Duggan, director of communications for the district attorney's office...added, "New York state has enacted rational gun laws for one very simple reason: to protect everyone visiting, living, or working in New York."

Check your history, Ms Duggan.  The law under which these people are being persecuted was passed in 1911 under the direction of "Big Tim" Sullivan, and it was passed to protect Tammany Hall thugs from the immigrants they were shaking down.  It was not passed to protect anyone else.

"For example, the 1911 Sullivan Laws were passed to keep guns out of the hands of immigrants (chiefly Italians--in the first three years of the Sullivan Laws, roughly 70 percent of those arrested had Italian surnames). Why single out foreigners? The answer can perhaps be found in the popular press of the time. The New York Tribune, for example, grumbled about pistols found "chiefly in the pockets of ignorant and quarrelsome immigrants of law-breaking propensities," and the New York Times pointed out the affinity of "low-browed foreigners" for handguns."

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