In delivering his final "State of the State" address at the opening of the New York State General Assembly on Wednesday, Governor George Pataki (R) showed his presidential aspirations by talking of tax cuts and traditional GOP environmental policies instead of one of his old favorites -- gun control. Unlike in the past, we do not expect Governor Pataki to press for gun control initiatives of his own, but it will be anyone's guess as to what he would do if the legislature sent anti-gun measures to his desk.
In response to Pataki's address, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-64) made attacking firearm retailers and law-abiding gun owners his number one legislative priority for 2006. Still stung by his failure to get anti-gun proposals included with illegal gun trafficking and crimes against law enforcement officers during the Governor's special session, Silver introduced two anti-gun measures yesterday.
A 9280 imposes criminal penalties and legal liability on licensed firearm dealers for any criminal activity that occurs after the retailer has sold the firearm to a qualified buyer. This bill would further require that the retailer obtain exorbitant insurance policies to pay for the actions of these criminals. Also, retailers would need to place all firearms in fireproof safes or vaults during non-business hours. Make no mistake, this bill is designed to force thousands of firearm retailers out of business and to make firearms unavailable to law-abiding citizens!
Also introduced was A 2466A, which seeks to drastically expand the state's ban on so-called "assault weapons" by adding pump action rifles and reduce the number of allowed features from two to zero. Additionally, the bill would give the State Police broad authority to designate additional firearms to be outlawed. Under the bill, those who wish to keep "banned" firearms lawfully possessed prior to January 1, 2007, must register them and have them tested for entry into the state's failed ballistic imaging program. Many of the guns affected by this bill are widely used in competitions and hunting.
We anticipate swift action on these measures in the Assembly and also expect more anti-gun bills to come from the Democrat led Assembly. It is critical that you contact your lawmakers today and urge them to oppose A 9280 and A 2466A! Assembly members can be reached at (518) 455-4100, and State Senators can be reached at (518) 455-2800. We will keep you posted on other legislation as it is introduced.