Under the New York State’s SAFE Act, assault weapons need to be registered with the police by Tuesday, April 15. The law forbids selling or purchasing assault weapons in New York State, or to bring those weapons into the state. Those who already own assault weapons, including the popular AR-15s, need to register them by next Tuesday.
According to Bearing Arms website, there are an estimated 1 million assault weapons in the state. The State Police, because of a provision in the SAFE Act, can not share the number of firearms that have been registered. Bearing Arms, based on a rumored New York State Police “leak”, reported that “compliance might be as low as just 3,000-5,000 firearms have been registered.”
If that is true a lot of law-abiding citizens will be come law-breaking citizens on April 16. According to the SAFE Act, not registering an assault weapon by the deadline is punishable as a misdemeanor, and forfeiture of the weapon. Another law defines possession of a knowingly unregistered gun as a low-level felony, which carries an up to four years in prison.
There have been many reasons given for the refusal to register their assault weapons. Most of the anti-SAFE Act demonstrators cite the “fact” (opinion) that the SAFE Act is unconstitutional. That has been reinforced by candidates from local district attorneys to state representatives to federal congressional candidates. Many believe the government will take their guns away if they are registered. Some even believe a “registry of assault weapons… (is) going to make New York less safe if Canada decides to invade.” The State Police have been registering weapons for more than 80 years.
On Monday, our congressman, Rep. Tom Reed, who has attended many gun-rights rallies and receives campaign donations from the NRA, had the following advice for assault weapons owners:
“Fundamentally it is the law, and I would encourage people to respect that law. At the same time, I understand that this is an infringement upon our constitutional freedoms, and I would encourage people to make that determination (themselves).”
Which is it, Rep. Reed? Do you encourage them to respect the law, or not? Many of your constituents need to know. You can’t have it both ways. It is time to take a stand.