SAFE Act

Joseph Palumbo owns the Albion Gun Shop in Albion, New York.  New York State police gave him 24 hours to turn over all records of customers who have purchased a ‘bullet button’ AR-15 since New York’s SAFE Act became law in January 2013.

New York’s SAFE Act

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo,

“The SAFE Act stops criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, increases penalties for people who use illegal guns, mandates life in prison without parole for anyone who murders a first responder, and imposes the toughest assault weapons ban in the country. For hunters, sportsmen, and law abiding gun owners, this new law preserves and protects your right to buy, sell, keep or use your guns.”

But in reality, it places onerous firearm restrictions on law abiding citizens.  One such restriction is the inability to own a weapon with a magazine capacity greater than 10 rounds.

Larger than 10 round magazines must be sold out of state or turned in for destruction.  (Ownership of a larger than 10 round magazine is a crime under the SAFE Act.)  The SAFE Act also defines ‘assault’ weapon as one with a removable magazine.

AR-15 style weapons, the most popular semi-automatic rifle sold in America, has removable magazines with capacities from 10 rounds to over 100 rounds.

‘Bullet Button’ AR

A bullet button is a device used to permanently fix a magazine in a semiautomatic rifle that was originally built to accept a detachable magazine in order to comply with Gun laws in California. It replaces the magazine release with a block and the user needs to remove the magazine by using a tool.

The name came about due to a 1999 California State law which said that a “bullet or ammunition cartridge is considered a tool.”  For the time being, bullet button ARs can be legally sold in California.  However, there is proposed legislation to ban the sale of these weapons.

Albion Gun Shop

Shop owner Palumbo says he contacted police last year after the Safe Act became law, specifically asking if the California ‘bullet button’ rifle would be legal to sell.  Palumbo says he was told it should be ‘ok’, but police wouldn’t guarantee their answer until the issue was brought before a court for a decision.

Palumbo has been selling the ‘bullet button’ rifles after the SAFE Act became law.

The NY SAFE Act in addition to making semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines illegal, it also allows State Police to demand a gun shop disclose records anytime, without the need for a warrant.   Palumbo was given 24 hours to comply with the request he received last Thursday (Aug. 28).  On Friday he handed over approximately 170 customer records.

Palumbo was told the investigation was the result of an anonymous tip.  The NY SAFE ‘Tipline’ offers a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.  Citizen spying and telling on fellow citizens is one of the hallmarks of the SAFE Act.

After receiving Palumbo’s customer list, a NY state trooper called Palumbo requesting customer phone numbers as well.   Palumbo told the trooper he does not maintain phone numbers.  Palumbo said,

“They did not tell us anything else.  I have a lot of customers concerned that the cops are going to come kick their doors down or conduct warrantless searches. … It’s something I am worried about, it’s something my attorney is worried about, it’s something my customers are worried about.”

Wisely, Palumbo has retained the services of an attorney specializing in 2nd Amendment litigation.  The gun shop owner knows it will take more money than he has available to sue New York State.  He is hoping for a quick resolution, but is “more than prepared” to do what it takes to protect his customers and his business.  Palumbo noted,

“Obviously in New York, our state is totally screwed up.  You are constantly on eggshells — not even just with this incident. Every time you turn around and there’s a shooting, every time there’s a gun-related incident, you sit back and think, ‘Oh gosh, what are they going to ban next?’”

2nd Amendment

The Framers were brilliant men who had just fought a war of independence from a tyrannical and oppressive government.  Recognizing this, the framers included,

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The Framers did NOT intend for this citizen right to exist at the whim of a local police chief or sheriff, and certainly NOT to be removed by a governor’s signature.

Patrick Henry understood the need for free men to be armed as a requisite to remain free.  Henry  said,

“The great object is that every man be armed” and “everyone who is able may have a gun.

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress?

If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”

Liberty-seeking free men and women will be watching New York in the coming months as enforcement of New York’s SAFE Act begins.

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Thomas Cheever

Thomas Cheever is a U.S. Marine, enlisting in the reserves during college. After graduating with a B.S. of Engineering degree, he served in the U.S. Navy achieving the rank of Lt. Commander. An experienced pilot with an aviation background from single seat homebuilt race planes to U.S. Navy A-7s and F/A-18s. Mr. Cheever is a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) and president of Florida Technical, Inc., a consulting engineering business providing design services for clients throughout central and south Florida.

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