New York Won't Reveal How Few Residents Have Complied With New Gun Registration Rules

Governor Andrew CuomoPat ArnowI'd bet good money that New York is experiencing the same low compliance with its new gun registration law as Connecticut. But that's a bet you can't take unless you have insider information. While Nutmeg State officials publicly lament the slow trickle of registration forms, New York officials refuse to reveal their numbers at all. To keep their secrets, Governor Andrew Cuomo's troopers rely on an odd legal interpretation, with which even the state official who oversees government transparency strongly disagrees. Given the unbroken history of failure demonstrated by firearms registration schemes, and the organized campaign of resistance in that state, that's almost certainly because New Yorkers are defying the law.

Journalists and gun rights advocates alike have been spurned in their efforts to get the state police to disclose registration figures. Official letters refusing requests all cite a provision of the SAFE Act that reads:

RECORDS ASSEMBLED OR COLLECTED FOR PURPOSES OF INCLUSION IN THE DATABASE CREATED PURSUANT TO SECTION 400.02 OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE PURSUANT TO ARTICLE SIX OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW.

But that provision would seem to ban the disclosure of personal information about registrants and license holders, such as names, addresses and specifics about guns owned. That's a sensitive issue in the state after the Journal News, a New York newspaper, published just such information, leading to burglaries and public controversy. The SAFE Act was written and passed after that incident, when concerns over public disclosure were especially high.

Even official legal guidance (PDF) prepared for the state police emphasizes the privacy of individual records, saying:

The Act was intended to enhance public safety by:

...

Exempting records relating to the Act from public disclosure and providing all permit holders and applicants with an opportunity to ensure that any county records relating to their individual permit or application will also be exempt from the NY State FOIL provisions.

That's certainly the interpretation of Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government. He told the Democrat & Chronicle, "If we're talking about statistics only, not the actual records that were assembled or collected, in my opinion they're public. I don't know why they would be reluctant."

Well...Let's take a wild guess at why the state might be reluctant to release registration numbers. New York gun owners vowed to defy Governor Andrew Cuomo's pet law. Many county sheriffs in the state say they won't enforce it. Some county governments not only call for the law's repeal, but refuse to even let their official seals be associated with its implementation.

Could it be that compliance is...less than impressive?

Given the widespread opposition to the new gun restrictions, it would be shocking if New York ever managed the 10-percent-or-(much) less compliance-rate that California officials experienced when they required registration of "assault weapons." California promptly confiscated some of the rifles registered under the law, making gun owners even more skittish now than they were then.

C'mon, New York. Fess up! There are tumbleweeds rolling through your databases, aren't there?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • sarcasmic||

    So the law is having it's intended effect: It's turned gun owners into criminals.

    Now when one of these criminal gun owners uses their gun to protect themselves or their property, they gun owner will reveal themselves for the felon that they are!

    Now if a government employee finds out that a citizen owns a gun, say Johnny talks about Daddy's collection in public school or a code enforcer notices a gun safe, then the troopers can get a search warrant and go shoot some dogs!

  • ||

    I liked it better when you were being sarcastic.

  • ||

    Compliance with New York's gun laws before the new ones was already low (just like in CT), especially upstate. Compliance with something as retarded as "you can only put 7 rounds in a 10 round magazine" will be even lower. And if the county sheriffs are rebelling against it...you can forget about compliance. What's Cuomo going to do, set the state police against the sheriffs?

    The one good thing about power-hungry scum is that they always overreach. We're seeing a lot of that lately, and it is good to see.

  • WTF||

    Scum is too nice of a word for that fuckstain Cuomo.

  • JW||

    It seems to run in the NY Governor's position.

    Serious question, when was the last time that NY had a governor who wasn't a corrupt, power-hungry dickhead?

    True, many states can make that claim, buy NY seesm to have raised it to high art.

  • JD the elder||

    It's called "the Empire State" because our politicians think they're emperors.

  • creech||

    Two things you can count on:
    Politicans touting that they passed tough new gun laws to keep hands out of those who would harm our children, and
    criminals paying absolutely no attention to said laws.

  • ||

    Well, you can also count on most people paying absolutely no attention to said laws. Which makes them criminals! Just like sarcasmic said! Cuomo's plan worked!

    Seriously, though, the county sheriffs telling him to go fuck himself is huge. New York is a very county-based state and the counties have a lot of autonomy. Cuomo is looking mighty stupid here, which is great.

  • sarcasmic||

    What's so great about him looking stupid? Will it get the law repealed or result in him losing an election? No and no. So it doesn't matter one bit.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Well, you can also count on most people paying absolutely no attention to said laws. Which makes them criminals! Just like sarcasmic said! Cuomo's plan worked!

    I posted an article on FB about the massive amount of civil disobedience in cases like this. Some progtard friend of a friend and I got into it. He claimed that it isn't civil disobedience and that these people should be thrown in jail for disobeying a law. He then went on to say that it was civil disobedience when he got arrested for protesting the Keystone pipeline. He seemed determined to not comprehend that the only thing making them criminals is a law that was created to make the activity they had peacefully enjoyed into a crime.

  • JW||

    I posted an article on FB

    Well, there's your problem.

    Shorter friend of a friend: It's only civil disobedience when WE do it.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    True on both accounts.

    I've seriously considered deleting my facebook page, but it is useful for keeping in touch and sharing cool things with people I like.

  • JW||

    No, keep your account, just stay out of politics at all costs, except with like-minded friends. Works for me.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Eh, I've weeded out most of the progtards from my friend list and I've had several well thought out, rational, reasoned debates over FB. But every once in a while, someone I don't know jumps in and shits all over the convo.

  • Mock-star||

    Why? I do the opposite. I love nothing more than trapping the proglodytes into nooses made of their own hypocrisy. Sure, the ones who get trapped never see their own fallacies, but I hope that others do.

  • Zeb||

    He claimed that it isn't civil disobedience and that these people should be thrown in jail for disobeying a law.

    Um. Isn't deliberately disobeying a law you think is wrong and getting thrown in jail exactly what civil disobedience is?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Shhhh, Zeb. You're using logic and making sense and stuff.

    One actual argument he used was that disobeying gun control laws could not possibly be civil disobedience because there is nothing civil about owning a gun.

    Remember, it's about the feelz. He felt that his actions were justified, but feels that these people are just vicious criminals who want to be free to kill babies.

  • MJGreen||

    That reminds me of a comment I saw early this year, during much of the gun control hysteria, that there is no such thing as a "peaceful gun owner." Merely having a gun makes you a dangerous lunatic.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    That's what a lot of them think. I had another progtard idiot post something that was for making gun manufacturers pay when guns they made are used illegally. After much "debate", he just came out and said "Every single gun owner is as guilty here as Adam Lanza. Every single one of you has blood on their hands"

    Funny thing is, the guy owns a car dealership. A friend and I started posting every single article about people being killed in drunk driving accidents on his wall with the title "you have blood on your hands"

  • Restoras||

    It's as if Cuomo isn't smart enough to understand that there are essentially two NYs.

  • Rich||

    What's Cuomo going to do, set the state police against the sheriffs?

    Eventualy something like this is bound to happen, probably federal vs state LEOs. That will be, um, interesting.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I wonder how many billiard balls Cuomo can fit in his mouth.

  • ||

    Pam: Frickin' head's poundin', I'm sweatin' booze and my mouth's killin' me!

    Cheryl: You're the one who stuffed four pool balls in it.

    Pam: Personal best!

    Lana: Your mother must be SO proud.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's so nice that federalism gives us laboratories for testing totalitarian tactics.

  • JW||

    Official letters refusing requests all cite a provision of the SAFE Act that reads:

    FYTY

  • Mr. Weebles||

    RECORDS ASSEMBLED OR COLLECTED FOR PURPOSES OF INCLUSION IN THE DATABASE CREATED PURSUANT TO SECTION 400.02 OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE PURSUANT TO ARTICLE SIX OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW.

    This regulation can be found in Chapter 17, Subsection FYTW.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement