Civil Liberties

How Many New Yorkers Flip the Bird to Cuomo's Gun Registration Requirements? Officials May Have to Fess Up


Andrew Cuomo
Pat Arnow

Ever since the passage of New York's SAFE Act imposing tighter restrictions on firearms and gun owners—a law so poorly drafted that parts of it proved unworkable and were thrown out by the courts—officials have been coy about just how many people are complying with a requirement that "assault weapons" be registered. Amidst an organized campaign urging gun owners to defy the law that was championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state police insist that releasing aggregate numbers of registered firearms would somehow violate the privacy rights of individual owners.

Uh huh. If that sounds unlikely to you, you're in good company. The state government's Committee on Open Government also thinks it's bullshit. In an advisory opinion released earlier this month, the committee admonished that "none of the discretionary exceptions appearing in…the Freedom of Information Law would permit the State Police to deny access to aggregate data regarding firearm and assault weapon permits." In fact, they say, the data must be released.

Registration opinion
New York State Committee on Open Government

The smart money says that registration figures are embarrassingly low (for Cuomo and company) and demonstrate mass defiance of the law of the sort seen next door, in Connecticut. That's really to be expected since, as I will never tire of pointing out, hiding weapons from authorities and ignoring officials' attempts to disarm their subjects is the rule, rather than the exception.

Let's see if the New York state government decides to abide by its own Committee on Open Government's opinion anytime soon.

In an article published today, the New York Times points out that Cuomo's pet gun restrictions have been very successful—at pissing off people outside the environs of New York City and its suburbs.