As a semi-retired police officer who makes annual trips to NY, I’ve been trying to follow New York State’s new draconian gun law. The latest hoopla over the hastily enacted law is that the NY legislature failed to place any exemptions for police officers into the law.
Some people are lamenting over the failure to include an exemption for police officers to carry a weapon onto school grounds. I might point out that Pennsylvania law does not have any such exemption either; more on that later.
Others point out that there is no exemption for police officers, on duty or off, to have their magazines loaded with more than 7 rounds each.
The state Patrolmen's Benevolent Association says it is working to enact appropriate exemptions from the law for active and retired police officers. One NY senator, Sen. Eric Adams, says he'll introduce an amendment to exempt law enforcement from the new law. Adams is quoted as saying, "You can't give more ammo to the criminals."
Now, stop and digest the senator’s statement for a minute. If the law is to make everyone safer and
limit everyone to seven rounds then the criminals would not possess more ammo than police…..right? In his asinine statement the senator is actually acknowledging that he and his colleagues have no expectation that criminals will obey these laws. They already know that the only people who will obey these laws are otherwise law abiding citizens.
In addition to banning any new magazine that holds more than 7 rounds (older magazines may not be loaded with more than 7), the new law in NY requires all ammo purchases to be reported to the state and for the purchaser to go through a background check at the time of purchase. The new law also requires stolen guns to be reported and mental health professionals to report people they consider a risk.
But perhaps the scariest part of the new law is the requirement to register certain guns, even if those guns were already lawfully possessed prior the enactment of the new law.
Since 1994 it has been illegal in NY to possess modern sporting rifles (MSR) that had two or more certain cosmetic characteristics. The new law shrinks the prohibition to one thus banning nearly every MSR in production today. If you lawfully possessed one of those rifles before 2013, you can keep it but you must register it with the State.
Registration should be an alarm bell to anyone who follows history. Gun registration is always introduced as “common sense” or a “reasonable” means to keep us all safe (which never happens) but history shows that registration is nearly always followed by confiscation at some later date. I suspect that NY will be no different.
I mentioned earlier that the new NY law does not specifically exempt police or retired police from carrying a gun on school grounds. As I mentioned before, neither does current law in PA. The PA law simply states that, among other exceptions, carry on school grounds is permissible for “other lawful purpose.” That may or may not include self-defense and defense of others (which is why cops carry a gun). Neither does the PA law address whether the common citizen is covered under the “lawful purpose” exemption now that PA has a Castle Doctrine Law which makes it lawful for PA citizens to use force to defend themselves, up to and including deadly force, anywhere they have a legal right to be when attacked. It has yet to be tested in court.