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I’m a little behind reading my RBJs but felt very compelled to respond to the letters to the editor in your Jan. 31 issue. In that issue you ran two pro-NY SAFE Act letters from writers from New York City, one week after your Snap Poll had clear results showing that 62 percent oppose the NY SAFE Act and 53 percent think it should be repealed.
First, I’d like to state that most people who are against the SAFE Act are not against stricter enforcement of the current laws and have no issues with laws that put and keep criminals in jail. What the writers fail to understand is that criminals are called that for a reason. They do not respect the law, and taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens will do nothing to make us safer; it actually makes us less safe. Criminals by nature will not adhere to the law and will find a way to get firearms without a background check, whether on the black market or by stealing them.
Leah Gunn Barrett (the author of one of the letters) from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence has blasted papers throughout upstate with letters and opinion pieces trying to change the “perceptions” of upstate citizens regarding the SAFE Act. I’ve lived in the Rochester area since 1969 and have always been very concerned about how New York City controls so much of the laws that Upstate New Yorkers live and work under and where our tax dollars go.
Barrett noted that polls indicate many favor specific aspects of the law; what she does not say is that it’s very small parts like the Webster provision that people favor and hence the huge push for a repeal. This law makes no one safe by limiting the ability of New Yorkers to protect themselves. As an example of how poorly written this law is, people are concerned that if, God forbid, they need psychological help or an anti-depressant for a death in the family, they will be reported to the state and have their firearms confiscated, so they have chosen not to seek help.
The main point in Barrett’s letter is that the SAFE Act is good for business. Let’s take a look at some hard facts. In October, American Tactical Imports, a Rochester-based importer, announced that due to the SAFE Act it will be leaving the state and taking 117 jobs and $2.7 million of investments to South Carolina. Beikirch’s Ammunition in East Rochester has opened two locations in Pennsylvania, not New York. Downstate, Kahr Firearms will be expanding in Pennsylvania. On Feb. 18, Remington announced plans to expand in Alabama, creating 2,000 jobs and investing $110 million. In addition, ancillary manufacturing and other jobs will be lost or not created because of this major business exodus. This represents millions of dollars and real jobs and people leaving New York for good.
Along with pushing jobs and money out of New York, the implementation of this legislation is going to cost taxpayers $36 million a year and has created a hostile environment for both in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and -women who now risk committing crimes because of the countless technical criminal violations created by the SAFE Act for possessing items that can be purchased over the counter in neighboring states.
I find Barrett’s comments about the SAFE Act being good for business baseless when her main goal is to disarm law-abiding citizens and vanquish any firearms-related businesses and manufacturers from New York.
Barrett also mentions the power of perception as a reason to implement laws that affect only law-abiding citizens. I’d prefer to use hard facts from the Department of Justice rather than perception, as gun ownership has increased dramatically, according to a report from the department’s Bureau of Statistics. It says that between 1993 and 2011, non-fatal gun crimes plummeted 69 percent, from 1.5 million to 467,300. Gun-related murders dropped 39 percent, from 18,253 to 11,101. Although one school shooting is one too many, the report also shows that the media-created hysteria over school shootings is wildly misleading. Between ’93 and ’11, the murder rate in schools dropped from 29 a year to 20.
Background checks have been exposed as another bogus narrative that the media has crafted out of thin air. The report proves beyond any doubt that closing the so-called gun show loophole will accomplish next to nothing. Less than 1 percent of state prisoners caught with a gun purchased it at a gun show.
Pew Research Center researchers observed that the huge amount of attention devoted to gun violence incidents in the media has caused most Americans to be unaware that gun crimes have dropped significantly from 20 years ago. In fact, gun-related homicides in the late 2000s were “equal to those not seen since the early 1960s.” Yet their survey found that 56 percent believed gun-related crime is higher; only 12 percent of those polled thought it was lower. It’s a sad state of affairs that most people do not know the hard facts as the anti-gun media refuse to properly report them.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the message of necessity to bypass the public and get his poorly written law passed in the middle of the night by a Legislature that did not have time to read it. Regardless of one’s opinion of the SAFE Act, all New Yorkers should be very concerned about how this law was written and passed in the dead of the night.
2/28/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.