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APR 28 - MAY 05, 2015

SCOPE President on SAFE ACT: An open letter to the New York State Senate Republicans

By Stephen J. Aldstadt – President S.C.O.P.E. Inc.

April 28, 2015

In the 2014 election cycle dozens of New York candidates, including sixteen Republican Senate candidates, signed the SCOPE Candidates Pledge which read, As a candidate for office in the state of New York, I pledge to support the Second Amendment and the rights of gun owners, hunters, and sportsmen in our state, I pledge to support the repeal of the NY SAFE Act and oppose any similar gun-ban legislation at the local, state, and federal level.
Due in part to the support from the gun owners of New York State, ten of those candidates won their elections, including four Senators in key swing districts. The Republicans were thus able to reclaim the majority in the New York State Senate.

On March 3rd of this year delegations from SCOPE Chapters and Committees from across New York traveled to Albany to ask their legislators to refuse to pass a budget that included funding for the NY SAFE Act.

We noted that signing onto “repeal” legislation while voting to fund implementation of the SAFE Act was contradictory and unacceptable.

We are now being told by Senate Republicans, “We found nothing in the budget that referred to the SAFE Act” and “The 2015-2016 State Budget does not allocate a single penny in new funding for the SAFE Act”, but this appears to be not true.

In open and on the record debate on the floor of the NYS Assembly it was clearly stated that there was new funding for enforcement of the SAFE Act, and that as many as fourteen new employees would be hired by the Cuomo Administration's Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for implementation and enforcement of the NY SAFE Act.

In other words, a vote for the State Budget was, in essence, a vote to double-down on SAFE Act enforcement and a reaffirmation of its most onerous provisions.

Sources in the State Assembly have since confirmed that there are $3.2 million in new appropriations in the State Police operations budget for SAFE Act enforcement and a number of new DCJS positions associated with the SAFE Act. Of $27.7 million originally allocated in the 2013-14 budget, $8 million has already been spent on the ammunition database and pistol license re-certification. In the 2015-16 budget, the re-appropriation was in fact reduced by $7 million, but left $12 million for the ammunition database and pistol license re-certification project.

Our question to our friends in the New York State Senate is: What is the truth? Who can we believe? Who can we trust? Our members have been told for years that if they value their Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms, it is important to maintain a Republican majority in the New York State Senate. Yet there was a Republican majority in the New York State Senate when the original “Assault Weapons” ban was passed in 2000. There was a Republican-Independent Democratic coalition running the Senate when the NY SAFE Act
was passed. There was a Republican majority in the New York Senate when the FY2015-16 budget was passed.

Tell us again Senators, exactly how you are protecting and defending the Second Amendment by supporting Andrew Cuomo's continuing assault on the Constitution?

This budget was passed using another fraudulent “Message of Necessity”. This is a legislative gimmick to circumvent the legislative process required by the New York State Constitution. This is how bills are passed without the opportunity for public review or comment, or reasoned debate in the Legislature. As Nancy Pelosi once said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can see what's in it”. This was how the NY SAFE Act was passed. This is what passes for governing in New York State. Instead of an open and representative government we get a political elite using the “Message of Necessity” to pass bills into law before legislators can read them, no less ordinary citizens.

The continuing abuse of the Legislative process only adds to the reputation of New York State government as the most corrupt state government in the Union, as reflected in a recent nation wide poll. We have the Speaker of the Assembly under indictment. We have the Senate leader under Federal investigation. We have a governor who created a Moreland Commission to investigate corruption and then disbanded it when it began to get close to him and his political allies, and we have government by “Message of Necessity” to circumvent political dissent.

This has to stop. On behalf of the citizens of New York State, we are calling on the Republican members of the New York Senate to adhere to the Rule of Law. Obey the New York State Constitution which says each bill has to be on the Senators' desks for three days before it can be voted on. A “Message of Necessity” was intended for legitimate emergencies. Instead it has been perverted into a gimmick for political expediency and to shield attacks on our Constitutional rights from scrutiny. Honor your oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, including the Second Amendment: 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.

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
— George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

Senators, I ask you, What part of this don't you understand?





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