What is the SAFE Act?
The NY SAFE Act (New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013) was passed into law by the New York State Legislature on January 15, 2013. This law, much like any law regarding the guns of the American people, caused much concern among many people. The law was passed in response to the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut. It is important to note that not all of the concerns regarding this new Democrat-backed piece of legislature are justified. I would like to demonstrate to you, through common sense, that several, if not all, of the policies passed are positive steps for the state and the country. Below is a list of requirements and restrictions this law is attempting to enforce in order to “Stop criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun” as Governor Cuomo puts it.
5 Policies the SAFE Act Is Enforcing and the Reasons Why They Are Positive
The SAFE Act bans the possession of any high-capacity magazines.
The maximum capacity for all magazines will now be 10 rounds in the state of New York. It will also be a misdemeanor if a magazine is filled with more than 7 rounds of ammunition. This law applies everywhere in the state with the exception of at a gun range or while participating in a shooting competition. At these locations ten rounds may be loaded. Magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds must be sold to an individual residing outside of the state or turned into local authorities within a year of when it was signed into law (January 15, 2014).The reasoning behind the banning of high-capacity ammunition is fairly clear. High-capacity ammunition is the most common trait associated with practically all mass shootings because they allow for an individual to unload an extreme and unnecessary amount of bullets at a target without any delay. By allowing the sale of these magazines to the public we allow future potentially dangerous individuals to access these high-capacity magazines with higher ease. Now, you may be thinking “But Manny, can’t these dangerous individuals just get their high-capacity magazines from the black market?” and to that I say…you might be right. However, this is an extra step that these individuals will have to take and it is also one that they will be prosecuted for. Therefore, by allowing the prosecution of these potential future offenders we can possibly even prosecute them before the catastrophe takes place.
The SAFE Act will force ammunition and gun dealers, both public and private, to conduct background checks.
Dealers will be required to report all sales to the state. Internet sales of ammunition will still be allowed, but they can only be shipped to a licensed dealer in the state for pickup. Background checks are yet another aspect of the bill that is clearly a positive requirement implemented by this new law. Background checks are an essential measure that should be enforced in order to prevent previous criminals and potentially dangerous people from purchasing a gun. Background checks for purchasing a gun typically take a few minutes to complete and have already prevented nearly 2 MILLION potentially dangerous people from purchasing a gun. Typically, criminals seeking to purchase a gun could evade a background check by purchasing the weapon from a private dealer at a gun show. This new law now requires private dealers to conduct background checks and removes this loophole used by criminals.
The SAFE Act will require that all stolen guns be reported within 24 hours.
Failure to do so will result in a misdemeanor. This is yet another requirement imposed that clearly makes sense. When a gun is stolen it is in the hands of a criminal. By reporting your gun stolen it allows local officials to immediately begin a search for the theft. If this search is successful it will immediately disarm and imprison the criminal and therefore potentially prevent him/her from committing a violent crime. Even if the search is unsuccessful, it will still allow the local authorities to know key information regarding the gun immediately after the discovery of the gun in the case that the gun is found at a crime scene.
The SAFE Act will create a registry of assault weapons.
People living in New York will be required to register their assault weapons with the state by April 15, 2014. The possession of an assault weapon is prohibited in the state of New York unless it was legally owned prior to the signing of the law on January 15, 2013. The law also bans the internet sale of assault weapons. By creating an assault weapon registry we allow for several positive factors to take place. First, by creating an assault weapon registry we have the possibility of returning these lost or stolen weapons to its rightful owner. Second, it allows police officers to solve criminal activity. For instance, if the assault weapon used by a criminal is confiscated after his/her imprisonment and the weapon was not reported stolen by its original owner then the owner may be involved in criminal activity and should receive consequences. Third, it will increase personal accountability. Through awareness that an assault weapon is registered to the owner’s name you increase the accountability of its owner causing him/her to be more likely to store the weapon more safely, report lost or stolen weapons, and less likely to lend that weapon to someone else. It is also extremely important to note that these positive factors could also be applied on a much larger platform by requiring a national general firearm registry.
The SAFE Act requires mental health professionals to report to their mental health director the threats made by their mentally ill patients.
The director would then report the serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. This department will then consider the removal of the weapon from the mentally ill patient. If an individual is making harmful threats, is mentally ill, and owns a weapon, then it would be irrational to allow the individual to continue to own the weapon. It’s as simple as that. This is one of the only real ways the government is “taking our guns” and, as you can see, it is completely justified.
The NY SAFE Act is a law that was created in order to prevent criminals and the potentially dangerous mentally ill to own a firearm. This law, like any other, might contain errors and policies which will need to be reformed in the future, but it seems pretty obvious to me that it is a step in the right direction.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the topic above please feel free to write a reply below. I love learning and educating myself and if you feel like you can contribute to this post by writing concerns felt by the opposing side of the argument, please do so below.