Law only punishes those who obey it

I have spent the majority of my adult life in law enforcement. First with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department (road patrol) and then with the Amsterdam Police Department. I retired from the APD as a sergeant.

In my experience dealing with serious criminals, I have seen time and again that lawbreakers do not worry about laws that punish them for possessing a firearm.

To the contrary, for the criminal this is the ultimate tool for breaking the law. Will criminals make sure they have no more than the mandated, maximum number of bullets in their gun? Of course not. But the legal gun owner will become a criminal if he fills the gun magazine with more ammunition than the new law permits.

What is the logic to this? Give someone breaking into your house the advantage of unlimited firepower, while you can only have a limited means to protect yourself and your family.

Now Gov. Andrew Cuomo thinks the answer to the age old problem of crimes committed by criminals with guns requires a blanket law that will not change that. What it does is punish law-abiding citizens who have never broken the law and only want to possess a firearm for hunting, target shooting and home protection.

To make matters worse was the way in which the SAFE Act was passed: in the dead of night, at a speed which no politician has ever acted in the history of America. Bypassing the three-day review period, not allowing for any debate on the bill and ignoring other procedures that a normal bill must follow.

So, for the present we are stuck with this ill-conceived law. I, like many other legal gun owners fear this first step will diminish our Second Amendment right to bear firearms. Lawful gun owners are not the problem. But Gov. Cuomo is positioning himself for national office and wanted this bill passed before the federal government could act.

I urge all legal gun owners to contact their state representatives and strongly inform them that if they voted for this law, law-abiding citizens will not vote for them in the next election. After all, we voted them in and only the voters can vote them out.

Our rights are being chipped away by the state and federal government.

Enough already.

By the way, I am in favor of universal background checks, which are mandated in New York state.