Albany Police Officers Union, local 2841, Council 82, AFSCME, AFI-CIO

FROM: Albany Police Officers Union, local 2841, Council 82, AFSCME, AFI-CIO, P.O BOX 6567, ALBANY, NEW YORK 12206 (518) 438-9422

To: Andrew M. Cuomo / Dean G. Skelos / Neil D. Breslin / John T- McDonald III / Phil Steck / Sheldon Silver / Jeffrey D. Klein / Cecilia Tkaczyk / Patricia Fahy

Note; see the formal list of people this letter went to at the bottom.

April 15,2013

Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Albany Police Officers Union condemns and opposes the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (the SAFE Act).  Substantively, we believe that it violates fundamental constitutional rights, that it is unduly and purposely burdensome on law-abiding citizens, and” that it will not deter criminals or menially ill individuals from plotting and carrying out bloodshed and violence. Procedurally, we believe that the way in which the bill was rammed into law via an unjustified and expedient “message of necessity”, which circumvents the right and the ability of the citizens of this State to voice their concerns about the bill and have them addressed, is an outrage. This flawed law and the way in which it was rushed and passed, shows the apparent contempt that those who govern have for the governed, and calls into question whether we truly have a representational government. Morally, we believe that this law is about ideology and politics and not about making anyone any safer. We respectfully demand that you do the right thing and repeal the law.

First, while we applaud and support your overall concern for public safety and your desire to improve it. The SAFE Act will not improve public safety. Criminals and the mentally ill will not abide by it, and it is either foolish or dishonest to think or suggest otherwise. While law-abiding citizens will abide by the law and not load a ten-round magazine with more than seven rounds, do you really expect a criminal or mentally ill individual intent on doing violence not load ten rounds into a ten-round magazine? While law-abiding citizens will abide by the law that previously legal thirty-round magazines must be sold within one-year to an out-of-state resident or turn in to local authorities, do you really expect a criminal or mentally ill individual intent on doing violence to sell or turn in his thirty-round magazines? While law-abiding citizens will abide by the law requiring that they register weapons which they already do and which have been deemed “assault weapons”, do you really expect a criminal or mentally ill individual intent on doing violence to do so? Do you really expect a criminal or mentally ill individual intent on doing violence to be concerned about any increase in penalties for shooting first responders? Do you really expect that a mentally ill individual who owns firearms and who is intent on doing violence will voice his intentions to his or her mental health professional and thus put into motion the confiscation of his or her firearms? Do you really expect that a mentally ill individual will “safely store” his firearms? Of course you don’t. Again, only law-abiding citizens, who are not intent on doing violence, will abide the NY SAFE Act criminals and the mentally ill who are intent on doing violence will not do so. The public will not be any safer under this 1aw. What then, have you accomplished?

Second, the SAFE Act carries with it unfair burdens on law abiding citizen. What is the point of making law-abiding citizens register their previously lawfully owned and lawfully used firearms which are now deemed to be “assault weapons”? What is the point of making law-abiding citizens who affirmatively “opt into” protection from public identification that they hold permits or own firearms? What is the point of making law-abiding citizens renew their pistol permits or “assault weapon” registrations every five years? Why are you preemptively punishing those who have done nothing wrong?

Third, we fully believe that the SAFE ACT broad prohibitions against will not withstand constitutional challenge and scrutiny. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides and U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the right of individuals to possess and carry firearms and to use them for lawful purposes. The SAFE Act, however, infringes on that right as it bans the possession and use of certain firearms that were heretofore possessed and” used lawfully for the defense of life, liberty, and property, and as it bans the possession and use of certain firearms that were heretofore possessed and used lawfully for safe use of firearms recreation, hunting, and shooting.

We as police officers are on the front lines of public safety. Respectfully, none of you are. We see, feel, work, and live with the effects of gun violence in ways that you cannot. We believe that you see gun violence as a means to move your agenda and your ambitions forward. You know that the SAFE Act will not work in the way that you pretend it will. You know that this shameful SAFE Act was about ideology and politics and not about making anyone safer.

Regarding the reduction in violent crime this new legislation is proposed to have, in 2011 the most current year for which FBI crime statistics are available, New York State had 77l homicides, 445 were committed with a firearm, 394 of that 445 were committed with a handgun, 5 were committed with a rifle, 16 were committed with a shotgun, in 30 the firearm type was unknown, 160 were committed with a cutting instrument, 143 were committed with another type of weapon, and 26 were committed with bare hands. We believe based on these statistics, that the SAFE Act will do nothing to reduce violent crime as the primary target of the legislation is the “assault rifle” which would be included statistically with standard rifles and used in less than 1% of New York homicides in 2011. These so called “Assault Weapons” were not used in the commission of one reported crime in Albany County in 2011.

For the reasons set forth above, the Albany Police Union believes that the SAFE Act is wrong – substantively, procedurally, and morally. The SAFE Act infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens, it will burden and negatively impact firearms ownership by law-abiding citizens and will not affect the willingness of criminals or those who are mentally ill from perpetrating violence. Again, we respectfully demand that each and all of you do the right thing and repeal the law.

Very truly yours,

Thomas Mahar
President
Albany Police Officers Union, local 2841
Council 82, AFSCME, AFI-CIO

 

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
New, York State Capitol
Albany, New York 12224

The Honorable Dean G. Skelos
Temporary President
New York State Senate
Legislative Office Building, Room 909
Albany, New York 12247

The Honorable Neil D. Breslin
New York State Senator
172 State Street Room 414, Capitol
Albany, New York 12247

The Honorable John T- McDonald III
New York State Assemblyman
Legislative Office Building, Room 913
Albany, New York 12248

The Honorable Phil Steck
New York State Assemblyman
Legislative Office Building, Room 819
Albany, New York 12248

The Honorable Sheldon Silver
Speaker, New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building. Room 913
Albany, New York 12248

The Honorable Jeffrey D. Klein
Temporary President
New York State Senate
Legislative Office Building, Room 913
Albany, New York 12247

The Honorable Cecilia Tkaczyk
New York State Senator
Legislative Office Building, Room 311
Albany, New York 12247

The Honorable Patricia Fahy
New York State Assemblywoman
Legislative Office Building, Room 458
Albany, New York 12248

SAFE Act Opposition letter in PDF format

16 Responses to Albany Police Officers Union, local 2841, Council 82, AFSCME, AFI-CIO

  1. Thank you Albany Police Officers Union for standing behind the law abiding citizens of NY as we will stand behind you. Every word you said is true, but I would like to add that in 2012 not one legal gun owner committed a violent crime with a gun of any kind in the state of NY. (2013 FOIA request) None of the 445 gun related homicides were perpetrated by a legal gun owner. We are not the problem. The people of this state have the right be at least as well armed as the criminals and the government. It’s our basic human right to self defense as affirmed by the Second Amendment. The government did not give us the right and can not take it away. I applaud the Law Enforcement Officers who take their oath to uphold our Constitutional rights seriously. We, the people, are united in our pursuit of peace, liberty and freedom from tyranny. Thank you again!

  2. Thank you for standing up for what you believe .

  3. Good for you Albany PBA it’s too bad our politicians don’t have the same courage as you.Now if the rest of the PD’s show the same courage as you it will make all Americans proud.Thank you guys for your service,and remember SHALL NOT INFRINGE,God Bless America and God Bless You

  4. Thank you for speaking out so well. Millions are against the SAFE Act and have voiced objection, but because you are speaking out as public safety professionals, your arguments should carry considerably more weight and influence.

  5. Excellent FACTUAL points, many and perhaps most of us in New York share your sentiments and we thank you for standing up and making your voices heard. I think Governor Cuomo will have a difficult time telling you as police officers that he puts you in the category of “extremists” in our state that do not represent the many. Perhaps the “extremists” are the ones who crafted and signed this bill into law?

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  12. I’ve lived in Albany county for most of my life.I moved away because of the changes,and the slow response when standing for our inalienable rights.At least the police officers union demonstrates that there are a few Americans left in Albany.

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  14. I am so proud of you officers for standing up for what you believe is right.! I lived in Albany Co. most of my life as well, but when I moved to Columbia Co. was able to get my CCL within a few months instead of over a year that it would have taken me had I still lived in Albany Co. We are all behind you 100 % and thank you for you dedication and strength.

  15. New York State Civil Rights Law-
    § 4. Right to keep and bear arms. A well regulated militia being
    necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to
    keep and bear arms cannot be infringed.

    Why don’t they argue from this point alone??

  16. Thank you for being a stand up supporter of the Constitution! You set the standard for all police agencies in NY to check out what & who they are going to obey – the original intent of our Founding Fathers is well documented. Our rights are God given and no political machine can take them away from us. You and the Sheriffs are true Americans! God bless each one of you!

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