Hamilton County Outdoors
By Ron Kolodziej

SAFE Act: The governor gets bad advice

I hate to keep harping on some facet or other of the SAFE Act but the doo doo has hit the fan and things that you should be aware of keep happening. First off, I understand Gov. Cuomo has - sort of - abandoned his insistence on a seven-round magazine, most likely because it has finally occurred to him that no one makes an appropriate seven-round magazine for many firearms and no self-respecting magazine manufacturer ever will since there would be such a limited market for them. So much for getting good advice from his staff.

Incidentally, I understand much of the wording for the SAFE Act came from the Brady Campaign and from Mayor Bloomberg’s staff, and obviously none of them own firearms. Right?

Also, were you aware of the fact that Bloomberg has a vacation home in Bermuda, where private ownership of firearms is not allowed? However, his staff of bodyguards received a special dispensation allowing them to be armed. I guess what’s OK for you and I is not OK for him.

Second, is a letter sent out by the Division of Criminal Justice Services. I’ll quote the letter but not identify the signer. Nor will I comment more than marginally on it. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s appropriate or not.

The Letter, “At a time when all of us are finding ourselves doing more with less, a reminder about a resource available from New York State that can assist you in your efforts to solve cases, prevent crime and better serve and protect your communities.

“The state has established a toll-free tip line — 1-855-GUNSNYS (1-855- 486-7697) to encourage residents to report illegal firearm possession. The tip line also allows for information to be submitted via text — individuals can text GUNTIP and their message to CRIMES (274637). While the state will provide the administrative support and fund the rewards, the investigation and validity of the tip will be up to each local department.

“To spread the word about this free resource, New York State is planning a comprehensive campaign, including public service announcements that will air on television and radio stations across upstate.

“The tip line can provide your agencies with another avenue for receiving intelligence about crimes being committed in your jurisdictions. This initiative is designed for communities where no tip lines are in place and is not meant to replace existing gun tip lines.

“Here’s how the tip line operates: The New York State Police staff the tip line 24 hours a day. Upon receiving a call, troopers will solicit as much information as possible regarding a firearm tip, while allowing the individual to remain anonymous. The caller will be informed that this program is not the traditional gun buyback program but rather is focused on identifying individuals who are carrying an illegal firearm.

“The State Police will in turn contact the appropriate police agency with the lead to initiate an investigation. Staff from the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) will follow up with that agency to determine the validity of the lead. Once the investigation is completed, the police agency would convey to DCJS the outcome of the investigation.

“If the information leads to an arrest for the illegal possession of a firearm, the “tipster’ will be awarded $500. DCJS staff will handle all of the financial transactions.

“State Police staff will explain the program in its entirety upon notifying an agency that a lead has been generated for their jurisdiction. If you have any questions in the interim, please contact DCJS Deputy Commissioner Tony Perez in the Office of Public Safety at 518-485-7610.”

Of course, they may not find anything, and the “tipster” may not get $500 but that doesn’t mean anything. The visit from the police and the presence of one or more of their vehicles in your driveway for an hour or two, would be unnerving anyway, and you can bet your name will go on a “Watch” list. Also, the name of the complainant remains anonymous so you’ll never know who complained about you.

Please don’t read anything into this, but doesn’t this type of tactic harken back to the late 1930s or early 1940s in Germany? It seems someone else there did this very same thing before.