NY: Gun registry proposal draws some concern

Albany – Gun owners in New York are used to seeing a laundry
list of legislative proposals early each year that would place more
restrictions and perhaps even prohibit their ownership of some
firearms.

Most of those bills collect dust in Assembly or Senate committees
and die a natural legislative death. That doesn’t stop sportsmen,
however, from mobilizing in opposition to the proposals generally
introduced by New York City-area lawmakers.

One proposal in particular this legislative session has caught the
attention of sportsmen and even grabbed national exposure through
the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

S2994, introduced by Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) would require gun
owners to register each firearm they currently own with their local
county clerk’s office or police department, and carry a $15 fee for
each initial gun registration and a $10 renewal fee every three
years.

Jacob Rieper, vice president of legislative and political affairs
for the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, said the
proposal is a recycled version of one that failed to gain any
legislative traction three years ago.

“Sen. Adams’ proposal was introduced in 2008 and never generated
much interest,” Rieper said. “It has one Senate co-sponsor – Jose
Serrano – and there has never been a companion bill in the
Assembly. S2994 has no momentum behind it and isn’t likely to be
going anywhere.”

Rieper indicated that sportsmen should continue to focus much of
their attention on a “microstamping” bill that’s been labeled a
priority among Democratic lawmakers this session.

Microstamping would require that a gun’s firing pin be equipped
with serial numbers to imprint on the rounds they fire in an effort
to trace them. Opponents said that won’t deter crime and will only
add unnecessary expenses for gun makers and buyers.

“The big bad bill is microstamping, A1157/S675, which will prohibit
the sale and possession of all new handguns in the state,” Rieper
said. Still, sporting groups reacted swiftly to S2994, which has
been funneled into the Senate codes committee for review.

“Not only is this bill an attack on gun ownership rights, it’s a
blatant tax on gun ownership,” said Jeremy Rine, associate director
of state services for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It’s
outrageous that the state would try to make citizens register their
guns and then make money off this process.”

Critics of the bill, as well as other cumbersome gun ownership
laws, contend it would only place further regulations on
law-abiding gun-owning citizens and would be ignored by gun-toting
criminals.

Adams’ bill also would required that any firearm acquired in the
future would need to be registered with the state, and the gun
owner would be required to offer up information such as where and
how the gun was acquired.

Gun owners would also be required to provide the serial number of
each firearm owned, in addition to their name, address, phone
number and even where the firearm will be located when not in
use.

Adams, in a memo attached to the bill, said his proposal would
allow for “better tracking supervision of the firearms circulating
in New York state. There are many firearms that are illegally
possessed in New York state, but by implementing a constant
registry of firearms we can come a step closer to identifying those
illegal firearms.” His memo also indicated that the registration
would better protect gun owners if their firearm is lost or stolen
and then used in a crime.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and New York State Rifle and Pistol
Association urged gun owners to contact their senators and urge
them to oppose S2994. Sportsmen can find their state senator’s
contact information at www.ussportsmen.org/LAC or at www.nysrpa.org
(go to the “Contact Sheet” link under the Legislative
category).

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