Second Amendment rights are clearly under assault in New York state. The state has been going after gun manufacturers and gun rights organizations through indirect means for some time. It also already has some of the most restrictive "may issue" laws in the country.
This isn't his first foray in trying to limit gun ownership. In the 2017-18 session he proposed massive insurance requirements for gun owners. It is still in committee at this time.
The legislation as amended in Senate Bill S2857A would require owners of firearms to obtain liability insurance of not less than $1 million prior to purchasing a gun. Here is the justification as written in the bill:
Injury and death by gun has increasingly become a problem in U.S. and in New York State. In the wake of recent mass shooting incidents in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut; there has been a nationwide attention on gun control and public safety.
According to FBI Crime Report, there were 445 firearm murder in New York in 2011 and 517 firearm murder in 2010. However, there is little attention on the economic impact these shootings have on the victims and their families.
This justification is about as intellectually dishonest as you can get. First, clearly firearms deaths went down from 2010 to 2011. The statistics in the justification are reversed to appear as an increase.
Next, how many of those murders were committed by legal gun owners? My bet is not very many based on national statistics. Studies show that illegal guns are used in gun crime about 80% of the time. So this legislation may solve the economic problems of families who lose someone to gun violence 20% of the time? Maybe 89 families.
Meanwhile New York State has a population of approximately 19.85 million. CBS reports the legal gun ownership rate in the state is 10.3% That means over 2 million New Yorkers would be affected by this requirement because maybe 89 of them might do something bad each year. Not even close to 1% of them.
Meanwhile, from 2012 to 2014 an average of 1098 died in motor vehicle accidents. More than twice as many as firearms in 2011. You know the minimum insurance coverage required for motor vehicle owners is?
- $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident
Are the families of people killed in motor vehicle accidents less affected financially than those killed due to gun violence? Of course not. And a much higher percentage of cars that are involved in fatal accidents are insured than legal gun owners are involved in gun homicide. Why not increase the minimum death coverage for vehicle owners to $1 million?
The obvious reason would be leaders in New York see the ability to own and operate a motor vehicle as right and the ability to legally own a gun as a privilege. And one they want to limit in the extreme.
Perhaps with the Democrat trifecta that was achieved in state government during the midterms, Parker and the anti-gun caucus believe their radical agenda has a better chance of passing. Bills similar to the one requiring excessive insurance has been proposed before in 2013 and 2015.
Don't be surprised if it circles back again with solid majorities in both legislative chambers. And judging by the means Governor Cuomo has undertaken to try to regulate gun manufacturers and gun rights groups, it seems highly likely he would sign these extreme measures.
Perhaps Conservatives in New York should just take the Governor at his word. As he said in 2014:
… You’re seeing that play out in New York. … The Republican party candidates are running against the SAFE Act – it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.
As if being pro-life (roughly 50% of Americans), a supporter of the 2nd Amendment (over 60% of Americans) and supporting traditional marriage (which around 54% of Americans did when Cuomo made the statement) are somehow radical positions. They aren't. They are just different than Governor Cuomo's.
Undoubtedly, it is going to become more difficult that it already is to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights in New York. While it is highly likely both of Parker's bills would elicit legal challenges for violating several fundamental rights, it is clear the state will continue to experiment with ways to limit supply and restrict the legal purchase of firearms.