The NY SAFE Act has passed the Senate, will likely pass in the Assembly despite ongoing discussions, and is poised to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo some time this evening.  This packet of gun control legislation is considered by the Democrat governor to be the most comprehensive package in the nation.

The Times Union reports:

The NY SAFE Act would adjust the definition of a banned assault rifle so that any single characteristic — such as a telescoping stock, flash suppressor, bayonet attachment or pistol grip — on a semiautomatic rifle would render it illegal. Existing weapons would be grandfathered in, but their ownership could not be transferred.

A statewide registry of these guns would be created, and the county-by-county process for issuing handgun permits would also be standardized and centralized. In a change to the state’s Freedom of Information Law, permit applicants would be able to request their name and address not be released — a point that arose after the Journal News in Westchester County last month published a list of the names and addresses of pistol permit holders.

The maximum capacity of an ammunition magazine would be reduced from 10 rounds to seven, and a current exemption for clips manufactured before 1994 will end.

Private sales of firearms, which now proceed unfettered, would require a background check through a licensed dealer, putting those transactions in line with current purchasing requirements for rifles and shotguns.

At the urging of Republicans in the Senate, the bill also stiffens penalties for people who use guns criminally. It would also include an expansion of mental health providers’ ability to commit those found to be a danger to the public — another GOP priority — under what’s known as Kendra’s Law.

But the content of the legislation is taking a back seat to the imaginary need to get it passed as quickly as possible.  The state Senate passed the measure without any debate on the bill, and Governor Cuomo has dispensed with the three-day public review law in an attempt to avoid public debate on the topic.

Warner Todd Huston writes:

… weekend dealmaking behind closed doors resulted in a bill that has bipartisan support, but the full legislature has not yet had a chance to see the back room-written legislation.

New York State has a constitutional amendment that requires a three-day public review of all laws before they are allowed to take effect. However, this bill’s backroom deal makers are urging anti-gun Governor Cuomo to issue a “message of necessity” that would cancel the three-day review period.

Further discussion will continue behind closed doors and away from the light of public view.

Sadly Huston is correct, not only has the bill been forced upon New Yorkers with not so much as a discussion, but a dozen Republicans in the Senate went along with it.

Despite Republicans willingness to bow to the governor on this legislation, and emotionally respond to a topic that requires level-headed thinking, criticism of these tactics has been strong.  New York Post editor Fred Dicker, a normally reliable ally and current biographer for the governor, ripped these latest measures.

Politico reports:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new gun-control package is drawing sharp criticism from one of his most reliable allies: The New York Post editor and Albany radio host Fred Dicker, who calls it “a Trojan Horse” effort to “regulating every single gun” in New York.
As Capital New York’s Azi Paybarah reports, Dicker is usually Cuomo’s “closest and most influential ally in the media… a consistent booster of Cuomo and… a useful clearing house for Cuomo’s proposals, personnel decisions and political threats, which often appear first in Dicker’s column as lightly attributed offerings of sources close to the governor. (He’s also writing a book about Cuomo, with the full cooperation of the governor’s staff.)
But on today’s radio show, Dicker described the package as being “all in secret, typical Albany, behind closed doors,” and accused Cuomo of using the tragedy to push his gun agenda, perhaps in order to win national attention.
“This is a Trojan Horse. This is not about semi-automatic rifles. This is a sweeping set of gun laws the governor is using,” he said. “The governor is using the tragedy… as a justification for sweeping changes in gun laws including regulating every single gun millions of New Yorkers now own… It’s another reason people are going to be leaving New York.”

New Yorkers thus far, have only had a minor defense of their Constitutional freedoms on display during the process. Only two Republicans took to the floor of the Senate to speak on the bill.  Greg Ball said the measure should have contained a greater overhaul of the state’s mental health systems, and indicated the final product would be nothing more than a burden on law-abiding gun owners.

Ball added, “We haven’t saved any lives tonight, except for one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president.  I voted no, and I only wish I could have done it twice.”

Ball is right – the perceived urgency of the legislation is completely non-existent.  In reality, the Governor was simply hoping to beat vice-President Joe Biden to the punch when it comes to meaningful action on gun control, second amendment freedoms be damned.  And Cuomo is about to score a significant political victory.  President Obama is expected to announce the recommendations of Biden’s gun commission later this week.

Meanwhile, the other Republican to speak on the bill was Kathy Marchione, who is now hosting a petition on her web site in an attempt to show “strong public support for preserving our Constitutional freedoms”.

Sadly, there are few politicians left who have taken an interest in defending our Constitutional freedoms.