WRGB in Albany has a breaking news story posted to their Facebook page, claiming that the state of New York is offering up bribes for people to rat out those possessing illegal firearms – an interesting development considering the adoption of the new anti-Second Amendment SAFE Act legislation. In other words, a firearm that may have been obtained legally could become illegal under the SAFE Act, and anybody who knows you possess said firearm can report you and earn themselves a cool $500.
In addition to the Facebook page, Pat Bailey, a reporter from at CBS 6 in Albany, tweeted that he has a letter from the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services explaining the reward program.
According to Bailey, the Governor’s Office is claiming that the program is well over a year old. But the head of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association says that if that is accurate, “it was a well kept secret”.
The Troy Record Facebook page also has this announcement:
NY 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). 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 then contact the appropriate police agency with the lead to initiate an investigation. If the information leads to an arrest for the illegal possession of a firearm, the “tipster” will be awarded $500.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin also reports on the Snitch Line, calling it “neighbor vs. neighbor”:
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Melrose) today released a letter that was emailed from the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police outlining a new initiative by Governor Cuomo and DCJS that would confiscate illegal firearms, including those that are not registered but were previously legal before the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (Safe Act) was rammed through the legislature in January. According to the letter, sent out on Tuesday, the state would provide a $500 reward, through tax dollars, to an individual who turns in his neighbor for possessing an illegal firearm. DCJS is planning a “comprehensive campaign” to announce this initiative which includes a toll-free tip line and details of how to text to submit a tip against their neighbor.
“In December, Governor Cuomo stated that ‘confiscation could be an option,’ and now it appears he is staying true to his word with this dangerous new initiative,” said McLaughlin. “This initiative seeks to turn neighbor against neighbor and use their own tax dollars to pay for the $500 reward. Confiscating these once-legal firearms from law-abiding citizens and pitting neighbors against one another does nothing to address the root cause of violence with guns in our society: illegal handguns used by real criminals. While Albany confiscates firearms, evil will unfortunately still wander our streets.”
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-XXXXX 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 XXXXXX. 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–XXXX.
Director of Public Information
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
We will post video of the CBS report as soon as possible. WRGB’s site is under construction, but they have been updating via Facebook.
Update: Video of the news report can be found here…