U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The Attorney General of New York, recently elected and rabidly anti-Second Amendment, Letitia James, is attempting to intimidate online sellers of the materials and tools used to make firearms into not selling them to New York residents. She claims the companies are promoting law breaking. From the ag.ny.gov:
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that she has directed the operators of 16 websites that manufacture and/or sell firearms or firearms components to “cease and desist” selling nearly complete assault weapons into New York State. The possession, manufacture, and sale of assault weapons is illegal in New York, but these companies have been providing the means to violate the state’s assault weapons ban, and often specifically advertise their products as a way to evade law enforcement with phrases like, “If they don’t know you have it, they can’t take it.”
“There is only one purpose for the products that these companies are selling — to manufacture illegal and deadly assault weapons,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “The proliferation of these types of weapons has not only caused indescribable suffering across the country, but gravely endanger every New Yorker. We must make sure that these illegal and untraceable guns are not built in New York.”
There are serious problems with AG Letitia's claims. She is the one who is breaking the law, not the sellers of metal and tools. The law banning the possession of semi-automatic rifles in New York is flagrantly unconstitutional. Such rifles are in common use, are used in self-defense and defense of the home, and are shown to be far less commonly used in crime than semi-automatic pistols. She has a duty to uphold the Constitution and the Second Amendment. A court case challenging the law worked its way to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
Unfortunately, the Courts have supported this flagrant infringement on the Second Amendment. Because of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the NYR&P club decided not to pursue the case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has yet to hear the issue.
AG Letitia James is wrong in her assertion that these products only have one purpose, and that purpose is an illegal one, based on the flagrantly unconstitutional New York law.
New York banned the sale of many semi-automatic firearms, including the ubiquitous and popular AR-15 type of rifles, based on a number of cosmetic features. Here are the cosmetic features: N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(22)
22. “Assault weapon” means
(a) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:
(i)a folding or telescoping stock;
(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
(iii) a thumbhole stock;
(iv)a second hand grip or a protruding grip that can beheld by then on-trigger hand;
(v)a bayonet mount;
(vi)a flash suppressor,muzzle break, muzzle compensator, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle break, or muzzle compensator;
(vii) a grenade launcher;
Anyone who is making a rifle from the partly machined aluminum paper weights can make legal rifles by making sure they do not have the features forbidden by the law. Such paper weights can be used to make rifles that are not semi-automatic.
Rifles that meet these requirements are not required to be registered in New York. People who move to New York can bring their rifles, which meet these requirements, into New York, without problems.
Any person can “make” an existing semi-automatic rifle into an “assault weapon” under New York law, simply by changing the grip, or stock or threading the muzzle. Such actions are much easier than doing the machining necessary to turn the paperweight into a functioning firearm.
There are several other ways the lower receiver of an AR-15 type rifle can be made by people in their homes.
The ability to make firearms is clearly part of the Second Amendment. Individuals have been legally making their own firearms for at least 500 years, which includes the entire existence of the United States.
There were no laws infringing on the making of firearms when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791.
A new infringement on the Second Amendment, such as a ban on making your own firearm, is clearly unconstitutional.
Once you try to ban the making of firearms, it becomes apparent, to have much effect, you need to make the knowledge to make firearms illegal. New York is in the process of attempting to do that. To do so, you must violate the First Amendment. From prnewswire.com:
“This has turned into a classic First Amendment case,” Gottlieb said. “Only because this case involves technical information on production of firearm components on a 3-D printer have these anti-rights officials acted to squelch it. We cannot allow this to happen.”
Then, people trying to ban the making of firearms ban the sale of firearm parts.
Then they ban the sale of tools useful in making firearms, without special licenses.
These are things the New York State government is in the process of doing.
They are blatant violations of the First Amendment and the Second Amendment.
New York has always been an incubator for infringements on the Second Amendment.
They are one of only six states without a protection for the right to keep and bear arms in their state constitution.
They were the source of the infamous Sullivan law, where organized crime boss “Big Tim” Sullivan lobbied and had passed the handgun licensing law to protect his organized crime enforcers.
In 2016, New York was the scene of another scandal where gun permits were obtained through bribes.
The New York violations of the First and Second Amendments are wending their slow, arduous way through the courts. The Supreme Court has decided to hear one New York City case. There will be a hearing on 1 October.
Elections have consequences. President Trump's appointments to the Supreme Court could make the difference in the Court deciding to do their job, and enforce the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.