NY-SAFE Act reforms to take effect; memorandum signals change

The senate Republican majority in Albany has secured a legally binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the governor’s office amending provisions of the NY-SAFE Act, according to State Senator James L. Seward, who hailed it as a clear victory for Second Amendment rights in New York state.

The MOU was announced on July 10.

“While I will continue to work for full repeal of the poorly crafted, over-reaching NY-SAFE Act, this is a significant accomplishment,” Seward said. 

“[The MOU] constitutes the only modifications that have been made to this law since it was enacted two years ago over my objection,” he said.

The MOU signed by New York State Director of Operations James Malatras and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan suspends a portion of the NY-SAFE Act establishing a statewide database requiring purchasers of ammunition to undergo a background check.

The MOU also ends the moratorium on internet sales of ammunition, according to Seward.

A spokeperson for Governor Cuomo’s office disagrees with that interpretation, however. He said that the MOU applies only to the establishment of a statewide database. The intent of the MOU, from the governor’s perspective, was not to relax current internet sales restrictions.

But Seward claims that the state’s withdrawal from the database requirement effectively removes rationale for the prohibition of internet sales.

Cases will be made by lawyers on both sides, and ultimately the courts will decide, Seward said.

Regardless, the recognition of flaws to the database requirement is a clear victory, Seward said.

“The plan to establish a statewide ammunition database has been fraught with problems since it was first conceived, not to mention it infringes on the rights of lawful firearm owners,” he said.

Taxpayers were being socked as well, according to Seward.

“I successfully helped shut off funding that was being wasted on trying to establish this database and am extremely pleased that the entire idea will now be abandoned,” he said.

Along with leading the effort to repeal the NY-SAFE Act, Senator Seward has also blocked other gun control measures advanced by the state assembly and senate Democrats such as microstamping, mandatory liability insurance for firearm owners, and a ban on .50 caliber firearms, which would include many hunting calibers.

Earlier this year legislation (S.5837) sponsored by Senator Seward, amending several of the most onerous sections of the NY-SAFE Act, received senate approval.  This was the first time any bill amending the NY-SAFE Act was acted upon by the legislature.  The state assembly failed to even bring the bill forward for a vote.

“[Earlier this year] the state senate took the lead and passed legislation that would erase some of the most burdensome provisions of the NY-SAFE Act while also keeping other gun control laws at bay. While the state assembly failed to join us, the senate Republican majority continued to work to restore Second Amendment rights to lawful firearm owners,”  Seward said.

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