Shooters' Committee On Political Education


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How Pataki's gun laws affect legal gun owners

It has come to my attention that many gun owners are still confused or unaware of exactly what Governor Pataki’s gun package is all about. So, I thought a little review of this law might be helpful.

The "assault weapon" ban portion of this law seems to get the most attention and misinterpretation. Governor Pataki and almost any of our legislators you ask will insist that the assault weapon ban is an exact mirror of the federal law and there is no need worry about it. In fact, there are three distinct differences between the federal law and New York law.

There is no "sunset" provision in our New York law, which means that if we are lucky enough to prevent the renewal of the federal law in 2004 then we in New York will be stuck with a very enforceable assault weapon ban.

Secondly there has been added to the description of an assault weapon this phrase "or functioning frames or receivers of such weapons". What this addition does is still a bit unclear but it certainly muddies the waters and makes the law open to broader interpretation by law enforcement and the courts.

Lastly the federal law discriminates between pre ban and post ban guns by date of manufacture. What this means is that any gun made before the ban went into effect, September 1994, can still be possessed and sold or traded.

The New York law has changed this to date of possession. Possession under the law means to have "dominion and control" over something. So, if you possessed one of these pre ban guns prior to the 1994 cutoff date the law seems to put you in the clear to own it. The problem with this possessed date comes when you want to transfer that gun to another person. Since that person cannot possibly have possessed that gun prior to 1994, can he legally possess it now? The law did nothing to clarify that issue but by the definition of the word possessed it appears that you would not be able to legally possess that pre ban gun in New York if you purchased it after the 1994 cutoff date.

If Governor Pataki had wanted a true mirror of the federal law, why didn't they just copy it word for word? Curiously, the large capacity magazine portion of the assault weapon ban is word for word with the federal law!

Next Governor Pataki's law raised the age to get a pistol permit to age 21 under the premise that we shouldn’t allow those under 21 to buy handguns. A New York pistol permit does not give you free reign to purchase a handgun, you still must pass a background check and under federal law you must be 21 to purchase a handgun. Additionally, there is zero evidence of under 21 permit holders being involved in gun crimes. No legitimate law enforcement need was satisfied by this change it is just another way to discourage our youth from getting involved in shooting sports.

The Combined Ballistics Identification System or CoBIS was created by the governor’s package for the purpose of creating a database of fired shell casings from new handguns to aid law enforcement in tracing crime guns. The biggest problem with this system is that handguns are machines and over time, with use, the characteristics of that gun will change and after a certain number of rounds through the gun the shell casing marks will no longer match the markings of when the gun was new. In addition, someone with criminal intent can change the markings the gun leaves with a simple nail file.

We understand from forensic experts, this system would also pollute the crime gun database with thousands of non-crime guns, making it more difficult for the police to get a proper match.

In an effort to close the so-called gun show "loophole", Governor Pataki’s law also included new regulations governing gun shows. All gun sales at gun shows now are required to undergo background checks before the sale can be concluded. This includes any sales between private parties that takes place at a gun show or if the sale was started at a gun show.

The most troubling part of these gun show regulations is the first part of the definition of a gun show."Gun show" means an event sponsored, whether for profit or not, by an individual, national, state or local organization, association or other entity devoted to the collection, competitive use, sporting use, or any other legal use of firearms, rifles or shotguns.

This statement is such a clear violation of our 1st Amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly that I am shocked that an attorney would write put it in writing!

This definition is so broad that our monthly SCOPE meetings can be considered a gun show!

With the addition of "or assault weapon" Pataki's Law has changed the definition of a firearm, until this change firearm meant handgun or certain shortened rifles and shotguns. Laws that were intended to target illegal handguns could now be used against law-abiding citizens who just happen to have a gun collection that includes some of these "assault weapons".

There's more in this law but the rest is inconsequential compared to what is outlined above.

Rest assured that there will be more anti gun legislation coming as we get closer to the election. Governor Pataki will undoubtedly once again employ more lies and distortions to attack gun ownership in his bid for re-election. We must not sit back and let this happen. Individual activism is the only hope we have to stop further erosion of our rights. Each of you must get involved, must get others involved, only through numbers can we hope to defeat those who would rape our Constitution.

Ken Mathison
President, SCOPE, Inc.

SCOPE initiates lawsuit against Pataki and the State of New York

Following passage of the governor’s extensive gun control package last year, the SCOPE Board of Directors appointed a committee to investigate the feasibility of a lawsuit seeking to overturn the most restrictive gun control law in New York history.

The Governor’s package includes:

  • a ban on assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices
  • mandatory trigger locks at point of sale of all firearms, rifles and shotguns
  • a ballistic identification databank from sales of firearms, rifles or shotguns at gun shows (backdoor gun registration)
  • raising the minimum age for a pistol license to 21 years of age
  • to amend the executive law and the state finance law, in relation to establishing a gun trafficking interdiction program and a gun tracer program
  • to amend the penal law, in relation to requiring the report of a stolen or lost weapon to a police agency
  • to authorize a study relating to the availability and effectiveness of existing technology for use of "smart guns " This may eventually lead to a mandatory requirement that all guns be "smart guns" pricing many people out of the self defense market. Note also that because of reliability concerns many police officers are refusing to carry "smart guns" even on a trial basis.

The committee after careful consideration and consultation with legal counsel issued a recommendation to the Board of Directors of SCOPE that many key provisions to the governor’s new law were suspect and vulnerable to challenge in the courts.

Just one example, now coming to fruition, the provision raising pistol licenses to 21 years of age. Reports are coming in from around the state that pistol license holders under 21 years of age who have gone through the application process and have a legally issued license are being ordered to turn in their licenses. They committed no crime they submitted finger prints, photos and passed extensive background checks and now they are being told turn in their guns. So much for the claim by Senator Bruno and Governor Pataki that law abiding gun owners would not be hurt by this law.

The SCOPE Board of Directors based on the findings of the committee has retained legal counsel and is now in the early stages of filing suit. Detailed arguments are now being formulated addressing key points of the new law and filing will take place in early 2001. More details will be forthcoming as this case moves along.

Not surprising to anyone, litigating a case like this will be quite costly, adding insult to injury we will be arguing against state attorneys paid for by your tax dollars. In other words your tax dollars will be used to convince a court that your Second Amendment rights should be severely restricted.

Make no mistake about it, this will be a costly but necessary venture. The Board of Directors of SCOPE fully appreciates the magnitude of the task we are undertaking. SCOPE has prided itself as being fiscally prudent, keeping our membership dues low, and limiting the number of times we approach our members for additional funds.

This is one of those times when we must appeal for your help. Whether as an individual, a club or your company we need your financial support to pursue this lawsuit. We are asking you for the most generous contribution you can make. The full weight of state government is what we are up against, we can fight it with your help but we must have your help!

Please be as generous as you can. Make your checks payable to:

SCOPE Legal Defense Fund
PO Box 602
Tonawanda NY 14151-0602

SCOPE's 5 point plan to fight the Governor's unconstitutional attack on your rights
  1. Call and write your State Senator (check your phone book for their number at the home office) and urge your Senator to vehemently oppose the Governor's new law that disarms New Yorkers. You MUST also contact State Senator Joe Bruno - the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and tell him NOT to go along with Pataki's assault on your rights. Contact them at Room 909 LOB, Albany, NY 12247. Telephone (518) 455-3191, Fax at (518) 455-2448

  2. Call and write Governor Pataki and demand he withdraw his attack on law abiding gun owners and advise him that money wasted on Gun DNA would be better spent on law enforcement.

    Hon. George E. Pataki
    Executive Chambers State Capitol
    Albany NY 12224
    Phone: (518) 474-8390, E-mail:

  3. Call and write President George W. Bush. Tell him that gun owners cannot support candidates who walk away from the Second Amendment and refuse to protect your rights as a citizen.

    (We hope to update this soon to reflect his move to the White House)
    President George W. Bush
    PO Box 1902
    Austin, Texas 78767-1902
    Phone (512) 637-2000, Fax (512) 637-8800, Web Site:

  4. Recruit at least one friend or family member to join us in this crucial fight. Use the SCOPE membership application at our web site or in your last newsletter to add to our ranks. Please support this important lawsuit! The need for gun owners to fight back has never been greater.

  5. Contact Your County Republican Party Chairman. The Republican Party statewide must take the heat for the governor's betrayal of your rights. Let them know that the party will find thousands of gun owners walking away if they condone Pataki's attack on you! Call the Conservative Party chairmen in your county as well - insist that the party stay away from Pataki.

Gun owners and all who would defend the rights of citizens to be citizens not subjects- must respond with SCOPE's 5 Point Plan. Now! No one can sit by and let another do it.

You must respond to this alert by acting on every one of SCOPE's points - call now- don't wait.

Spread the word!
Copy this letter and pass it on and urge others to help save their Second Amendment rights. Our gun rights are in grave danger and the time for action is right now!!!

Act Now to implement SCOPE's 5 Point Plan.

Get contact information for your senator by using your zip-code.
Contact SCOPE at (716)720-9248 or on the web at

"Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins." - Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, Mafia informant, Vanity Fair magazine interview, August 1999



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