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“Immediately surrender your Rifle and/or Shotgun to your local police precinct, and notify this office of the invoice number,” the letter stated. “The firearm may be sold or permanently removed from the City of New York thereafter.”
The letter was sent to around 500 New Yorkers who owned rifles or shotguns with a capacity of holding more than five rounds, Fox News and TheTruthAboutGuns.com reported. The rather draconian letter gave people who own such weapons four choices:
- Sell the gun to somebody outside of the city.
- Turn the weapon into the police.
- Move the weapon to a location outside the city.
- Have a licensed gunsmith modify the weapon to fire five rounds or less.
Such weapons are illegal under a relatively new city law. Most of the weapons are legal in the rest of the state, not to mention the rest of the country.
Gun owners will have to provide the NYPD with written proof that the weapon has been sold, modified or moved outside the city, according to the letter. The written proof will have to be notarized.
The reason behind the confiscation
The letters are an effort to enforce a New York City ordinance that has been on the books since 2010. They have nothing to do with the Secure Ammunition and Fire Arms Enforcement or SAFE Act passed by the New York state legislature which is one of the nation’s strictest state gun control laws.
No legal challenges have been filed yet in NYC, but one could be forthcoming.
“We think it’s an abuse of power by the NYPD,” Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, told Fox News.
“A gun collector who has never fired a gun in his life, but has a few antiques, might have to get them altered,” King noted. “These are not the people law enforcement should be targeting.”
It is not clear if the NYPD has actually tried to arrest anybody or confiscate any guns under the ordinance. Common sense would dictate that there are probably thousands if not tens of thousands of weapons in violation of the ordinance in New York City, which has 8.3 million residents. The NYPD would have to devote all of its manpower and search every structure in the five boroughs to enforce the ordinance.
Not the only mass gun control effort in New York
People who think that such enforcement efforts are farfetched should take a look at other recent gun control efforts in New York, such as the controversial “Stop and Frisk.”
Under the Stop and Frisk policy, New York police officers can stop anybody they suspect of carrying an illegal gun on the street and search them without a warrant. Those searched don’t have to be suspected of a crime; they simply have to be on the street.
The program generated a lot of controversy because 84 percent of those stopped were African-Americans or Hispanics. Critics called it racist and took the NYPD to court over it. Stop and Frisk is still under legal challenge in federal courts.
Interestingly enough some observers believe that Stop and Frisk was an issue in the recent New York Mayor’s election. The winner of the election, Bill de Blasio, is an outspoken critic of Stop and Frisk. Political observers think that much of de Blasio’s support came from African American and Hispanic New Yorkers who were fed up with Stop and Frisk and other policies of outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
One of Mr. de Blasio’s first actions as mayor-elect was to announce the replacement of Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, the architect of Stop and Frisk, with former commissioner William J. Bratton. Bratton is credited with cleaning up the NYPD after corruption scandals in the 1990s.
It isn’t known if Bratton and de Blasio will continue the crackdown on rifles and shotguns or not. Still, this letter is a frightening example of the direction gun control advocates might take when passing similar laws elsewhere.