A former GOP candidate for the New York Senate was arrested last week for violating provisions of the state’s new sweeping gun control law, the New York SAFE Act.
Gia M. Arnold, 26, was arrested on felony charges for criminal possession of a loaded rifle and a handgun along with a combat knife after being pulled over in Niagara Falls last Wednesday Night, around 10:30 p.m., reports The Buffalo News.
Arnold, a mother of three, who was driving with her boyfriend, 18-year-old Halim Johnson, was pulled over for a traffic violation, according to Niagara Falls Police Capt. Michael Trane.
After allegedly failing to use a turn signal at an intersection, officers Tommie Caldwell and Marsha Gee, who work under the department’s Roving Anti-Crime Unit, pulled Arnold over. While those two officers were conducting a records check, a third officer, Michael Tarnowski, arrived on scene and asked Arnold to step out of the vehicle.
“Before she got out, she had pushed her coat over the rifle, which was wedged between her seat and the door jam, trying to hide the rifle,” said Capt. Trane.
“Tarnowski immediately placed her in handcuffs,” continued Capt. Trane. “Caldwell then had Johnson step out of the vehicle and Caldwell spotted a handgun with a red bandana around its grip in the driver’s side door cup holder.”
Police also said they found a black ski mask in the vehicle.
Both Arnold and Johnson were placed in police custody at the Niagara County Jail in Lockport. Bail was set at $5,000. They were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
As we all know, there are two sides to every story. To that end, a defense fund has been set up to help Arnold with the legal fees. On the website, the supporters of Arnold tell a different story, arguing that Arnold and her boyfriend are victims of “the NYS (UN)Safe Act and racial profiling.”
Basically, the website claims that the officers “started harassing her boyfriend and accusing him of having drugs.” Apparently, Arnold wanted to know what probable cause the officers had to continue their interrogation. When they failed to provide a satisfactory answer, Arnold stopped answering questions at which point she was “arrested for ‘Obstructing the duty of a Government Official,” states the website.
The vehicle was then searched, however, no drugs were found. The website goes on to state, “But a Non-Compliant rifle under the NY (UN)Safe Act was found. This rifle was never considered illegal before the (UN)Safe Act was passed into law, and many citizens consider this law null and void since it infringes on our 2nd Amendment rights. She was then charged with an illegal weapons charge which is a felony under the (UN)Safe Act.”
So, based on the available facts, which at this point seem to be rather sparse, what are your thoughts? Is this a case of a good gun owner getting ensnared by the overreaching tentacles of the SAFE Act or is there enough evidence to suggest that this young couple was up to no good?
Independent of one’s thoughts on Arnold’s case, one can certainly say the SAFE Act’s expanded ban on black rifles is unfair and unconstitutional.