One of the mandates of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, passed in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was to require background checks on ammo purchases.
Well, several years after the rollout of the SAFE Act, the database that was supposed to be set up to conduct background checks for ammo purchasers is non-existent, so state lawmakers — unsurprisingly — had to postpone the mandate and did so by signing a memorandum last week.
Some are calling it a victory for gun rights, while others believe that it’s just delaying the inevitable.
“They don’t have the technology. The state police have told them that in Senate testimony. And so this memo says they’re not going to put it into practice until they have the technology worked out which doesn’t change anything. It’s what they were gonna do all along,” Steven Aldstadt of the Shooters Committee on Political Education or SCOPE told WGRZ.
In other words, the memo changed nothing and background checks for ammo purchases are still going to be required in the future.
Yet, Republican State Senator Patrick Gallivan claims that some progress has been made to undermine the draconian SAFE Act.
“The positive out of this is that we’ve got acknowledgement from the Governor’s office through the signing of the MOU that there are problems with the SAFE Act,” said Gallivan.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Gov. Cuomo, the architect of the SAFE Act, argued that the memo was just about timing, not whether the mandate would or would not be enacted.
“To be clear, the memorandum reiterates the administration’s intention to implement a functional database when it is ready and reinforces that the system cannot be launched prematurely,” said spokesman Alphonso David. “The memorandum can in no way superscede the law as passed by the legislature and further, there is nothing in the memorandum that is inconsistent with the letter, spirit or intent of the law.”
So, maybe one could argue that the delay via the memo is a chink in the armor of the SAFE Act — but it doesn’t appear to be a victory. Until the SAFE Act is unilaterally gutted and repealed, one would be hard pressed to say that any effort is a “victory.”