Probably the most enlightening conversation I had at SHOT Show 2015 was with Barry Covert, an attorney from Buffalo, New York, who specializes in Constitutional law, including the First and Second Amendments.
We started out discussing the draconian New York SAFE Act, which was rammed through the state Legislature by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The SAFE Act is a disaster. It’s no secret. And its dysfunction is something I’ve covered on numerous occasions. The question I had for Barry is whether the citizens of the Empire State have any chance of repealing the law or getting a judge or court to declare that it is unconstitutional?
Barry’s a realist. He explained while there does appear to be room for discrete challenges against the law, e.g. the provision that prohibits one from inheriting a so-called “assault weapon” from a family member (It’s lawfully owned property, why wouldn’t a son or daughter be allowed to inherit the firearm assuming the person is a law-abiding citizen?), the overall nuts and bolts of the legislation — the expanded definition of “assault weapon,” the “assault weapon” registry, the retroactive ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, etc., will likely remain intact.
Ultimately, time will tell what happens with the SAFE Act. Let’s hope that the very Blue state that is New York has a come to jesus moment with respect to firearms. Don’t hold your breath though.
On the issue of Order of Protection, or retraining order, Barry had some very insightful comments. Basically, it’s not uncommon during an acrimonious divorce for one spouse to slap the other with an order of protection, even if no crime has been committed. It’s a way for that spouse to gain an upper hand during the divorce proceedings (especially if there are children involved) as well as to make the other’s life a living hell.
When an order of protection is issued in New York State (and many others) that spouse has to surrender to the state all his/her firearms, as Barry pointed out. Once this happens, it becomes very difficult for that individual to restore his or her Second Amendment rights. With courts and judges erring on the side of the accuser and not the accused, it becomes a form of backdoor gun confiscation.
What’s Barry’s advice? Well, if you see things start to unravel in your personal life, it’s best to lawyer-up and get out in front of the situation before things turn ugly.