Nobody is coming for your guns, they said. Nobody is taking away your rights, they said. This is all about public safety, they said.
Nearly a year ago, the New York legislature passed the toughest gun control law in the country known as the S.A.F.E. Act. It was rushed through in the middle of the night and as soon as it landed on Governor Cuomo's desk, he signed it without asking questions. Now, local and state government are taking the opportunity to crack down on regulations already on the books which means for many, turn in your guns or leave.
The New York City Police Department is taking aim at owners of certain shotguns and rifles, telling them all long guns with a five-round or more capacity must be turned in, altered or taken out of town.
An estimated 500 recipients of the notices, which were mailed on Nov. 18, were given the options to surrender their gun, permanently move the gun out of city jurisdiction or employ a licensed gunsmith to modify the weapon to get into compliance with the law. Rifles and shotguns with a capacity of five or more rounds are affected.
Though these notices were not sent out as a direct result of the SAFE Act, New York State Assemblyman James Tedisco said the new law may embolden city police forces to send out similar letters.
Tedisco, who voted against the SAFE Act, said New York City had the five-round law in the books for about 20 years, but this is the first time he has heard complaints about the notices being sent out to gun owners.
"These letters appear to be another example of the Nanny State," Tedisco said. "Hypothetically, it can start with a letter, and then that can lead to someone knocking on your door saying, 'I want to see your gun.'"