Anti-gun New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today demanded more gun control legislation in reaction to the Labor Day shooting of a “top lawyer in his administration,” apparently by a stray bullet, and according to CNN, he “insisted that all people looking to purchase a firearm should undergo background checks to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining a gun.”
The governor, who championed the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act – which is among the most restrictive in the country – may have gone off half-cocked. It’s unclear who fired the shot, though according to the Albany Times Union, “eight to ten shots were fired during a dispute on the street” at about 3:40 a.m. as attorney and former Cuomo aide Carey Gabay was preparing for a pre-dawn parade in Brooklyn.
This was a march called J’Ouvert, which precedes the annual West Indian American Day Carnival, the Times Union noted. This explains why Gabay was out on the streets at such an early hour Monday with many others. But it doesn’t explain why Cuomo was so quick on the gun control trigger.
Is there some indication that the culprit is someone who would have bothered with a background check in the first place? Gabay was in the right place at the wrong time, perhaps like the eight people who were killed over the holiday weekend in Chicago in shootings that left 46 others wounded, according to the Chicago Tribune.
By no small coincidence, a study released last week by the University of Chicago reported that criminals routinely avoid buying guns legally. They’d never pass a background check, so why bother?
Cuomo wants national gun control due to guns coming into the city from other states with what he considers lax gun laws. The New York Times is reporting that police have recovered one gun, a .45-caliber MAC-10, but it wasn’t clear whether Gabay was struck with a bullet from that gun. The Times account said about 30 shots were fired from perhaps three different guns, and that the incident might have been gang related. If that’s so, it’s not likely any of the participants did a background check.
Gabay was appointed First Deputy Counsel for Empire State Development in January. Prior to that he was a top Cuomo aide. As this was written, he remained in critical condition, and there had been no arrests in the case.
Cuomo told reporters that opponents of additional federal gun laws are “delusional,” the Times Union reported. Second Amendment activists might say the same thing about the governor, and anyone else who believes that criminals will be even slightly deterred by new gun laws, which seem only to penalize law-abiding gun owners.
The Times reported that the number of shooting victims has risen over the same period last year in New York. This has happened despite Cuomo’s tougher gun law, which should be considered yet another signal that such laws have not lived up to their advertising.
Gun prohibitionists have insisted that there needs to be a “national dialogue” on guns. That dialogue has been in progress for some time, and there will be more discussion later this month at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix, Sept. 25-27, sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Watch this column for more information.
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