Monday, May 15, 2017

IS JUSTICE REALLY BLIND?


THE RIGHT SIDE
Budd Schroeder is a former NRA Director for NY and Chairman of the Board to SCOPE; Shooters Committee on Political Education.  Budd & I served on the SCOPE BOD at during the same time period. bpb

BY BUDD SCHROEDER
MAY 17, 2017

IS JUSTICE REALLY BLIND?

This column has been writing about the injustices of the NY SAFE Act since it was enacted literately in the middle of the night with no chance for input from citizens or even giving the legislators time to read and intelligently debate it. Governor Cuomo passed it with a message of necessity in order to ram it into law before anyone outside of the legislature could voice any objections. It had the effect of affecting the honest gun owner and having little effect on the criminal misuse of firearms.

The message of necessity was a joke. Most of the effects of the law were delayed including the recertification of pistol permits which was was held off until this year. The dumb part about requiring a background check to buy ammunition was found to be impractical and the state had no way of doing that since it could not be part of the NICS check. Another incidence of the stupidity of the supporters of the law.

People have been having pistol permits suspended by false reports from hospitals and medical personnel regarding mental health. Some have been reported as involuntary admissions to a hospital or medical facility when they came to the hospital voluntarily. Yet, because of the mistake and a report to the Office of Mental Health , they were reported to the State Police and their pistol permits were suspended and all guns were confiscated.
There was no due process before a qualified judge, There was no evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist. The case of Montgomery v. Cuomo is still languishing in the courts because the state keeps stalling on getting it settled. Whatever became of swift and sure justice? It is being ignored by those being penalized by the SAFE Act.
The Act requires a universal background check for any transfer or sale of a gun to anyone outside of immediate family. This prevents the Amish from acquiring a gun because of the need to produce a photo ID in order to get a NICS check. When a religion prevents photographs of its members, should that be a valid reason to prevent then from enjoying a constitutional right? The supporters of the SAFE Act think so.
For those who lost their right to possess a gun because of a false report or a mistake the process is based on the perversion of the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” This has been changed to “presumed guilty until the person can prove they are innocent.” This is a timely and expensive process and the state cannot be held liable for any damages. The bureaucrats and politicians really look out for themselves when making laws.
One of the really dumb provisions of the law is the prohibition of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. The law first prohibited magazines holding more than seven rounds. Then, there was an uproar because the standard for most semi-automatic handguns is ten rounds, so they changed that part of the law that allowed ten round magazines, but said the person could put only seven rounds in it.
Along with the stupidity of this provision, police were not exempt from this part of the law and instantly, cops on duty were law breakers. This again was changed and police were allowed to carry high capacity magazines, but not civilians and civilians could load ten rounds in their ten round magazines. However, a civilian caught with a high capacity magazine could be arrested and charged with a D Felony.
No violence is necessary to make the charge. It is an easy case to prosecute because it is one of just possession and a person can be sentenced to seven years if found guilty. That is the same sentence that a person who shoots someone can get depending on the circumstances.
Recently a man was stopped for a speeding violation and was giving a roadside sobriety test. He claims he passed it twice and the police told him to do it again a third time. He questioned them about the need. One of the officers then said| “He is resisting. Arrest him,” With the arrest, his car was impounded.
When a car is impounded, the police do an inventory check and the man had a car safe in the vehicle. The police opened it and found three 17 round magazines there. No gun was present on the driver on in the car, but he was charged with three felonies, one for each magazine.
The man, who is a veteran with two tours of duty and the sole parent of a child with special needs, was tried for the crimes. He was found guilty of speeding, but cleared of the DWI charge. He also was found guilty of the magazine possession. He is awaiting sentencing. If sentenced to prison he is worried about the care of his son since the son's mother is “somewhere in California.”
It seems ironic that two of the politicians, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos were convicted of corruption two years ago and were sentenced, but are still walking around free awaiting an appeal on the charges. Seems rich and powerful people who commit real crimes have a different standard when it comes to justice.
With the differences between those those who have harmed people not going to jail and one who has not, facing jail time seems grossly unfair. Especially so when one of them has not caused any damage or harm to anyone.
In front of many courts there is a statue of Lady Justice holding a scale and with a blindfold over her eyes. In cases like this, it isn't a blindfold. It is a bandage because the SAFE Act and the politicians who passed it gouged out her eyes.
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