Statement by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence on Assault Weapons Registrations

NYAGV released a statement following the NY State Police report on the number of assault weapons registrations.

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New York, NY - June 23, 2015 - NYAGV released the following statement following the NY State Police report on the number of assault weapons registrations.

NYAGV commends the 23,000 law abiding citizens who registered 45,000 military style assault weapons with the NY State Police since April 15, 2013. We also commend Federal Judge Skretny for his December 31, 2013 ruling that the NY SAFE Act was constitutional, including the provision requiring gun owners to register their weapons, and State Judge Thomas McNamara's recent ruling requiring the release of the registration numbers. NYAGV supports transparency.

Gun owners who have failed to register their weapons are in breach of a law that is supported by a substantial majority of all New York voters. Furthermore, 75% of New York voters and 67% of gun owning households support the assault weapons provisions of the law.

Leah Gunn Barrett, NYAGV Executive Director, said, "I don't know how SCOPE measures a handful, but I would think it would be difficult to hold 45,000 assault weapons in one hand. This is only evidence of how long overdue the SAFE Act was. The fact is, we don't know how many of these weapons are out there. The law does not require individuals to surrender their assault weapons, merely to register them. It is in the gun owner's interest to register their property in case of theft. We know that many guns are reported stolen every year in New York State and assault weapons are expensive and would fetch a high price on the black market, not to mention the harm they would do if they fell into the wrong hands. We need look no further than the massacre at Sandy Hook to see what carnage these weapons can cause."

"We recognize the possibility that a number of assault rifle owners may not be able to register their rifles since a background check would render them ineligible to possess them and they would need to surrender them and answer as to how they obtained them in the first place. Because they were available on the secondary market, any number may have been purchased by persons unable to pass a background check. I'm afraid that SCOPE naively assumes that every noncompliant owner of an assault rifle is a 'law-abiding citizen.'"

Barrett concluded, "We admire SCOPE's zeal for openness and data transparency. We hope they will continue their efforts by pushing Congress to repeal the Tiahrt amendment that prohibits the ATF from releasing firearm trace data for use by cities, states, researchers, litigants and members of the public, requires the FBI to destroy all approved gun purchaser records within 24 hours, and prohibits the ATF from requiring gun dealers to submit their inventories to law enforcement. SCOPE should also work to help reinstate the federal funding ban on gun violence research which has been in effect since 1996. We need to determine the true costs of gun violence in America, which experts have estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year. We all pay this Universal Gun Tax, whether we own guns or not."

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence is a statewide advocacy group working to reduce gun violence through advocacy and education designed to encourage action, influence public opinion and lead to policy change. With a primary focus on New York State, the organization also advocates at the local and national levels for sensible gun laws, policies and practices that protect New York State residents from gun violence.