New York State Safe Act    

Our NYS legislators and the Governor show how dysfunctional they could be when they enacted the New York State Safe Act of 2013 earlier this year. They enacted laws that directly affected both active and retired police officers and the weapons that they use and carry. Shortly after signing the law, they realized the mistakes that they had made and hastily made some revisions to the law.

In particular, Governor Cuomo signed an amendment to the NYS safe Act to increase magazine capacity and ease restrictions on possessing assault weapons for retired police officers.

Again, our dysfunctional legislators have made a mess of things in their act to amend things. A synopsis of the amendment’s impact on the existing laws of the NYS SAFE Act is as follows:  A qualified retired New York or federal law enforcement officer who separated from service in good standing from a public agency located in New York State in which such person served as a police officer, and before such separation, served as a police officer for five years or more, or separated from service with such agency, after completing any applicable probationary period of such service, due to a service-connected disability, as determined by such agency at or before the time of separation and has not been found by a qualified medical professional employed by such agency to be unqualified for reasons relating to mental health; or has not entered into an agreement with such agency from which the individual is separating from service in which that individual acknowledges he or she is not qualified for reasons relating to mental health; and is not otherwise prohibited by New York or federal law from possessing any firearm.

Subdivision eight of section 265.02 and sections 265.36 and 265.37 of this chapter shall not apply to a qualified retired New York law enforcement officer as defined in subdivision twenty-five of section 265.00 of this article, with respect to:  large capacity ammunition feeding devices issued to such officer or purchased by such officer in the course of his or her official duties and owned by such officer at the time of his or her retirement or comparable replacements for such devices, if: the agency that employed the officer qualified such officer in the use of the weapon which accepts such device in accordance with applicable state or federal standards for active duty law enforcement officers within twelve months prior to his or her retirement; and such retired officer meets, at his or her own expense, such applicable standards for such weapon at least once within three years after his or her retirement date and at least once every three years thereafter, any such qualified officer who has been retired for eighteen months or more on the effective date of this subdivision shall have eighteen months from such effective date to qualify in the use of the weapon which accepts such large capacity ammunition feeding device according to the provisions of this subdivision, provided that such officer is otherwise qualified and maintains compliance with the provisions of this subdivision.

Subdivision 16-a of section 400.00 of the penal law is amended by adding a new paragraph (a-1) to read as follows:  Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, an owner of an assault weapon as defined in subdivision twenty-two of section 265.00 of this chapter, who is a qualified retired New York law enforcement officer (section 265.00), where such weapon was issued to or purchased by such officer prior to retirement and in the course of his or her official duties, and for which such officer was qualified by the agency that employed such officer within twelve months prior to his or her retirement, must register such weapon within sixty days of retirement.

The amendment, as it currently exists, is extremely vague in regard to how our members may satisfy the qualifier of a retired officer to “qualify in the use of the weapon which accepts such large capacity ammunition feeding device”.  As you already know, the Nassau County Police Department is one of many departments that refuse to offer any of their retired members a training program that they can quality under the provisions of HR218.  Members must go to outside agencies to be certified. The NYS Safe Act goes directly against the provisions of the Federal HR218. Where will this all lead to? We can’t answer that because our dysfunctional state legislators can’t get things right. We should all remember this when election time rolls about.

For information and FAQ’s about HR218 and the NY Safe Act 2013 click here.