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SAFE Act makes criminals out of law-abiding citizens

The NY SAFE Act should be called the SAFE Criminals Act, for only criminals are safe from prosecution of the major components of this law. The 1968 U.S. Supreme Court case Haynes v. United States involved Miles Edward Haynes, who was precluded from owning firearms due to criminal convictions, yet still illegally obtained a handgun. The National Firearms Act of 1934 demanded firearms with short barrels (easily concealable) to be registered, with failure to do so resulting in a crime. Haynes was arrested for illegal possession of an unregistered firearm, and was charged with same. The court found in a 7-2 majority that Haynes could not be charged with failing to register his firearm, because had he done so, his action would have resulted in self-incrimination. We are protected from self-incrimination by the Fifth Amendment.

The SAFE Act requires law-abiding citizens to register scary looking rifles or risk a felony charge. The criminal is safe from this law because of the Fifth Amendment. The law requires all law-abiding citizens to sell their private property (firearms) through a Federal Firearms License dealer and undergo national background checks, both seller and buyer. The criminal need not follow this part of the law, either. Criminals are safer, indeed.

What the SAFE Act accomplished is creating criminals out of law-abiding citizens through arbitrary and capricious actions. Those who passed this law are lawyers, expected to understand established law before crafting new laws. The SAFE Act is pure bad law, and had all involved upheld their oath of office, we would not have this today.

Rich Davenport

Tonawanda