In New York State if you report gun owners to officials and they are found to be in possession of illegal firearms after an investigation, you could score $500.
That’s because for more than a year the State has been running a “well-kept secret” tip line that offers rewards to callers depending on what comes from the gun-related information they provide. Officials in the State are discussing doubling down on efforts to use the tip line to identify gun owners.
“In our most recent meeting on Monday afternoon we talked about reviving this tip line and informing our members about it by sending out a message and scheduling a conference call to discuss it,” John Grebert, executive director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, wrote in a statement. “The Association partners with the State on a regular basis to provide local law enforcement with additional resources to help them in their efforts to reduce gun-related and violent crimes in their jurisdictions.”
The tip line was announced last year as part of a broader New York gun control push in a statement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“For too long, urban communities across New York have been devastated by gun violence, destroying families and neighborhoods,” Cuomo said at the time. “Although the crime rate in New York State has dropped 60 percent, making it the safest large state in the country, we must do all we can to stop the violence and make sure our residents are protected and our streets are safe. These initiatives will give communities the tools they need to effectively fight gun violence and reduce crime, making the state a safer and better place to live for all.”
Privacy and gun rights advocates in the State have called for officials to do away with the tip line, which they say is a way to coax New Yorkers into spying on one another. Opponents argue that the Orwellian gun control measure gives law enforcement officials too much power to harass legal gun owners based solely on hearsay.