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NY Governor Exempts Hollywood From State’s Tough Gun Law

March 1, 2013 by  

NY Governor Exempts Hollywood From State’s Tough Gun Law
SCREENSHOT
"Law and Order: SVU" is filmed in New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t intent on letting the NY SAFE Act, his State’s extremely restrictive and reactionary new gun law, hamstring police and the film industry from access to weapons that are now illegal for residents.

After rushing to pass one of the Nation’s toughest gun laws on Jan. 15 (without public hearings or the three-day waiting period required by the State constitution for any new bill), Cuomo is now telling reporters the Legislature needs to revise its language to accommodate screen productions filmed in New York so they can portray assault weapons.

Also under the “corrections,” as Cuomo describes the revisions, cops would be allowed to continue wielding high-capacity guns now off-limits for regular New Yorkers. They also would be allowed to bring their firearms onto a school campus without clearance from school personnel.

The NY SAFE Act has already banned all kinds of scary-looking guns, forced residents into passing a background check before buying ammunition and dropped magazine capacity from 10 rounds to seven. It requires doctors and mental health specialists to report gun-owning patients whom they consider to be a threat. It permits police — the ones with the high-capacity guns no one else can have — to begin disarming subjects based on probable cause instead of obtaining a warrant.

As for the Hollywood exemption, Cuomo offered this:

“I don’t know that it’s a real issue because they don’t use real guns,” he said. “Apparently, they have blanks or phony magazines or something. So I don’t know that, legally, it would even be classified as an assault weapon if it’s a phony gun. But people want certainty, and there’s no reason not to make a change like that — to give an industry comfort — especially when it’s an industry that we want doing business in the state.”

Well, shoot. In their symbolism, how do phony guns, realistically portrayed on the screen, get a cultural pass not granted the obviously phony cowboy pistols kids get in trouble for bringing out to the playground?

If grown-ups can’t defend themselves to the extent the police can and if kids can’t have some harmless fun with crude toy copies of what the film industry depicts with such realism, the upshot of Cuomo’s message is that institutions and companies are more important than people — that free people, in fact, are the threat.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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