The police in Buffalo, New York are planning to pay a visit to the estates of people who die. But this will only apply to a certain class of citizens – pistol permit holders. Unfortunately, the police will not be paying a visit to offer their condolences to family members of the deceased.
Instead, the police are starting a program to confiscate firearms. In order to better “serve and protect”, the police department will be running a cross check between the death records and gun permit holders. They are, of course, doing this in the name of public safety.
I suppose this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, particularly out of New York. This is the state that locked up football player Plaxico Burress for shooting himself in the leg. The crime wasn’t public endangerment, but the fact that Burress possessed a gun. Government officials in New York don’t want anyone possessing a gun except for themselves.
It will be interesting to see if this new program goes forward. It would have little chance in the south, but there may not be enough gun advocates in Buffalo to stop this.
As one Buffalo attorney pointed out, if the police come to your door without a warrant signed by a judge, you don’t have to let them in or give them anything. Let’s hope the people in Buffalo understand their rights. It is hard to imagine that the police will get a signed warrant, but anything is possible. Unfortunately, the police know that they can show up at doors without warrants and some people will be intimidated into giving up their rights.
Gun Rights or Property Rights?
While this is a major government overstep that is getting the attention of gun owners and gun advocates – as well it should – this is as much of a property rights issue as a gun rights issue.
If the Buffalo police confiscate the guns of deceased people, this can often be thousands of dollars or more worth of firearms. The guns can also be a piece of family history.
This program in Buffalo stems from a state law that says if a gun owner dies, the estate has 15 days to turn in the guns to police. And if the guns aren’t turned in, then police can confiscate them. This law does not apply to long guns.
We sometimes hear people say that instead of passing new gun laws, we should just enforce what is already on the books. I couldn’t disagree more because many of the gun laws go completely against property rights and a free society. The Buffalo police are trying to enforce a really bad law here that is already on the books.
This should concern everyone – even those who have no interest in owning a gun. This is a complete violation of property rights. If someone owns a gun, they should be able to pass it down to their heirs, just like any other item. It doesn’t matter if it is a television, a diamond ring, or a gun. It is owned property, and as an owner, you have the right to pass that on to others.
If this program goes into effect in Buffalo, I don’t see it spreading throughout the country. Maybe it will spread in New York. But it will also be interesting to see the unforeseen consequences of implementing this.
If anything, this will just encourage people to break other laws. Perhaps some people will stop registering for a permit to avoid detection. It is also possible that the city and/or state may end up with a lot of lawsuits in court over this.
I know that many gun advocates will disagree with me on this, but I don’t see this as a 2nd Amendment issue. I believe the 2nd Amendment was designed to prevent federal gun laws. I believe that all federal gun laws should be repealed.
But for this New York law, it is really a fight for the people of New York, or more specifically, Buffalo. They should not rely on the U.S. Supreme Court to knock this law down. The people of Buffalo need to take a stand against this infringement on gun rights and property rights. It is a bad law and it shouldn’t be enforced.