SAFE Act should be enforced even when violators are veterans

Posted 30 November 2017 at 10:32 am


A local man was recently convicted of criminal possession of 3 high capacity magazines complete with 17 rounds of ammunition in each. The conviction was foreseeable under the laws of the state of NY.

After conviction the defendant was leniently sentenced to a conditional discharge by Niagara County Court Judge Matthew Murphy III. The judge noted that the sentence was not a commentary on the state law but rather recognition of the defendant’s exemplary military service. The defendant was supported by many like-minded gun owners who had been urged to attend his sentencing via social media.

It’s great that so many citizens showed up or wrote to support the veteran at his sentencing; however, true advocates would advise family and friends that there are foreseeable consequences to engaging in unlawful conduct. The right to bear arms comes with a concomitant obligation and responsibility to do so in a lawful manner, no matter your personal opinion of the SAFE Act or other such laws.

I applaud County Court Judge Murphy for showing compassion and leniency to the veteran and gratitude for his service. This should not, however, be seen as a free pass for others. The fact of the matter is that the SAFE Act has now been in effect for almost 5 years and has been upheld by every court that has heard it; further the US Supreme Court has refused to hear challenges to similar cases.

It is disingenuous to think that because one served in the military or that certain county sheriffs say that they will not enforce it – that it is OK to flagrantly violate the law. We thank you for your service in protecting our country which is founded on the rule of law, however that service does not entitle you to violate our laws with impunity.

Paul McQuillen

Upstate Coordinator

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence