Tag: New York

Red Flag Laws: Emotion-Fueled Gun Legislation

Tom DiGennaro | United States

New York Democrats passed the states first gun control package since the SAFE Act of 2013 on January 26th, 2019. 30 day waiting periods, bump stock ban, prohibition of teachers carrying in schools, and red flag laws were passed through the state legislature.

New York’s state government is under one-party control. Democrat Andrew Cuomo is in the governor’s mansion and a Democrat majority controls both the state assembly and senate.  This democratic-run state government passed all six gun control bills bought to the floor. Most notably is the red-flag law and the dangers associated with the passage of such legislation.

Red Flag Laws

Red flag laws allow family members, school officials or law enforcement to go to a judge, who then can order confiscation of firearms or halt the purchase of. Due process will not be afforded to those subject to such legal interjections.

This type of government power is incredibly dangerous; it is unclear how far the government will go in infringing upon rights, but this gives them the immense potential to do so.

Emotion Clouds Judgement

This yet another example of the all-to-familiar trading of liberties for securities. Obviously, incidents, where there are fatalities as a result of gun violence, are tragic. However, far too often emotion clouds judgment. The mother of a victim of the Parkland shooting appeared alongside Governor Cuomo. “Parkland would’ve never happened if they had a red flag law”, she claims.

Emotion is fueling this fear and hatred of firearms that led to this legislation passing through the state legislature. More often than not, those who fear firearms and advocate for gun control know next to nothing about basic firearm safety. Most have never even held one. And a vast majority fails to understand both the implications of the power red flag laws give the government, as well as the ineffectiveness of such regulations to curbing gun violence. Ignorance breeds fear, and fear breeds hate.

This set of regulations is the first time New York has introduced and passed gun laws since the SAFE Act that followed the Sandy Hook shooting six years ago. With a Democrat-controlled state government, you can bet the next set of gun regulations and stripping of due process will be coming in the near future.


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NYC Handgun Laws Pending Supreme Court Review

Tom DiGennaro | United States

New York is rather low on the list of gun-friendly states, and New York City is even harsher on Second Amendment Rights. In fact, New York is one of the only states that allows counties and cities to have differing gun laws. Legally licensed handgun owners in the city are only allowed to transport their firearms directly to and from the shooting range. During this time, they must remain locked, unloaded, and away from your person, with the ammunition separate.

In addition, it is extremely difficult for handgun owners on Long Island to transport their guns upstate and out of state. The same, of course, is true for travel in the opposite direction. Traveling through NYC is the only accessible land route to and from Long Island, which has slightly more lenient gun laws. (Emphasis on slightly). New York State Law outlaws the transportation of any loaded firearms out of compliance with specific carry provisions. For example, these provisions may allow someone to take a gun to a range or one’s place of business. Carry licenses from other counties of New York do not allow carry in the five boroughs of New York City.

The Supreme Court and Handgun Laws

The New York State Pistol and Rifle Association, along with three NYC gun owners, has challenged the constitutionality of the city’s regulations under the Second Amendment. The Southern District of New York’s Federal Court of Appeals then struck down the petitioners motion. However, the United States Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari and will hear the case in 2019.

Firearm legislation in New York City has done little to reduce violent crime. In 2019 so far, there has been an average of 13 shootings per week. Perpetrators overwhelmingly used illegal firearms for the attacks.

Currently, the SAFE Act also applies to the state of New York. This piece of legislation limits magazine capacity and forces modification of semi-automatic rifles to comply with state standards. It also creates permit requirements for all firearms in New York City and handguns statewide.

There are presently proposals for “red flag” laws, extended waiting periods, and requiring handgun applicants to surrender their social media passwords and search engine history. The Supreme Court review, however, will call into question the state of current gun laws. If they overturn some of the handgun laws, it will make it extremely difficult for the state to pass future legislation to restrict gun ownership.


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New Yorkers can Fight Corruption by Voting Larry Sharpe

By Trey Johnson | United States

Larry Sharpe (L) is a Bronx native, a Marine Corps veteran, an entrepreneur, and a management consultant. He moreover has 15 years of experience mentoring international executives, entrepreneurs & salespeople. He is also a teacher and has served as a guest instructor for business management and leadership at institutions such as Yale University, Columbia University, Baruch College and John Jay College.

In a recent poll, when pitted against the incumbent, Larry Sharpe was the closest competitor. The Republican candidate fell short where Larry came close, gaining 49% of the non-Cuomo votes. He thus truly believes this is a three-way race where a third party candidate has the opportunity to make a run for the office.

Like Democrats, Larry believes voter apathy is the reason why citizens enable incumbents like the current Governor of New York. He is asking for New Yorkers to get out and vote: not for a corrupt Democrat, nor the try-hard Republican, but for a fresh new party moving up in the ranks of American Politics.

Libertarian thinkers have a higher IQ on average than any other set of beliefs. Libertarian principles are, of course, rooted in the revolutionary American ideals that created this great country. American voters have come to the realization that money in politics is the root of corruption. And, Larry Sharpe promises to decrease the amount of money available to corrupt individuals to choke their supply of power.

A View for the Future

Sharpe went on the Joe Rogan podcast where expressed his plan for New York state and how he intends to bring sanity back to the governorship. As a former teacher, he has a plan to reform the education system in New York. He believes empowering local teachers and Parent Teacher Associations is the key to saving New York’s failing education system.

Larry wants to save New York. If New Yorkers vote Democrat or Republican, the incumbent will win the election and nothing will change. Without a doubt, the state deserves a leader who is not corrupt and will not lead the state down the same unchanged path. New Yorkers deserve Larry Sharpe.


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NYC Passes Legislation to Limit Services of Uber, Lyft

By Dane Larsen | @therealdanelars

This Wednesday, the City Council of New York voted in favor of putting a cap on private companies that provide ride shares throughout the city.

The demand for these services in the public eye has grown exponentially recently. Lyft, for example, formed in 2012. Its alternative in the market, Uber, first operated in 2009. These companies have since gained a lot of traction, with just around 100,000 ride-sharing vehicles in the City, not counting the 20,000 yellow cabs. Each ride share company gives 10,000 rides per day to settle the high demand of people in the city. The number is only likely to grow. So, citizens are concerned that the government is passing this limiting bill.

The legislation itself calls for the restriction of access to get a licence for legitimate service with the major companies involved. Though the city has had taxi-cabs for as long as it has been the epicenter of the world economy, the implementation of private companies into this sector of the economy has caused a never-before-seen boom in the market. The city will, effective immediately, halt the option to obtain these licences for 12 months while they “research the… industry”. The council is said to have voted it down because of reduced revenue for public taxis. Uber and Lyft are also reportedly a net loss for the state department.

In addition, the city will provide a higher minimum wage to the employees of ride share companies Lyft, Uber, Via, and Juno. This minimum wage for the service will be $17.22, come the implementation of this bill. If the drivers do not earn this, the company will have to make up the difference. This is a plan to drive out the private ride share services and bring income back to the state.

Economists forecast that the rides, as a result, will grow more costly and harder to obtain. Uber and Lyft have already made public statements saying that their services will go nowhere, just slow down. Despite the multi-million dollar ad campaigns by the biggest companies in the industry, lawmakers still went through with the passage of this law.

“The city’s 12-month pause on new vehicle licenses will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion,” -Spokesperson for Uber, NYC

Although multiple private companies have stepped into the picture to provide a better, more easily accessible, and affordable solution to a crisis in the city, the government has yet again intervened to slow down production to the economy. NYC is the first major city of the country to do so in this sector. Will other cities be soon to follow? How far will government go to cripple the action of ride sharing companies?


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Hanging Out With Larry Sharpe

By The Libertarian Curmudgeon | New York

Larry Sharpe, the Libertarian candidate for governor of New York, visited the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin Convention in Madison on Saturday, April 14, where he spoke to a real audience. But first, he granted a brief interview in the lobby.

It’s tough to stay curmudgeonly in the presence of Larry Sharpe, Libertarian Party candidate for governor of New York.

Sharpe is unremittingly optimistic, upbeat, positive – things that tend to irritate us curmudgeons, because they tend to be ill-fitting when a politician tries to wear them. You know, the twenty-minute stump speech about making America stronger together again, followed by backstage swearing at staff because the teleprompter was too dim or the podium too high, and then envelopes full of cash change hands to buy favors while bubbly young interns giggle and coo. The American people get left in the spin cycle of corruption and cronyism.

A ten-minute sit-down with candidate Sharpe at the Wisconsin Libertarian Party Convention in Madison soon turned to twenty, thirty and forty-five minutes. I witnessed no envelopes of cash or swearing at staff. No cooing interns. Sharpe is taking on Gov. Andrew Cuomo – a longshot by any calculation, considering Cuomo’s the incumbent, the Democrat in a state with a 2-1 Democratic majority and a $30 million campaign war chest.

Sharpe says his campaign has raised more money than all other candidates combined other than Cuomo, including two Republicans. The longshot isn’t as distant as it once was. Or maybe that’s just Mr. Sharpe’s optimism rubbing off.

How does a third-party candidate depose King Cuomo?

Plurality vote with multiple candidates

“Win more votes than anyone else,” Sharpe says. “New York is a plurality winner. I don’t need a majority. I only need about 25 percent to win this race.” Assuming the same 4-million- voter turnout as 2014, with four or five candidates on the ballot and an irrelevant New York Republican Party, a million votes could win this thing. Enter Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame. Because celebrities as government leaders have been so
successful.

“Nixon getting in the race is great for us.” Sharpe was downright exuberant over the prospects. “She will damage Cuomo for us in the primary and split the liberal and progressive voters.” And Cuomo may have to waste some of the war chest to fend off Miranda’s attack from his left flank. Nixon was endorsed by the Working Families Party, a far-left party that often endorses the Democratic Party nominee, including Cuomo last time. Not this year. Nixon could be on the general election ballot even if Cuomo defeats her in the Democratic primary. That could peel a substantial number of votes away from Cuomo.

Multi-party ticket

Another step higher on this uphill battle is the possibility of a fusion ticket. If Sharpe receives the endorsement of another party or two, his name could appear on the ballot multiple times, increasing visibility and the number of potential voters. Possible fusion tickets include the Reform Party and the Upstate Jobs Party.

Downsides to fusion tickets?

“It can water down the message,” Sharpe says, “but that’s not a problem for me because I never change my message. If I get another party’s endorsement, it’s because they like my message, not because I tailor my message to each party.”

From a Libertarian Party perspective, it gets trickier. “A fusion ticket can complicate ballot access. If the Libertarian Party candidate gets 50,000 votes on the Libertarian ballot line, that guarantees the party ballot access for the next four years. If people are voting for me on three different lines, that ballot access vote gets split up among the parties.”

A growing base plus niche voters

In 2014, the Libertarian candidate for governor, Michael McDermott, pulled down a whopping 17,000 votes, 0.4 percent of the total. Cuomo receive two million votes. Even if Nixon splits the Democratic vote, how does Sharpe gather a million-plus to make this a horse race?

“Gary Johnson received 175,000 votes in New York for president in 2016. That’s my base. That’s where I start.”

From there, Sharpe tackles the niche, one-issue voters no one else is pays attention to.

“Vaping. These businesses and users don’t want crushing regulation. They don’t care what else I stand for if I support the issue that’s important to them.” Okay, so there’s a couple thousand more voters. Sharpe then rattles off a few more niche voters that should support his candidacy. Single dads crushed by unfair family law. Drivers licenses revoked in perpetuity for a third DUI conviction, preventing people who have served their time and paid their dues from ever driving again in any state, which often means unemployment in perpetuity. And Utica, where abuse of eminent domain will destroy thirty businesses to make way for a hospital.

“I don’t have to change my message for any of these groups,” Sharpe says. “Break the state mandates. Return local control to local governments and away from Albany.”

The city versus upstate

Sure, some of Sharpe’s message will play well in Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and the vast expanses of rural upstate. But no one wins statewide without the city.

“Education is a statewide issue.” Sharpe makes the point that New York spends more on education than any other state with the worst results. “People in Queens care about their children’s education as much as people in Rochester. And right now, we’re failing because of state mandates. That’s an issue that bridges the divide.”

Gun control?

“There’s no winning the city with that issue.” Sharpe opposes New York’s SAFE Act, the most stringent gun control regulations in the country. He obviously doesn’t change his message to win over different voting blocs. “The SAFE Act may sound great, but it actually does more harm than good. Overnight, law-abiding citizens became criminals with the stroke of a pen.”

Sharpe has pledged to repeal the SAFE Act and pardon those who became overnight criminals.

Three keys to electoral success

Even with all that optimism and a fresh approach to state government, can a third-party candidate knock off a sitting governor from the dominant political party? Won’t it take more than a celebrity activist syphoning off some lefties and picking up the support of the vaping industry?

Sharpe listed three key turning points:

  1. Corruption. “Scandals are swirling around Cuomo and many of his key people. If one of these scandals sticks to him… voters are fed up with the corruption.”
  2. Media. “It can take a while before the statewide mainstream media start to take notice, but it’s happening at the local media level now. I’ll stop at a restaurant with twenty people, and there will be representatives from four different media outlets there. As fundraising grows, local media builds, and the momentum increases, the big media will be there.”
  3. Debate. “The top four or five candidates will debate. Cuomo will participate, and that’s where I will stand out among the crowd.”

Are the odds long?

Absolutely. Nixon, a fusion ticket, a scandal on the incumbent, a million or so voters
fed up with the Status Cuomo, and some pissed-off vapers. Combine that perfect storm with a genuine, articulate believer in people, a Marine veteran, a successful business executive and leadership guru, and New York could lead the way to liberty.


Full disclosure: This interview was facilitated by Sharpe’s communications director, who happens to be my daughter.

The Libertarian Curmudgeon, aka Robb Grindstaff, is a fiction writer, editor, and newspaper executive.

He’s lived in Phoenix, small towns in North Carolina and Texas, Washington, D.C. (also known as Fresh Hell), and five years in Tokyo, Japan.

He now resides in Wisconsin on a few acres out in the country where the only things he ever yells at to get off his lawn are possums, deer, and wild turkeys.

His critically acclaimed and modestly selling novel, Hannah’s Voice, has been called the best libertarian novel since Atlas Shrugged. Full disclosure: That was also his daughter who said that.

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