Tag Archives: New York

Perpetual Lockdown Batters Remnants of New York City’s Long-Lived Gun Culture

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Some of America’s most pro-gun people ironically inhabit some of its most anti-gun locales. Like plants that can survive the harshest desert climates, they are among the hardiest of their kind. And for those in the know, they are as much a part of the Second Amendment landscape as cacti are to the desert. READ MOREny

NRA-ILA

In New York City, epicenter both to America’s COVID-19 outbreak and to anti-Second Amendment fervor, one of the city’s gritty gun culture icons has already succumbed to the economic pressures of the Big Apples interminable lockdown and another is fighting for its life. Your help can ensure the latter survives.

First, the bad news. John Jovino Gun Shop on Grand Street in Little Italy and Chinatown had served New Yorkers since 1911 and billed itself as “the oldest gun shop in the USA.”

Ironically, 1911 was the same year Tammany Hall grifters – including Sen. Timothy Sullivan – enacted a New York State law that made possession and carrying of concealable firearms subject to a license issued at the discretion of local officials. In New York City, the infamous “Sullivan Act” was openly promoted as a way to keep firearms out of the hands of such “undesirables” as working class Italian immigrants, or the same people the New York Times described at the time as “[l]ow-browed foreigners.”

Born in those inauspicious times, John Jovino Gun Shop nevertheless managed to survive World War I, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-69, the blackout of 1977, the Cold War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Passers-by were lured to the store by the unlikely sight in Manhattan of a giant wooden revolver hanging outside the shop.

But thanks to the modern manifestation of the Sullivan Act, there could be no impulse purchase of any such handgun at John Jovino. That act in New York City is still treated as a privilege reserved for the well-heeled or well-connected. At best, it involves hundreds of dollars in fees and takes the better part of a year, if it proves possible to the average city resident at all.

In the 1920s, John Jovino Gun Shop passed from its namesake founder to the Imperato family, who at the time lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Beginning in the 1990s, the business even included a gun factory in Brooklyn, which made reproductions of Civil War-era Henry Rifles and cap and ball Colt revolvers. That part of the operation later moved to Bayonne, New Jersey, and lives on as Henry Repeating Arms, now makers of fine lever-action rifles.

More recently, the Manhattan retail outlet was able to survive on the business of the local law enforcement community and some especially determined civilians. Fittingly for a New York City staple, it also appeared in hard-nosed film and television productions, including Serpico and Law and Order.

Charlie Hu, the store’s manager since 1995 and known in the neighborhood as Gun King Charlie, spoke emotionally to the local press upon the store’s closing last week. “I’m very emotional right now, as you can see, I am having a rough day. Everything is super sad,” he said. “My whole life went into this,” he continued.

Throughout the day, according to the article, longtime friends at the New York City Police Department called to thank Mr. Hu for responsibly serving the local community and to wish him well. Finally came a call from the boss himself, Anthony Imperato. “You are completing the mission,” he told his faithful employee of 25 years.

Meanwhile, further uptown on West 23rd Street, a steely survivor of the New York City Second Amendment community continues to fight for its life.

If making and selling guns seems unlikely in New York City, maintaining a public range in the heart of Manhattan seems downright preposterous. But Westside Rifle & Pistol Range has done just that for over half a century since its founding in 1964. Now it is Manhattan’s last surviving public range, offering equipment, facilities, and training to help local gun owners responsibly and effectively exercise their Second Amendment rights. It also helps New Yorkers negotiate the complicated process of applying for a handgun license in the city.

Unobtrusively located in the basement of a large office building, the facility has been run since 1989 by Darren Leung, a former New York State peace officer, who said a lifelong interest in firearms was shaped by uncles on both sides of the law. An NBC News profile noted in 2017 that local gun owners are as likely to come by Westside to shoot the breeze as the targets in the range’s multiple shooting bays. The business is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, its big city locale notwithstanding

A staunch supporter of the right to keep and bear arms, Leung and his business are undoubtedly a lynchpin in keeping a meaningful Second Amendment alive in America’s most populous city. Perhaps prophetically, Leung told NBC three years ago: “If I ever close, I might be killing off a whole couple of generations of shooters ahead of us. … So it’s always in the back of my mind that it’s important to maintain the range, and to maintain it correctly.”

That is exactly why members of the gun owning community have established a GoFundMe account to help keep West Side Rifle & Pistol afloat during the city’s ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. New York City rents are brutal under the best of circumstances. When there’s no opportunity for regular income, they can doom even the most resilient of businesses and business owners.

Gun owners to date have been generous, and the range remains determined to fight on for as long as possible. Said the organizer of the effort, “It’s both overwhelming and humbling to realize how many folks care and love us.“

For the time being, Westside continues to stand as a symbol of America’s Second Amendment culture even in the core of the Big Apple. A symbol that even the city’s many notorious anti-gun snobs, chief among them former mayor Michael Bloomberg, have yet been able to extinguish.

What the song said of New York is as true for the Second Amendment as it for aspiring talents: if it can make it there, it can make it anywhere. With luck, grit, and the help of gun owners, New York City’s pro-gun stalwarts will hopefully add the COVID-19 pandemic to the long list of challenges they have successfully overcome.

NRA Statement on New York City’s Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

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New York City asks the U.S. Supreme Court to take a break in reviewing NYC’s anti-second-amendment policies… That’s NOT how the Supreme Court works! READ MORE

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in regards to last Friday’s attempt by the City of New York to dismiss the NRA-supported Supreme Court case N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association, et al. v. City of N.Y., et al.:

“The City of New York clearly knows that its current restrictions on the carrying and transportation of lawfully owned firearms are unconstitutional and will fail under any standard of constitutional review, as the NRA has been saying for years. Today, it asked the U.S. Supreme Court to ignore the Constitution and allow the City to slow walk a narrow expansion of its current policy through a lengthy bureaucratic process — the result of which, even if adopted, would still unduly infringe upon the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. That is not how things work in the Supreme Court; the Court does not put its review on hold while the government embarks on a journey that at best might fix only a limited part of the constitutional defect. This is nothing more than a naked attempt by New York City to resist Supreme Court review of policies that even New York must recognize as inconsistent with the holdings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The City of New York did not respect its citizens’ Second Amendment rights before the Supreme Court granted review in this case and it will not respect them going forward. We are confident that the Court will reject New York’s desperate attempt to avoid review of its blatantly unconstitutional laws.”

Gun Controllers Want Credit Card Companies to Monitor and Restrict Lawful Purchases

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Now they’re blaming credit cards for violent crimes… Really! NY Times columnist calls for financial institutions to monitor its customers gun purchases. READ MORE

credit cards

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Gun controllers frustrated that their federal agenda has been repeatedly rejected by Americans through their elected representatives are seeking to restrict gun rights by way of the private financial system. The goal is to pressure financial services companies into either not doing business with the firearms industry and gun owners or to comprehensively surveille their lawful activity.

On December 24, the gun confiscation supporters at the New York Times ran a thinly-veiled advocacy piece by Andrew Ross Sorkin in the news section, titled, “Devastating Arsenals, Bought With Plastic and Nary a Red Flag.” The piece outlined how some of the perpetrators of high-profile mass murders had purchased firearms and ammunition in the same manner that many ordinary law-abiding Americans do, with credit cards.

The online edition of the piece carried the headline “How Banks Unwittingly Finance Mass Shootings,” suggesting that financial services companies were somehow complicit in violence by facilitating the exchange of lawful goods that were ultimately used for criminal purposes. Under such juvenile logic the U.S. Treasury Department should have to answer for all of the unlawful conduct they’ve facilitated by printing dollars and minting coins.

According to the misbranded op-ed, banks and other financial services companies are “uniquely positioned” to monitor gun owner purchasing habits. Under Sorkin’s preferred scenario, credit card companies would require retailers to tag firearms-related purchases with additional data that could be used by the credit card companies to compile information on gun owners. The surveillance data could then be used to flag suspicious purchases for law enforcement.

Moreover, the piece suggests that this data collection could be used to restrict certain types of lawful firearms transactions outright. Sorkin suggested,

Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods this year announced that they would not sell firearms to anyone under 21. If banks chose to use the systems they already have in place, they might decide to monitor such customers, perhaps preventing them from buying multiple guns in a short period of time.

To their credit, when asked for comment by the Times’s advocate, the major financial transaction firms expressed a reluctance to violate the privacy of their law-abiding customers. A Visa spokesperson explained, “We do not believe Visa should be in the position of setting restrictions on the sale of lawful goods or services… Asking Visa or other payment networks to arbitrate what legal goods can be purchased sets a dangerous precedent.” A Mastercard spokesperson added that the transaction company values the privacy of their customers’ “own purchasing decisions.”

Sorkin’s “news article” echoes many of the ideas he advocated in a February 2018 Times commentary. Making clear Sorkin has none of the objectivity on this topic one might have expected from a professional journalist pursuing a news story, the earlier piece overtly advocated for leveraging the private financial system to restrict firearms transactions. Sorkin contended that it would take “leadership and courage” on behalf of the financial services industry in order to implement his private firearms restrictions, which included a plan to eliminate commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms “from virtually every firearms store in America.” Were journalistic ethics as integral to the operation of the legacy press as those institutions purport, Sorkin’s authorship of the more recent item may have drawn interest of a forthright editor, ombudsman, or the Columbia Journalism Review.

The Sorkin article is just part of a wider-ranging effort to attack firearms owners through the financial system. In April 2018, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety expressed their support for increased credit card company surveillance of firearms transactions. Moreover, the anti-gun organization has developed “guidelines” for financial institutions doing business with the firearms industry. Under the guidelines, firearms manufacturers and retailers would be forced to adopt a host of gun control measures in order to do business with financial services providers.

In 2013, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice instituted Operation Chokepoint. Under the program, the DOJ leveraged the power of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to discourage banks from transacting with lawful businesses they deemed to be “associated with high-risk activity,” including members of the firearms industry.

The anti-gun proposals targeting credit card companies should be of grave concern to all gun owners. As the Federal Reserve regularly reports, consumer use of credit and debit cards is growing. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s 2017 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice reported that “[i]n October 2017, the period covered by this DCPC, consumers made most of their payments with cash (30.3 percent of payments), debit cards (26.2 percent), and credit cards (21.0 percent).”

The recent credit card proposals also prompt important questions. Under what a scenario would a gun owner’s purchases be flagged as suspicious or be outright denied? Might the criteria be defined by anti-gun activists to include any volume of firearms-related goods they consider deviant? Gun owners routinely purchase large quantities of firearms products and ammunition for the same reason consumers buy anything in bulk, to save money.

Moreover, gun owners should be aware that any increase in the information that the financial services companies collect may wind up in the federal government’s hands. A June 2013 item in the Wall Street Journal reported that the National Security Agency was scooping large quantities of data from credit card providers. At the time, experts speculated that the NSA would not be able to obtain the exact products an individual purchased, but could see where the purchases were made and the merchant category codes. Changing merchant category code data to be more descriptive is one of the ways control advocates intend to advance their credit card company gun control scheme.

Even those who do not value the right to keep and bear arms but do cherish their other civil liberties should be concerned with the recent credit card transaction proposals. Back in early 2018, when some of these ideas were first floated, Georgetown University Law Professor Adam Levitin pointed out, “There’s a privacy angle here… There’s the slippery slope danger if it’s guns today maybe it is pornography tomorrow and the day after it’s right-wing literature.”

And with even mainstream television fare such as “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Simpsons” having come under fire by today’s social justice vigilante mob, it’s difficult to imagine any product or service that could be immune from their perpetually outraged sensibilities.

New rules or surveillance procedures imposed by the credit card industry on firearms transactions would have a profound negative effect on gun owners and the firearms industry and pose a broader threat to all liberty-minded Americans. NRA will continue to monitor these efforts and keep our members apprised of any further developments.

The National Rifle Association Sues New York!

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The NRA has filed suit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Department of Financial Services over alleged attack on First Amendment Rights. READ MORE

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

The National Rifle Association of America (“NRA”) last Friday announced that it filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and DFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo alleging violations of the NRA’s First Amendment rights.

Filed on May 11, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, the lawsuit claims that Cuomo, Vullo, and DFS engaged in a “campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats” designed to coerce banks and insurance companies to withhold services from the NRA. The NRA argues that such tactics vastly overstep DFS’s regulatory mandate, and seek to suppress the speech of Second Amendment supporters and retaliate against the NRA and others for their political advocacy. The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in damages to redress harms inflicted by the DFS campaign.

“Political differences aside, our client believes the tactics employed by these public officials are aimed to deprive the NRA of its First Amendment right to speak freely about gun-related issues and in defense of the Second Amendment,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel to the NRA. “We believe these actions are outside the authority of DFS and fail to honor the principles which require public officials to protect the constitutional rights of all citizens.”

Among other things, the lawsuit cites a pair of “guidance” letters issued on April 19, 2018, by the DFS to the CEOs of banks and insurance companies doing business in New York. Styled as regulatory “risk management” advisories, the letters encourage institutions to “take prompt actions” to manage “reputational risk” posed by dealings with “gun promotion organizations.” The same day, Cuomo issued a press release in which Vullo directly urged “all insurance companies and banks doing business in New York” to “discontinue[] their arrangements with the NRA.”

The lawsuit claims that the “guidance” letters were accompanied by back-channel communications and targeted enforcement actions, which further reinforced the Cuomo administration’s message that it is bad business in New York to do business with the NRA.

The lawsuit explains that the DFS mandate — preceded by an “investigation” orchestrated by gun-control activists into insurance programs sponsored by the NRA — has already caused several insurance companies to sever relationships with the NRA and to plan to cancel the insurance policies of law-abiding New York consumers. According to the complaint, the directive of Cuomo and Vullo has had its intended effect — to advance Cuomo’s longstanding opposition to gun-rights supporters and to distort insurance markets in the service of a political agenda.

The lawsuit says, “As a direct result of this coercion, multiple firms have succumbed to Defendants’ demands and entered into consent orders with DFS that compel them to terminate longstanding, beneficial business relationships with the NRA both in New York and elsewhere. Tellingly, several provisions in the orders bear no relation to any ostensible regulatory infraction. Instead, the orders prohibit lawful commercial speech for no reason other than that it carries the NRA brand.”

On May 2, 2018 and May 7, 2018, Lockton Companies, LLC and Chubb Ltd., respectively, announced they will pay millions of dollars in fines to DFS and cease doing business with the NRA — for no other reason than many of the insurance programs with which they are associated carry the NRA brand. On May 9, 2018, Lloyd’s of London announced that it is directing insurance underwriters to terminate any existing partnerships [with the NRA].

The lawsuit explains that these outcomes are the culmination of years of political activism by Cuomo against the NRA and gun rights organizations. As recently as April 20, 2018, Cuomo called the NRA an “extremist organization” and urged New York companies “to revisit their ties to the NRA and consider their reputations…”

In the face of such attacks, the NRA continues to educate the public about the Second Amendment, defend the NRA and its members against political and media attacks, and galvanize participation in the political process. The NRA claims that in response, Cuomo and DFS are taking actions to silence the organization.

Citing the Supreme Court’s landmark Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan case, the lawsuit argues that “viewpoint discrimination applied through ‘threat[s] of invoking legal sanctions and other means of coercion, persuasion, and intimidation’ violates the Constitution where, as here, such measures chill protected First Amendment activities.”

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

Brooklyn Lawmakers Want to Severely Tighten Ammo Sales

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If two New York lawmakers from Brooklyn are successful at passing new draft legislation aimed at tightly restricting the sale of ammunition in the state, will legitimate gun owners there turn to reloading Continue reading Brooklyn Lawmakers Want to Severely Tighten Ammo Sales