Lawsuit: New York SAFE Act Trashes the Fourth Amendment

Bob recently posted about a man who go in trouble because he did not remain in his appointed “first-amendment zone.” We’re not supposed to have to worry about zones for the basic freedoms recognized in the Bill of Rights. Yet the government has managed to get us accustomed to restricting and narrowing down the areas in which we can enjoy the exercise of our rights. Not in airports. Not while driving. On and on it goes.

According to a recent lawsuit New York’s gun registry law is an attempt to nullify the Fourth Amendment.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

The attorneys argue under the Federal National Instant Check System a person who is declared ineligible for a firearm purchase faces some type of legal process. However, that is not the case with the SAFE Act, which was signed into law last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Under the SAFE Act, the New York Department of Criminal Justice (NYDCJ), the overseer of the database, may declare a person ineligible to own or possess a weapon without any type of judicial process.

Furthermore, the suit argues that if the NYDCJ declares a person ineligible, “such a determination makes the person vulnerable to imminent seizure of all weapons, without a hearing or even an arrest warrant.”

The attorneys indicate the state is creating a separate database from the federal NICS database but does not have the NICS protections, such as an appeals process. Their website details all the differences between the state and federal database.

So the government is more than happy to make laws on the assumption that the state legislature has the authority to nullify the Fourth Amendment. That is, obviously, a mockery of constitutional law. But it should surprise no one that New York lawmakers thought they could get away with it.

More and more our country is dispensing with the adversarial system of the Constitution in which the state can only act against an individual if the office-holder has proven there is legal cause to do so, and is adopting a managerial system. Our state and Federal governments run our lives much the same way that a college runs its student dormitories.

In the case of this so-called SAFE law, I have to wonder. Did the lawmakers intentionally try to see if they could get away with a violation of the Fourth Amendment? Or did they forget about it when they wrote the law?

Neither possibility is all that encouraging.