Editor's note -- Radio star Anthony Cumia joined us on today's live BlazeCast at noon to talk about this story and the challenges he faces as a gun owner in New York. Here's the on-demand version of that interview:
New York State's new Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (also known as NY SAFE) was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday. The strict new law bans the sale of any new weapons that the state has defined as "assault rifles," has added registration of previously owned assault weapons, requires background checks for purchases of ammunition, and sneaks in a few other conditions that have raised the hackles of some gun owners and Second Amendment supporters.
With basic gun ownership in New York coming under serious new conditions, we wondered if the new law would make it tougher for people to acquire gun permits in the state and especially within the boundaries of New York City (a place that already boasted of some of the nation's toughest firearms laws).
There are an estimated 37,000 people licensed to have a gun in New York City. Understand, however, there is a difference between being allowed to have a gun in the city and to be allowed to carry your gun. From the NYPD's website, here are the categories of gun licenses currently available in New York City:
PREMISES LICENSE: IS A RESTRICTED TYPE OF LICENSE. It is issued for your RESIDENCE or BUSINESS. The Licensee may possess a handgun ONLY on the premises of the address indicated on the front of the license. Licensees may also transport their handguns and ammunition in SEPARATE LOCKED CONTAINERS, DIRECTLY to and from an authorized range, or hunting location. HANDGUNS MUST BE UNLOADED while being transported.
CARRY BUSINESS LICENSE: This is an unrestricted class of license which permits the carrying of a handgun concealed on the person. It is valid for the business name, address, and handguns listed on the front of the license. It is not transferable to any other person, business, occupation, or address, without the written approval of the commanding officer, license division.
LIMITED CARRY BUSINESS LICENSE: IS A RESTRICTED TYPE OF LICENSE. The licensee may only carry handguns indicated on the license in accordance with the specific limitations listed thereon. At all other times the weapon must be safeguarded within the confines of the business address listed on the front of the license either concealed on the licensee's person in a proper holster or stored unloaded in a locked safe.
SPECIAL CARRY LICENSE: Is valid for the business name, address and handguns listed on the front of this license, only while the licensee has in his possession a valid basic county license issued according to the provisions of article 400 of the N.Y.S. Penal law.
CARRY GUARD LICENSE: (SECURITY GUARDS, ETC.) Applications for this type of license must be made with the documentation provided by a company's Gun Custodian. It is issued only for the handgun listed on the license. The handgun may be carried only while the licensee is actively engaged in employment for the company whose name appears on the license, and/or while licensee is in transit directly to or from residence and place of employment. At all other times the handgun must be stored unloaded in a locked container, at either the address on the license, or at the employee's legal residence (within the State of New York).
Of the 37,000 various license holders, the majority (between 13-14,000) are retired NYPD, 14,000 or so fall into the "premises" license, 3,200 are Security guards with the Carry Guard license, and the remainder fall into the Special and Limited Carry classification.
On the list of permit holders are some very recognizable names. CEOs from Wall Street and from companies listed on the Fortune 500 have requested and been granted membership in this exclusive club. Donald Trump and two of his three sons are approved. Actors Robert De Niro, and Harvey Keitel have permits. Martha Stewart's daughter, Alexis, also has a legal handgun. However, it sounds like she's got issues with having one. Ms. Stewart told the New York Times:
“I don’t believe people should be allowed to have guns in America,” Ms. Stewart, daughter of Martha, said in an interview, explaining that she bought a .357 Magnum after 9/11 — but would be happy to give it up if handguns were banned. “Having a swimming pool is way more dangerous than having a gun,” she added.
There are also a handful of radio personalities like Sean Hannity, Don Imus, and Anthony Cumia of the Opie and Anthony show on Sirius XM that have proven the need to be permitted to carry a weapon in New York City.
Shortly after Governor Cuomo made the new law official, TheBlaze spoke with Mr. Cumia – Co-host of the Opie & Anthony Radio Show on SiriusXM radio and frequent guest on Fox News' "Red Eye."
Image: Red Eye
Mr. Cumia is an unapologetic gun owner who knows the Second Amendment inside and out. The Long Island resident must commute into Mayor Bloomberg's New York City each weekday morning before dawn and has been a Concealed-Carry Special Permit holder for years. Anthony spoke with TheBlaze about his extensive collection of guns (more than a dozen), the far-reaching new law and what it will take for him to comply and still be able to enjoy his substantial collection of firearms.
What’s your initial take on the new gun bill signed into law by Governor Cuomo?
You don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist… and I am completely NOT, but what a convenient chain of events ... . [T]hey were able to snap, and really in no time at all completely hack apart our Second Amendment rights.
You have a Concealed Carry Permit for New York State and New York City, right?
Yeah, of course everyone knows I have one for New York City because my name was on that list that was published.
They printed your address?
The address wasn’t on that one. This one was New York City Pistol Carry Permit carriers. They put the names and type of permit you have. I have a “special carry permit” that allows me to carry concealed anywhere in the city where it is restricted.
Where are you restricted?
Court buildings, schools, sporting events and any place that would have a sign.
When you do carry, what type of weapon do you typically carry.
I’m only allowed to carry two of the dozen or so handguns that I own, and only one at a time. I have a Walther PPKS .380 and my H&K .40. Those are the two guns that I’m able to carry concealed in New York City.
When do the new restrictions take effect?
Immediately. Even if I “ammo,” I’m now going to have to go through the background check that I go through to buy a gun… alright, I’ll have a few more minutes talking to the guy in the gun store – that’s not a big issue – the biggest issue I have – I don’t understand this registration thing, first of all… all my assault weapons that I have to now register… when I bought these guns, I went through the process, all the forms were filled out, the Federal government knows that I bought these guns… the serial numbers were written down, my name, address… my background check – everything’s on there… so what’s this other registration that I need to do…and then renew every five years? It makes no sense at all. It sounds very shady.
Why can’t New York state just get the gun records from the Feds?
It may be a 10th Amendment issue. I just find it odd that I have to register these weapons. And the whole farce with the seven-round magazines. It’s obvious what they’re doing here. They don’t make seven round mags, what we’re limited to is a five round mag. Ten round mags are going to be illegal, so instead of limiting you to a five round magazine they said seven… meanwhile you can’t get a seven.
I don’t know what I’m going to do with some of the guns I have and the magazines I have. I don’t know where to get a seven round magazine… I can have some of my magazines modified to only fit seven rounds… at my cost of course.
They’re making it very easy for legal, law-abiding gun owners -- that have been nothing but upstanding citizens -- they’re making it very easy for us to fall through these cracks and become felons.
Guaranteed that everybody isn’t going to be able to go through these motions or won’t be willing to.
Isn’t the magazine issue a misdemeanor?
Right, but there is a magazine issue that makes it a Class D felony.
I’ve been pawing all over this document… again, these bastards waited until midnight last night, minutes before they signed it, they released the text. It had no chance of public debate or anything. It’s so underhanded and sneaky and completely against everything that this country and its government and the relationship with the people was ever supposed to be.
Watching Andrew Cuomo give that Nuremburg-type speech about “taking back the streets and making the world safer”… By what? By sticking it to the people who have done nothing but been responsible gun owners and adhere to all the laws and now he’s using it as a campaign platform. It’s the easy way for him to get brownie points for 2016.
In the change in the NY Law, you only need to have one of the qualifying characteristics of an assault weapon to be classified as such. Do you know what those are?
There’s a few:
- Flash suppressor at the end of the muzzle
- Muzzle breaks
- Bayonet lug (Anthony laughed wondering how many bodegas were robbed by a bayonet charge)
- Grenade launcher
- Forward grips
- Removable magazine
- Hand grip,
- A folding stock
- Shroud over the barrel (this is a safety feature to prevent burns)
I’m grandfathered in with mine. They actually settled for a grandfathering in of the weapons, but the magazine capacity is different.
From his YouTube channel, here's Mr. Cumia shooting his own "assault rifle" -- an AR-15, at a range on Long Island.
Anthony continued speaking with us about his frustration with the new law.
I’m very boggled by these new laws and am going to read up on them, but like I said, not everyone’s going to do that and they are people that intended on doing nothing more than adhering to the law that are now going to be criminals.
We, as legal gun owners are the most educated people as far as the laws go. We have to be, or else we’ll be in trouble.
The people that are against the Second Amendment have no idea... When you speak to them, they don’t know anything about the guns, the laws that are already in place. They honestly believe, a lot of them, that you could walk into Walmart and buy a fully-automatic machine gun without them even asking your name. They have no idea what it entails to be a legal gun owner, the rules and hoops you have to jump through already. And the press doesn’t do anything to help out.
I have no problem with background checks, if that’s what we gotta do. I’ve been doing it here in New York every time I go to buy a gun.
Let’s talk about the background check for ammunition. What happens if you buy ammunition for a gun you don’t have? Will that raise a red flag?
Well, are they going to wonder why is he buying that? Can I buy ammo and give it my friends? Is it transferable? They gave no one time to read over this legislation.
And I also read that they will keep tabs on the amount of ammo you buy. And perhaps make inquiries into people that buy large quantities.
Call me paranoid, but with everything that’s happened of late, I don’t see a gun owner being paranoid for anything… anything is viable… any type of threat to the Second Amendment.
But when I go to the store and buy a case of .50 caliber Browning machine gun ammo for my Barrett, I absolutely plan on getting some type of contact asking “what do you need that for?” Is this what the Second Amendment intended?
Cumia's old concealed carry permit.
What about the mental health clause in the new law?
Isn’t that very vague and very subjective? It just seems to me that if the situation arises and they just don’t want somebody to have a gun, they absolutely have a way to do it without any due process. You can be judged incompetent and they can just take your guns away without any recourse.
And what happened with confidentiality between a doctor and patient? Where’s the criteria? Where is the line? Who decides the difference between someone who dealing with depression and anxiety and someone who wants to do harm with a gun? Where is that line? Who makes that judgement?
Further, I go on the air, I yell like a maniac, I say things, I even can make threats about things… Would that be considered to be me threatening somebody and a problem to where my gun ownership would be in jeopardy because of what I say on the air?
Haven’t you used the phrase “eat a bullet” on air?
(laughing) Yeah, that was Jimmy’s (O&A co-host Jim Norton) website. We’re always saying, “that person should have their head blown off” – usually talking about a criminal… some savage that’s doing horrible things.
Is that a credible threat that might have my guns taken away? And, who is making these decisions? There are people getting involved now that should not be involved in your Second Amendment right.
It’s beyond me how it’s getting this far without much resistance from anyone except what they deem to be gun nuts. Meanwhile, the gun nuts are the ones trying to preserve a right!
I don’t know where this is going to end. New York is now worse than California.
And, where is all this money going to come from for re-registering all these assault weapons every five years and re-tooling all these magazines so they only fit seven rounds... When you take these assault rifles down to be registered, mark my words, you’re gonna be hit with a fee!
Are you all set and ready for the new law? (There is a full year for current owners to register weapons and comply.)
I actually don’t know what I am going to do about certain guns. I have one of the H&K civilian versions of the MP-5, it takes 9mm, I have a 1- and 30 round magazine for that. I don’t know if the magazine can be modified to take seven rounds.
I’m really gonna have to do my homework and find out what the laws are, and I don’t think everyone’s gonna do that.
You’re turning law-abiding citizens that did nothing but exercise their Second Amendment rights, adhered to all the laws… you’re changing the laws and putting the burden on these people that have done nothing wrong, to adhere to these (new) laws or face penalties. To me that’s amazingly un-American.
As far as making anything safer, this ain’t it. An assault rifle is nothing more than a semi-automatic rifle.
You said on the radio this morning that if the bill was signed, you would comply and register your guns…
Yeah, what am I going to do? I’d like to consider myself a crazy anarchist… a “hell no, I won’t go” guy, but I’m just like everyone else that is in this position – a legal gun owner that will adhere to the laws and take it, because I want to exercise my rights and I don’t want to go to jail.
I don’t know when the line is going to be crossed when people actually push back, but we’ve taken so much shit in this country, from a government that is supposed to work for us… I think we’re just all sheep now.
Anthony Cumia will join the Blazecast at 12 pm ET on Wednesday.