Molan Labe – Gun Control Measures in New York Spark Call for Civil Disobedience

New York Riot over gun legislationMolan Labe [Pronounced: Mo lan la ve].  These words were supposedly spoken by King Leonidas of of ancient Sparta.  They were in response to the Persian army’s demand that the Spartans surrender their weapons at the battle of Thermopylae.  And they have taken on renewed significance in the wake of anti-gun legislation recently passed in New York.  Defiance

Causing this potential act of civil disobedience is The New York Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (NY SAFE Act) passed on January 15, 2013. Cuomo stated that the legislation is the toughest gun control law in the United States.  And he’s right.  The constitutionality of the law, however, will be tested.  Planning ahead and knowing that parts of the law might not be enforceable, a severability clause was written into the legislation.  In a nutshell, a severability clause states that should part of the law be held unenforceable, then those remaining parts of the law unaffected are still applied and enforced.

I will summarize the main points of the legislation; however, I strongly encourage you to read it for yourselves.  Most mainstream news sites simply report highlights of the legislation and point to internal sources for abbreviated versions.  Public data consumption shouldn’t be limited to one or two sources of biased information.  Therefore below you will find a direct link to the NY Senate website where the bill is displayed as it was passed.  I strongly encourage all to read it for themselves.


And this is a copy of Governor Cuomo’s press release:


Highlights of the bill include:

  • Background checks for private sales of firearms.
  • Background checks for sales of ammunition
  • Assault weapons redefined: semi-automatic forearms with detachable magazine and at least one military-style feature.  Features include but not limited to: pistol grip, folding stock, flash suppressor, bayonet lug.
  • No weapons grandfathered without registration.  Registration to take place within one year on existing weapons.
  • 7-Round capacity magazines.  A magazine holding 10 rounds is allowed, but can only be loaded with 7 rounds at any given time.
  • Mental health professionals are required to report individuals whom they believe to pose a threat to themselves or others.  Police may confiscate weapons of those individuals.
  • Sentencing for certain gun crimes were strengthened.


In an interview with the New York Post, Brian Olesen, President of American Shooters Supply, one of the biggest gun dealers in the state, said that preparations are already being made for mass resistance. “I’ve heard from hundreds of people that they’re prepared to defy the law, and that number will be magnified by the thousands, by the tens of thousands, when the registration deadline comes,’’ he said.  According to some reports, there are at least 1 million semiautomatic rifles owned in the state.  Some seriously postulate that shouting could turn into shooting if common ground is not found.  With that many guns in New York, there will most likely be a percentage that do register and comply.  However, it appears a vast number have taken the position of “come and take it” and that’s what worries law makers and law enforcement alike.

Want an example? I spoke with several gun enthusiasts at a popular shooting range.  Even with the cost of ammunition soaring with demand, the range was crowded for a weekday.  Five shooters whom I spoke with, all of whom requested not to be identified, said they would not register their firearms even if laws are passed requiring it.  Four of the men were U.S.  veterans.  All felt any such law would infringe upon the Second Amendment.  After a few minutes of talking and during a break in the shooting, one of the men yelled down the line of shooters – about 25 in all – “Any of you going to turn in or register your semi’s with the government?!” he yelled.  A resounding NO filled the outdoor range.  I walked down the line and noticed many AR-15s, a few AK-47s and even two fully automatic weapons.  The men I spoke with were all employed in various full time occupations.  They espoused no criminal backgrounds.  And all possessed concealed-carry permits.  Having the permits meant they had passed all state and federal background checks.

It’s easy for those with positions on the left or those with opinions on the right to dismiss the concerns of each other.  But dismissing an argument merely for the fact that you don’t agree with it, well, it’s childish at best.  And in this case, it is dangerous.  Those that resort to name-calling and ad hominem attacks are part of the problem.

April is the deadline for all New Yorkers possessing semi-automatics to register with the State Police.  The current lack of dialogue between opposing groups could lead to the biggest act of civil disobedience in New York history.

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.
-Mahatma Gandhi


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About the Author

David Bard
David is a writer living in the Midwest. His travels have taken him all over the world. He has dined with prime ministers, traveled with Maoists rebels and even shared Chang with a monk high in the Himalayas. He is a U.S. Navy veteran, an entrepreneur and inventor. He was awarded a commission as a Kentucky Colonel and given a Key to the City for his work in bridging cultures through education.