NY Sheriffs: Some Murder Victims Are More Important Than Others

Now that Governor’s Cuomo’s unconstitutional SAFE Act is law the people responsible for enforcing it are saying WTF? The Empire State’s sheriffs, in particular, are concerned about the Act’s logistics and, by the way, its lack of impact on criminal behavior. In a letter to the Gov (full text after the jump) the sheriffs protest the Act’s key provisions. “We believe that the new definition of assault weapons is too broad, and prevents the possession of many weapons that are legitimately used for hunting, target shooting and self defense.” As opposed to spree killing. And “It bears repeating that it is our belief that the reduction of magazine capacity will not make New Yorkers or our communities safer.” Good on you mate. But what up with the sheriff’s praise for making “killing of emergency first responders aggravated or first degree murder, enhancing penalties for this crime and requiring life without parole.” Why are first responders’ lives any more important than anyone else’s?

Sheriffs’ Response to NY SAFE Act

Following passage of the SAFE Act by the State Legislature and approval by the Governor, the Sheriffs now have had the opportunity to review the language of the new law and wish to make our comments available. The Sheriffs of New York state support many of the provisions of the SAFE Act, and believe that they will enhance public safety and help to shield citizens from gun violence. However, there are also some parts of this new law that need clarification, and some that we think should be reconsidered and modified to meet the concerns of the law enforcement community and the public at large. We have identified the following six provisions of the new law which we believe are helpful and will increase the safety of our citizens. These include:

• Restriction on FOIL requests about pistol permit holders. By granting citizens the option of having their names and addresses withheld from public disclosure, the new law does provide a mechanism to allow people to decide for themselves whether their personal information should be accessible to the public. We believe, however, that no one should have to explain why their personal information should remain confidential. A better procedure, we believe, is simply to exempt all this personal information from FOIL disclosure.

• Killing of emergency first responders. The new law makes killing of emergency first responders aggravated or first degree murder, enhancing penalties for this crime and requiring life without parole. First responders need this protection, evidenced all too often by attacks on them when they attempt to provide help, and in special recognition of the terrible attacks on two firefighters in Webster, NY and attacks on first responders in Jefferson County.

• Requirement of NICS checks for private sales (except between immediate family). We believe that this will ensure that responsible citizens will still be able to obtain legal firearms through private transactions, with the added assurance that private buyers are approved by the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We remain concerned that this provision will be very difficult to enforce and will likely only affect law abiding citizens.

• Comprehensive review of mental health records before firearms permits are granted and review of records to determine if revocation of permits is required. Sheriffs believe that there is an urgent need to increase funding for mental health care. The new law imposes reporting requirements on many mental health care professionals and others who may make a determination that a person is a danger to himself or others. The law further gives needed authority to courts or others who issue firearms permits to deny permit applications or to revoke permits already issued. We believe that this issue demands a much more full and detailed discussion about how to keep guns out of the hands of such people. The Sheriffs of New York want to pursue these issues with the Governor and the State Legislature.

• Safe storage of firearms. The new law provides that guns must be safely stored if the owner lives with someone who has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence crime, has been involuntarily committed, or is currently under an order of protection. We agree that firearms owners should have the responsibility to make sure that their weapons are safeguarded against use or access by prohibited persons, and the new law adds these protections to ensure that weapons are safely and securely stored.

• Increased penalties for illegal use of weapons. The new law adds several increased sanctions for violation of New York gun laws and creates new gun crimes which did not previously exist. These new provisions will provide added tools for law enforcement to prosecute such crimes. We further believe that the new provisions should help deter future misuse of firearms. We also suggest that the legislature consider limitations on plea bargaining for all gun crimes.

We have reviewed other provisions of the new law, and strongly believe that modifications are needed to clarify the intent of some of these new provisions and that revisions are needed to allow Sheriffs to properly enforce the law in their counties.

•Assault weapon ban and definition of assault weapons. We believe that the new definition of assault weapons is too broad, and prevents the possession of many weapons that are legitimately used for hunting, target shooting and self defense. Classifying firearms as assault weapons because of one arbitrary feature effectively deprives people the right to possess firearms which have never before been designated as assault weapons. We are convinced that only law abiding gun owners will be affected by these new provisions, while criminals will still have and use whatever weapons they want.

• Inspection of schools by state agencies. The new law transfers to state agencies the responsibility to review school safety plans. We expect that funding will be transferred to these state agencies to implement safety proposals. Sheriffs and local police provide this service in all parts of the state and can perform these duties efficiently. As the chief law enforcement officer of the county, Sheriffs are in the best position to know the security needs of schools in their own counties, and the state should help to fund these existing efforts by Sheriffs and local police departments to keep our schools safe. Because Sheriffs and local police are already deeply involved with school safety plans, have developed emergency response plans, and are familiar with structural layouts of schools in their counties, they should be included along with state counterparts in any effort to review school safety plans.

• Reduction of ammunition magazine capacity. The new law enacts reductions in the maximum capacity of gun magazines. We believe based on our years of law enforcement experience that this will not reduce gun violence. The new law will unfairly limit the ability of law‐abiding citizens to purchase firearms in New York. It bears repeating that it is our belief that the reduction of magazine capacity will not make New Yorkers or our communities safer.

•Five year recertification of pistol permit status and registration of existing assault weapons. The new law delegates to the State Police the duty to solicit and receive updated personal information of permit holders every five years in order to maintain these permits. Further, the law requires owners of certain existing firearms now classified as assault weapons to register these with the State Police within one year. The recertification and registration conflict with Sheriffs’ duties regarding issuance of pistol permits. All records should be maintained at the local, and not the state level. This information should be accessible to those who are responsible for initial investigation of permit applications. Pistol permit information should be maintained in one file at the local level, and forwarded to a statewide database for law enforcement use. It bears repeating that it is our belief that pistol permit and any registration information required by the law should be confidential and protected from FOIL disclosure.

• Sale of ammunition. The new law imposes several new provisions regarding how, and from whom, ammunition can be lawfully purchased. The law should be clarified about the use of the Internet as a vehicle for these sales, out‐of‐state sales to New York residents, and other issues. Businesses have said that they do not understand the new provisions and are concerned that they will have to cease operations.

• Law enforcement exemptions must be clarified. The new law has many provisions that might apply to law enforcement officers and there has been much confusion about whether existing law enforcement exemptions continue to apply. We understand that

the Governor and Legislature have already agreed to review and modify these provisions where necessary, and the Sheriffs want to be part of the discussion to make the changes effective. Additionally, the exemptions should apply to retired police and peace officers, and to others in the employ of the Sheriff and other police agencies who perform security duties at public facilities and events.

•Method of bill passage. It is the view of the Sheriffs’ Association that anytime government decides it is necessary or desirable to test the boundaries of a constitutional right that it should only be done with caution and with great respect for those constitutional boundaries. Further, it should only be done if the benefit to be gained is so great and certain that it far outweighs the damage done by the constriction of individual liberty. While many of the provisions of the new law have surface appeal, it is far from certain that all, or even many, of them will have any significant effect in reducing gun violence, which is the presumed goal of all of us. Unfortunately the process used in adoption of this act did not permit the mature development of the arguments on either side of the debate, and thus many of the stakeholders in this important issue are left feeling ignored by their government. Even those thrilled with the passage of this legislation should be concerned about the process used to secure its passage, for the next time they may find themselves the victim of that same process. Fortunately, the Governor has shown himself open to working with interested parties to address some of the problems that arose due to the hasty enactment of this law. We will work with the Governor and the Legislature on these issues.

• Sheriffs understand their Constitutional obligations and the concerns of constituents Sheriffs and other law enforcement officers are not called upon by this new legislation to go door‐to‐door to confiscate any weapons newly classified as assault weapons, and will not do so.

Sheriffs represent all the people, and we take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New York. Sheriffs will continue to enforce all laws of the state and will protect the rights of all citizens, including those rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New York.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

69 Responses to NY Sheriffs: Some Murder Victims Are More Important Than Others

  1. avatardirk diggler says:

    Translation: don’t add us to the upcoming lawsuits and make us spend resources defending something we cannot

    • avatarA Trusted Friend in Science says:

      Further translation: No matter what you propose, no one who is in or ever has been in law enforcement needs to be held to it. Law enforcement is a different class of people!

      • avatarDaniel Silverman says:

        Further translation:
        You are a bunch of twits! You passed a law unconstitutionally which gets you into hot water right there. Then you idiots forgot to exclude us!
        Without really saying it they get it. People won’t register, and we aren’t going to expend the possible man hours to enforce your crappy laws. If we try and arrest someone on the idiot magazine law we will face so many lawsuits we won’t do it. Simple as that…
        I think down deep he also understands that it only takes them trying to enforce something on one militia member or someone not willing to go quietly and this whole thing explodes in their faces. He isn’t willing to risk the lives of his officers to enforce something that does nothing.
        He also understands that the ban is badly defined, and will do nothing. The overhead created by the background checks for ammo will do nothing.
        Unfortunately he doesn’t have the cojones to tell them to go pound salt…

  2. avatarChris says:

    Like their comments on magazine restrictions.

  3. avatarChris Mallory says:

    The killing of a “first responder” should be treated no differently than the killing of a cab driver or a Qwiki Mart clerk. If anything the killing of a citizen should be punished more harshly than the killing of one of the “King’s Men”.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Good point. Re-written post to highlight this fact.

    • avatarDyspeptic says:

      Right on bro.

    • avatarDaniel Silverman says:

      Agreed, but I can say I do agree with the special circumstance of using a firearm in a crime, and limiting plea deals. That is the legislation I can agree with, punish those that are guilty.

    • avatarBob says:

      Not to mention they aren’t “first responders” anyway. The victim is always the first responder, even if their response is to cower helplessly.

    • avatar16V says:

      Killing a fireman or especially a copper, has always gotten special treatment from the brotherhood. Is it right? Not really. But when the corpse is your friend, as they say in cheese flicks, its personal. It’s human a nature and it sends a message. Understandable.

      But the continuing codification of a class of ‘super citizens’ is beyond nauseating, it’s unconstitutional. Compared to being a delivery driver, doing most construction, or working in a warehouse, or a half dozen other fields, cop is a very safe job.

      • avatarAlphaGeek says:

        I was with the author right up until he went into the whole retired/reserve special class exemption schtick. Bullshyt.

      • avatarjwm says:

        This is one nit I have to pick 16V. There are jobs where more people get killed yearly than the cop job. But how many of those construction guys and delivery guys die by accident as opposed to murdered?

        Cops get murdered for trying to do their jobs. I have been in jobs that were statically more dangerous than a cops job. But I didn’t feel like some one was out to kill me.

        • avatarChris Mallory says:

          And that risk is why they have the excessive pay, platinum benefits and early retirement. If they don’t want the risk then we need to start cutting those and making sure they don’t touch their pensions until they turn 65.

        • avatarjwm says:

          I’m not talking about pay or bennies Chris. When i did construction I went to work every day with an objective of how much production I was going to manage that day. The chance of injury or death was just a small voice in the back of my mind. What I did not worry about was whether or not some goblin was going to murder me before my day was over.

          When we compare death rates between these professions and the cops I think we’re doing an apples and oranges kind of thing.

          This does not mean I think a cop killer should get harsher time for his crime because he killed a cop and not a hard hat. All murders should be dealt with harshly.

        • avatar16V says:

          jwm, fair enough. I just ask, is there a different kind of dead? Is there a different kind of never going home to your family? If you are multiple times more likely to be killed doing you job than a copper is, isn’t that the more dangerous job?

          I’ve got friends who are still cops. I’ve had family that was. The ‘danger’ angle is great tool for bagging badge-bunnies, and for manipulating puzzies and pols into voting a more generous pay package.

          But “cop” is not statistically dangerous. When that lie gets used to legislate someone more rights than me and mine, I take issue.

        • avatarjwm says:

          16v, i’m not arguing that cops should have a special status. I’ve said repeatedly that whatever guns the cops have we should be able to have. And cops should play by the same rules as us.

          I’m just pointing out that there’s a different quality to a job where you may die from an act of violence as opposed to an accident.

          Dead id Dead and your family suffers. But the person going out the door in the morning with his lunch bucket and hard hat isn’t thinking that the next person he talks to might try to kill him.

        • avatar16V says:

          jwm,

          I think I get what you’re saying, my only point is that other normal, workaday folks have jobs that are more likely to get them killed. Larry lunchbucket may not be thinking about being murdered when he leaves for the ironworker job, but he knows that he gets paid very well because there’s a chance he may die. Perhaps it’s just my way of looking at things, but I see the odds of death at work as my chances of dying. How I might die seems rather irrelevant.

          I guess there’s some cops who have that front of brain, but even for those who get killed on the job, it’s near 50% are killed in traffic accidents.

          To be perfectly frank, the US is an incredibly safe place to do any job – save being a commercial fisherman. Of all the folks we have working in this country there’s a total of only 4600 deaths in 2011 on the job. A high percentage of those are in traffic accidents while working.

          I’m not anti-cop/FF/EMT, but this life-risking-hero mythology that has become so ingrained in PC pop-culture, drives me nuts. It was just a job 60 years ago when it really was kinda dangerous. It’s still just a job, like the farmer who dies to get us food, the miners who die to get us coal, and the cabbies who die to get us where we need to go. And coppers/FFs/EMTs deserve no more legal protection or force of law than me and mine.

    • avataremt-p says:

      Elevated charges for police are based on the fact that police are the icon of law and order. To attempt to kill an officer is to show utter contempt for an orderly society. Fire and ems are unarmed. They live by the motto “do no harm”. They are first to help in emergencies. They assume that they are wanted/needed. Then they are ambushed without means to fight back. So how would you like your firefighter or emt to wait until a SWAT team made certain your house fire or dying child was not a ruse to hurt or kill them.

      That said I would not take the bait. Bill of Rights trumps 1st responder safety. Reintroduce that part of legislation after the gun control is defeated.

      • avatar16V says:

        As I noted earlier, there has always been an unofficial ‘extra effort’ when it comes pursuing and prosecuting those who strike out against police/fire/ems.

        I understand that completely, for exactly some of the reasons you enumerated.

        But, codifying this makes their lives more valuable by law than mine. That is thoroughly unacceptable and unconstitutional.

      • avatarAlphaGeek says:

        The problem is that elevated penalties are justified based on a bad premise: that criminals consider the severity of the penalties for a crime before committing it.

        I’m pretty sure that jackhole in NY who set the house on fire and shot the fire/EMS first responders didn’t check the latest copy of the penal code to see what he had to look forward to if apprehended.

        The only actual result of enacting elevated penalties for crimes against first responders AND legislating gun-law exceptionalism for retired LEO/LEA is to clearly and publicly declare that there are two classes of citizens, with two corresponding tiers for the value of a individual’s life.

        • avatar16V says:

          Agreed. Especially as killing people other than in self-defense is currently illegal in all 50, last time I checked. Death penalties don’t deter crazy or stupid, they never have. If they did, we’d have had no murders when it was the standard sentence for such crimes.

          If, and that’s a big “if”, the DA is cutting deals on that murder charge, one should look to the DA in question. Of course, the facts on the ground are that defendants are always punished to the fullest extent for even wounding a cop/FF/EMT. Let alone killing one. So frankly, it’s another Maguffin to create a super-citizen.

  4. avatarNWGlocker says:

    “Unfortunately the process used in adoption of this act did not permit the mature development of the arguments on either side of the debate, and thus many of the stakeholders in this important issue are left feeling ignored by their government. ”

    Take THAT, governor. If you’re listening to your constituents.

  5. avatarBlake says:

    Shorter version: NY Sheriffs want to go home at night and this law does nothing more than pit law abiding citizens against law enforcement.

  6. avatarMD Matt says:

    I’m happy with this response in the main. It’s actually a lot more reasonable than I’d expected, though that probably has more to do with the demographics of what parts of the state are covered by sheriffs than a general public outcry on the subject.

    The only issue I have with this response is the idea that murdering a first responder is somehow deserving of a greater penalty than murdering anyone else. Likewise the limitation of plea bargaining and sentencing. I want criminals put away. That said, there are different degrees of crime and often fine shades of distinction depending on the individual circumstances. Taking that flexibility away from the courts, especially where pleading is concerned, not only risks undue punishment for the individual but sets a questionable precedent imho.

  7. avatarLance says:

    Very interesting.

  8. avatarAccur81 says:

    I am very imprsssed by this response. It is clear that the Sheriff has issues with magazine capacity reduction, confiscation, and the dubious manner in which this law was developed and passed. As a first responder, I do want to be protected. The fact of the matter is that I am already well protected between my equipment, training, and situational awareness. Murdering a first responder is already sufficiently illegal.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      The whole “enhanced penalties for killing first responders” is based on the flawed premise that would-be criminals read the penal code and consider the scorecard for their planned offenses. Why else would there be perceived value in legislating enhanced penalties for acts against certain classes of victim?

      I find this to be slightly out of touch with reality. Just slightly.

      • avatar16V says:

        Especially when the decision tree is “20+ years to life” v. “mandatory life”. Does anyone really suggest that there is a rational choice between two options being made? Really?

        It’s not like “30 days in county” v. “the needle”.

  9. avatarjwm says:

    In other words, the sheriffs are telling the governor that this is a piss poor bill that was passed in an underhanded way.

  10. avatarUppity says:

    It’s funny how these sheriffs think they’re so vital in this process. In reality it seems likely that they would be out-gunned by the police departments if any real conflict were to arise.

    • avatarMartin says:

      I’d say that if any real conflict were to arise, the police and sheriffs wouldn’t be the only ones fighting. And I don’t think they want to incite such a conflict.

      I’ll wait and see what happens next…

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      Have you seen the LA Sheriffs? They have a lot of hardware. I can’t imagine that NYSD wouldn’t have a lot of hardware also.

    • avatarGyufygy says:

      Ah, city dwellers, discounting us country folk again. :p

      Sheriffs generally have to deal with a lower populace, but a much, MUCH wider area. That’s ignoring duties that sheriffs have jurisdiction over even inside areas covered by PDs.

      Also, isn’t the CLEO sign off for NFA stuff referring to county sheriffs? At any rate, firearms permits in North Carolina are handled by sheriffs. Pretty sure it’s the same in other states.

      So yeah, what the sheriff says does actually matter.

  11. avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

    NICS check for every sale….

    Does this mean an FFL must be involved in the sale of every weapon? Or will us mere mortals be able to have access to the NICS system? If we can use NICS, will it be possible for someone with ill intent to use the system? For example, abusive husband or boyfriend trying to track down the object of his abuse, identity thieves, employers looking a little too deeply into the private affairs of an employee or potential employee, etc., etc. Instead why don’t we just have a standard form that the buyer signs that states that “I am not legally precluded from purchasing a firearm.” It will be just as effective as our current system.

    • avatarDyspeptic says:

      That’s exactly what I was wondering. My guess is that it means all truly private sales (except between immediate family) would in fact be banned because of the need to use an FFL dealer & NICS . That is the way it works in Crazyfornia which seems to be the national model for this kind of legislation.

      Man do I hate my state!

  12. avatarMorris says:

    At least they can’t point to the LEO community and say that they support this and are experts that say it will make the children safer.

    Good for NYS LEO’s

  13. avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

    Did anybody else notice that at a certain angle Cuomo kinda looks like he could be Rick Perry’s evil twin?

  14. avatardirk diggler says:

    In the words of Hannity, as he replayed Cuomo’s mad rant during the recent NY State of the State address, “that video makes me happy because it means he will never become president.”

  15. avatarSilver says:

    NY LEOs can talk all they want, unless they flat-out refuse to enforce the laws and in fact actively fight the laws, they’re still jack-booted thugs.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      I’ll go one step further: until they stop claiming special treatment as an exempt class even unto retirement, they’re still on the other side of the line.

      That said, I am glad to see pushback of any sort from LEOs who are usually arguing that they’re outgunned by the serfs.

      • avatar16V says:

        It’s part of the King’s reward package for staying quiet about where the bodies are buried (metaphorically speaking).

        It used to be all nudge-nudge, wink-wink stuff. It’s the last couple decades of incorporating this “special status” as a matter of statute that disturbs me.

  16. avatarBeninMA says:

    If Democrats have lost NY Sheriffs on the Mag Cap limits/AWB, where do they go from there?

  17. avatarJoe says:

    There’s talk about decriminalizing drugs, and many locales have legalized pot or decreased the penalties. Yet, there’s a big push to criminalize law-abiding citizens owning guns for recreation or more importantly, self-defense. Where are this countries priorities?

  18. avatarChris says:

    BTW, it’s not about the lives of a first responder being more valuable than someone else…it’s about not killing the guy who is trying to save you.

    • avatarSamlAdams says:

      As a longtime NY resident, this is pretty strong language coming from any govt employee group in the kleptocratic thugocracy that passes for govt here. As a first responder (volunteer) the last thing I’m doing during size up on a structure fire is looking for potential firing positions. The average citizen does not have to run numerous EMS calls for mentally ill patients that are off their meds (yet again) package and bus them to their mandatory 3 day stay until it happens again. Though realistically I’ve dealt with enough of these people I can’t really see a careful consideration of the penalties coming into play.

    • avatarSamlAdams says:

      As a longtime NY resident, this is pretty strong language coming from
      any govt employee group in the kleptocratic thugocracy that passes for govt here. As a first responder (volunteer) the last thing I’m doing during size up on a structure fire is looking for potential firing positions. The average citizen does not have to run numerous EMS calls for mentally ill patients that are off their meds (yet again) package and bus them to their mandatory 3 day stay until it happens again. Though realistically I’ve dealt with enough of these people I can’t really see a careful consideration of the penalties coming into play.

    • avatarSamlAdams says:

      As a longtime NY resident, this is pretty strong language coming from
      any govt employee group in the kleptocratic thugocracy that passes for govt here. As a first responder (volunteer) the last thing I’m doing during size up on a structure fire is looking for potential firing positions. The average citizen does not have to run numerous EMS calls for mentally ill patients that are off their meds (yet again) package and bus them to their mandatory 3 day stay until it happens again. Average citizen is not obliged to go to an active shooter incident vs away from it

  19. avatarWilliam says:

    If county sheriffs won’t get aboard the crazy train, I have news for Don Cuomo and his dwarf sidekick: ESAD!!! It’s over before it began. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

  20. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    See, thats why you need an AR, so your pistol isn’t taken away. A .9mm doesn’t get a lot of respect, the AR does, Randy

  21. avatarGorillaMedic says:

    As a first responder, I have to take issue with the comments above. I know the risk and chose my career aware of this. So have my colleagues. And our lives aren’t more valuable than others—every assault and every murder is a tragedy.

    That said, making the punishments for attacking first responders steeper is a good thing since so many bad guys can end up walking under plea deals and prosecutorial discretion. Believe it or not, I’ve seen criminals who adjust their behavior based on how they perceive the consequences. And knowing that they’ll face much steeper consequences for attacking a firefighter or a paramedic may save us from another LODD or injury.

    Firefighters and paramedics walk into unknown and dangerous situations every day, without bulletproof vests, guns, or less lethal weapons. We put ourselves in harms way to take care of the public, and unfortunately we get assaulted far too frequently. The bad guys may be truly reprobate (like the NY shooter) or may be hopped up on drugs. But most are calculating criminals who know they’ll probably walk. That is unacceptable, and legislative action can help protect those who protect and serve.

    • avatarGyufygy says:

      Sounds like a wonderful argument to make sentences stick in general, regardless of the victim.

    • avatar16V says:

      This looks like a tax rate, bond raising fund drive speech. Are you a union rep? Running a political campaign? Cause that’s boiler-plate riskin our lives to serve you hero nonsense.

      Bad guys end up walking on a murder charge? I’d love to read that transcript. The guy who’s shooting at you as you roll up? He could not care less whether he gets the chair or life behind bars. He isn’t thinking terribly rationally. What, does your DA let them go too?

      A total of 31 FFs died on the job of all causes in 2011. Sad to be sure. But a fraction of the number (and rate) at which cabbies were murdered, truck drivers died in accidents, warehouse workers were killed in accidents. And that’s just a tiny sample of the jobs that are all more dangerous than FF. Let alone EMT. I did my FF I a long time ago. I did ride along at a busy house and nobody did anything risky 25 years ago. Now, if you die on the job it is a serious fluke or you did something spectacularly dumb. That and I knew I’d get my self bored to tears working only 10 days a month, and end up finding another career within a few years.

      Don’t get me wrong, FF has the highest day off injury rates – which are mainly driven by filing absolutely every scratch as a injury. But hey, that’s the contract and they can always sing the “if you’re not 100% you best stay home” song and the sycophants will buy in.

      Anyone who wants to see the science of what jobs actually are dangerous…

      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

    • avatarMD Matt says:

      My objection, and that of the majority of posters here, is that this kind of language seeks to set first responders above the people they are tasked to protect and serve. On its face, the suggestion seems like a reasonable protection for a small group of public servants who willingly walk into dangerous circumstances. Unfortunately, that’s not how I view it.
      First, as said earlier, making maximum punishments mandatory removes a degree of flexibility that I personally feel is necessary for the fair administration of “justice.” The truth is that there are many circumstances in which a first responder might be killed or injured by a well-meaning citizen. All of them are tragic, but not all of them are deserving of life in prison. Murder is already illegal and carries a heavy penalty. Even so, there are degrees of murder, certain acts which take into account the degree of premeditation and responsibility of the accused. Setting greater penalties for the death of a specific occupation, ranks the crime based on the nature of the deceased rather than the relative value of the crime itself. I value all human life equally. I don’t personally see why killing a first responder is any more of a crime than gunning me down in the street. I’m not saying that first responders deserve any less protection than me, just that I value my own life equal to theirs.
      Second, the courts often use plea bargains to incentavize criminals to testify and provide the state with important service. I find the practice distasteful. Even so, society has decided that the prosecution of certain criminals is worth reduced penalties for other “lesser” crimes. Put plainly, justice is expensive. In a perfect world we’d be able to punish all criminals regardless of the cost. But it isn’t a perfect world and the judicial system isn’t possessed of infinite funds. Plea bargaining enables the state to use its resources to best effect.
      Finally, I’m heartily sick of hearing how first responders walk into danger every day. I get it, I agree, I thank them for their service (seriously, not just a pro-forma statement, I really do appreciate the courage it takes to put yourself in harms way to do good work.) From my perspective the discussion shouldn’t center on penalizing the public for harming first responders but how to get first responders the training and equipment to protect them from harm in the first place. If their job really is that dangerous or the risks are that bad, then why don’t they have bullet proof vests? When it comes down to it, being a first responder is a job. It’s voluntary, and yes I know there are first responders who are themselves volunteers. Any way you put it, it’s a choice, a choice most are compensated for with my tax dollars. Accur81 and I had this out in a thread a few months ago. We don’t exactly agree on everything, but I like to think we ended the discussion on speaking terms. Hopefully this will end with more of the same.

  22. avatarGuy22 says:

    Firefighters and paramedics walk into unknown and dangerous situations every day, without bulletproof vests, guns, or less lethal weapons. We put ourselves in harms way to take care of the public, and unfortunately we get assaulted far too frequently. The bad guys may be truly reprobate (like the NY shooter) or may be hopped up on drugs. But most are calculating criminals who know they’ll probably walk. That is unacceptable, and legislative action can help protect those who protect and serve.
    B___S___!!!
    Murder and assualt is not legal in any State I know of. If your State does not enforce the laws it already has, how will more laws help???
    One law for me, and one for thee???
    “Legislative action can help protect those who protect and serve.”
    Yeah right??
    Just like legislative action can help protect my family who I protect and serve???
    Don’t bet on it!!!
    Guy22

  23. avatarannon says:

    retired pigs r special tho

    “Additionally, the exemptions should apply to retired police and peace officers, and to others in the employ of the Sheriff and other police agencies who perform security duties at public facilities and events.”

  24. avatarSelousX says:

    Umm, I don’t think I’m gonna get too Orwellian on playing off the obvious pun. Let me just say I’ve never been comfortable with some ‘animals’ being more equal than others, with regards to the section, “the exemptions should apply to retired police and peace officers”.
    It reminds me waaaay too much of the exchange in ‘Blade Runner’ between Deckard and Bryant: “Stop right where you are! You know the score, pal. You’re not cop, you’re little people!”
    “No choice, huh?”
    “[smiles] No choice, pal.”

    Just one of the little people callin’ it like he sees it.

  25. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    “Why are first responders’ lives any more important than anyone else’s?”

    I feel the same way about hate crimes. Is it somehow better to beat up a guy for his money than because he’s gay? Is it better to kill someone because you want to steal his car than because he’s black/white/yellow/whatever? A crime is a crime and a thought is a thought. Thoughts are not crimes.

  26. avatarErik says:

    As someone who has 5 years of experience as an EMT — 1 year of being Captain of an EMS organization — under his belt, I absolutely hate the fact that killing a first responder carries an automatic harsh sentence. My life is not any more important than the lives of others. This automatic sentencing completely ignores the foundations set for judging homicide cases.

    1st degree murder is almost always reserved exclusively for pre-meditated, “lying in wait,” type of killings. A killing that is “spur-of-the-moment” or “in a fit of rage” does not, and should not, be counted as 1st degree murder. The case I imagine in my head which makes me oppose the SAFE Act is this: A first responder starts provoking/harassing some random person on the street, a scuffle ensues, and the first responder ends up dead. Under any other circumstances, this is manslaughter at best and 2nd degree murder at most.

  27. avatarMr. Carpenter says:

    Hate to say it, but the idiot who killed the firemen in Webster NY, (where I live) wouldnt have “changed his mind” if he knew the laws were stricter and he would be punished… He killed him self right after. What a stupid new law. Criminals DONT think before they act. Thats why the commit crimes. Dumb Dumb Dumb. ps, just ordered 100 new 30 rd mags… The govenor is a sneaky Twitt. f ‘em.

  28. avatarBob says:

    The process by which this was done, an 11:30 at night deal where few if any of the senate or assembly had even 15 minutes to review the law, the language and most importantly the “unconstitutinality” of it. The law Violates the US Constitution’s Second Amendment and the NYS Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. Magazine capacity is an idiotic restrecition. We have lived under the 1994 Magazine ban and trying to find a 5 or 7 round magazine for an AR15 is next to impossible,let alone a rediculous requirement. Regardless of the magazine capacity someone hell bent on creating a massacre will find a way. the Ristriction’s do nothing except hurt law abiding citizen’s. Further the national data on Assault weapons used in crimes is. In 2012 an assault weapon was used in 18 crimes while knives were used in many more and Hammer’s killed more people last year than any other weapon. To reduce crime it has been proven over and over CCW permits have a major effect and crime goes down. Look to Ramn Emanual’s Chicago if you need any more research to do

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