SAFE Act Used to Force NY Gun Store to Turn Over Sales Records

albion gun shop

Via AmmoLand.com:

Joseph Palumbo, co-owner of the Albion Gun Shop, reports that New York State Police officers from the Narcotics Enforcement Unit demanded records of all customers who purchased New York SAFE Act compliant rifles. The order was made during a warrantless SWAT team raid . . .

Since the passing of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (S.A.F.E.) Act, the New York State Troopers Narcotics Enforcement Unit (NEU) has been delegated to enforce the S.A.F.E. Act and to handle all matters pertaining to the S.A.F.E. Act.

The NEU unit visited Mr. Palumbo on several occasions prior to the raid, disrupting his business. They did so to check that Mr. Palumbo was compliant with the S.A.F.E. act provisions for licensed gun shops owners.

“The New York State Police told me that my guns were NY S.A.F.E. compliant. The chief of the Medina police told me my rifles were NY S.A.F.E. compliant and in fact purchased one of the guns from my shop.” James D. Tresmond, attorney for the Albion Gun Shop, raised the possibility of entrapment. “My client disclosed to me that he would not have sold these rifles to the general public had they not been approved by the New York Division of State Police”

Meanwhile, a confidential informant from within the state police released an email from New York State Police Division Counsel Kevin Bruen which insinuates that police department itself cannot understand the S.A.F.E. Act. The email was a response to a state trooper’s inquiry as to whether modified rifles were New York S.A.F.E. compliant. Division Counsel ordered that “a court would have to rule on the legality of these rifles.”

“The New York S.A.F.E. Act is being enforced arbitrarily on a case by case basis,” Tresmond said. “That amounts to unconstitutional vagueness under the Supreme Court’s Morales standard, and the law should be enjoined for that reason alone.”

Mr. Palumbo, concerned that his license to sell firearms in New York may be affected by recent solicitation by the New York State Trooper Narcotics Enforcement Unit, has retained Tresmond Law to represent him in all legal matters concerning any possible investigation or litigation made by the New York State Narcotics Enforcement Unit regarding his business.

comments

  1. avatar Mediocrates says:

    how about that. what a great use for the SWAT team. fire up them MRAPs boys, we got paper work to check!

    1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

      Exactly. The article states the police were there numerous times without any issues at all? Why bring a SWAT team to a business which has demonstrated repeatedly they are cooperative with law enforcement?

      1. avatar FoRealz? says:

        Why?

        Cuz gunz!

    2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      And warrantless: two for the price of one!

    3. avatar Mark says:

      Search warrant…..we don’t need no stinkin search warrant. Why would any business/individual want to be “co-operative with law enforcement”. When you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        They can’t wait for warrants, the bad guys will flush the narcotics down the toilet. What? What do you mean, narcotics aren’t involved? Then why the flick are we here?

        1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Ha ha, the joke would be on the store owner, though, as I’m pretty sure any (un)S.A.F.E. Act non-compliant rifles would get caught in the p-trap and recovered, anyway.

        2. avatar Jus Bill says:

          Because they’re fighting the War on… uh, taxpayers?

        3. avatar DJ says:

          They might have tried to flush an M249 down the toilet.

  2. avatar Scrubula says:

    Those cops are pushovers. They sit behind a phone and threaten legal businesses with swatting when sending a single uniformed officer to talk to him in person would likely resolve the situation.

  3. avatar A-Rod says:

    Innocent until proven guilty was run over by an MRAP.

  4. avatar Ah Clem says:

    NYSP Narcs doing a shakedown on a retailer? How’s that go? “Nice little gun shop ya got here, be a shame if anything happened to it.”

    1. avatar archangel187 says:

      My thoughts exactly. Sounds like a mob sales pitch tactic for their “protection” racket. Almost expected to see something about sleeping with fishes in the email.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Yeah. “Now about that LEO discount…”.

  5. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one MAKES them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of law-breakers — and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.” Dr. Ferris, Atlas Shrugged.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      That book, published in 1957, is becoming more and more relevant.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        And with it, the 2nd and 4th Amendments become less so. Our nation lives in sad times, and the liberal progressive left is leading the charge.

        1. avatar PistoleroJesse says:

          The charge down the road that was paved by republicrats…

        2. avatar DJ says:

          When there’s a boot on your neck, it really doesn’t matter if it’s the right foot or the left foot, Jesse.

  6. avatar Alpo says:

    Much more detail here: http://www.niagarafallsreporter.com/Stories/2014/SEP02/albion.html

    A NY SAFE Act investigation has begun at a business in a neighboring county. The Albion Gun Shop, located on Hamilton St. in the Town of Albion in Orleans County, has received a “request” from the New York State Police for records of all persons who have purchased a bullet button AR-15 from the store since the SAFE Act was passed and signed into law in January of 2013,

    A bullet button AR-15 is a rifle that has been modified with a special feature that makes a semiautomatic rifle’s magazine permanent, or not detachable without a special tool.

    The NY SAFE Act makes detachable magazines on a semiautomatic rifle illegal for purchase after the SAFE Act passed, as well as required for registration as of April 2014 if purchased before the SAFE Act passed.

    The state police can demand access to these records anytime, and no warrant is necessary.

    According to Joseph F. Palumbo, the gun shop owner, he was given 24 hours to comply with the request he received last Thursday (Aug. 28) and on Friday he handed over approximately 170 customer records.

    According to Palumbo, he said he had spoken with state police last year in regards to the legality of selling AR-15’s with the bullet button attachment.

    He said police advised him that it should be “ok” but wouldn’t guarantee him an answer until someone goes to court for it.

    According to Palumbo, he said he was told that there had been a plan to raid the gun shop with the SWAT Team, but the lead investigator felt it would be best to go in peacefully.

    Palumbo said he had been told that the reason for the investigation was that there was an anonymous complaint to the NY SAFE “Tipline” that offers a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest under the SAFE Act.

    Citizen spying and telling on fellow citizens is one of the hallmarks of the SAFE Act.

    But The Reporter has learned that the genesis of the recent demand for gun sales records at the Albion gun shop may have more to do with a recent arrest arising out of a domestic dispute.

    On Aug 19, Orleans County Sheriff Deputies were called to a domestic dispute in the Village of Medina.

    This AR-15 semi automatic rifle (with bullet button modification ) is similar to the one possessed by Brenden Morgan, which led to his arrest. The rifle is a handy one for self defense of the home, sports shooting and hunting, as per the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. That amendment however was suspended in New York State by Gov. Andrew Cuomo through his passage of the NY SAFE Act.

    Trevor Cook, 23, of Medina was allegedly beating up his girlfriend with a running gas powered weed trimmer (perhaps Gov. Cuomo can make weed trimmers illegal).

    During the investigation into the weed trimmer dispute, the warring couple told police that another tenant on the property was in possession of a modified semiautomatic AR-15 rifle.

    Police shifted their attention and within minutes Brenden Morgan, 22, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the 4th Degree. Neither the rifle, nor the defendant (Morgan) were involved in the dispute that brought police to the property.

    Morgan will appear in Shelby Town Court on Thursday (Sept. 4) at 6 p. m.

    Morgan told the Reporter that, when questioned by police, he admitted to purchasing the rifle from Albion Gun Shop last year with the bullet button installed.

    The gun Morgan possessed was legal prior to final approval of the SAFE Act on Jan. 15, 2013.

    After purchasing the rifle, Morgan later removed the bullet button allowing the magazine to be detachable, which made it illegal unless registered under the NY SAFE Act. The firearm would also have to have been purchased before the SAFE Act passage.

    This would be a great case to take to a jury trial in Orleans County.

    There would not be a jury in that rural county that would convict a man for possessing a rifle such as Morgan possessed.

    It is part and parcel of the constitutional heritage of the freedom loving people there. Orleans County was the first and only county in New York State in which every municipality passed a resolution in opposition to the SAFE Act calling for its repeal.

    If the jury were to acquit or hang itself, which they certainly would – no matter what the judge told them about having to convict under the law, Morgan could not be prosecuted for his victimless crime.

    This could be the beacon leading the state out of the darkness of the SAFE Act.

    But will the post-SAFE Act criminal possession of a weapons’ charge in Medina, which likely led to the investigation of Albion Gun Shop, lead also to the gun shop being taken down by the state police to set an example for others across New York who may not be “complying?”

    Time will tell.

    As Patrick Henry said, “Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”

    Stay tuned.

    1. avatar Gene says:

      Yeap – I was going to post this, too.

      This article says SWAT was NOT used:

      “According to Palumbo, he said he was told that there had been a plan to raid the gun shop with the SWAT Team, but the lead investigator felt it would be best to go in peacefully.

      (emphasis mine) Kind of strange that their first response is to use SWAT against a business to go after customer records, then they throttle it back to something less aggressive (and, imo, more appropriate).

      If I have to guess based on this article, I suspect they’ll be going after folks that bought things with bullet buttons.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        I think they must have thought about what they wanted to do (raid a building full of armed employees with nearly infinite large caliber rifles and ammunition), and realized it was a REALLY BAD IDEA ™.

    2. avatar beefeater says:

      I had been under the impression that bullet buttoned ARs with “evil” features were a violation of the SAFE Act. I forget where I heard that though.

      I guess it just shows how ridiculous this whole situation is…

    3. avatar Stinkeye says:

      What a clusterf*ck. Some piece of trash is beating on his girlfriend, and when the cops show up, the abuser rats out his neighbor for having an “illegal” rifle. Turns out the rifle was sold legally (as far as anyone can tell until the “scary rifle” provisions of the SAFE Act are challenged in court), then later modified by the owner, but for some reason they’re still going after the gun shop and all other owners of similar rifles…

      I’d be interested to know if they filed charges against Mr. Weedwhacker, or if they let him go in exchange for the information about his evil criminal mastermind neighbor.

    4. avatar Peaches says:

      It’s kinda interesting, because Orleans passed a resolution saying they weren’t going to enforce it.

    5. avatar Toby in KS says:

      “The rifle is a handy one for self defense of the home, sports shooting and hunting, as per the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. ***That amendment however was suspended in New York State by Gov. Andrew Cuomo*** through his passage of the NY SAFE Act.”

      … Because Andrew Cuomo is god or/of something…

      This hurts my brain. Gulag Archipelago comes to life. Again.

  7. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    Yeah they pass the law saying there will be no gun grabbing. Then they go ahead and grab the guns. More proof that registration leads directly to confiscation.

  8. avatar tdiinva says:

    You see police “militarization” doesn’t need Federal assitance. The States and the large muncipalities can do this all on their own.

  9. avatar Jared says:

    Nahh, it’s all made up. Everyone knows the NYSP are made up of heroes who got out of the military and who just want to support their country and state….

  10. avatar Paco says:

    Land of the free, hilarious. We have let the Bill of Rights be shredded, the 2A will suffer the same, despite all the tough guy internet talk.

  11. avatar plumbump says:

    ‘The chief of the Medina police told me my rifles were NY S.A.F.E. compliant and in fact purchased one of the guns from my shop.’ …..why would he do that?, seems odd.

    1. avatar Alpo says:

      Why wouldn’t he?

      1. avatar Gene says:

        Depends on where the funds for the purchase came from?

      2. avatar plumbump says:

        Wouldn’t the owner be a little reluctant to sell to any leos in the middle of an investigation…. and also don’t the police usually buy in bulk?

        1. avatar Alpo says:

          Ah, I get it now.

          I think the interaction he’s referring to happened well before the current situtation.

    2. avatar Shire-man says:

      Ummm… because COPS LIE.

      Taking legal advice/opinion from a cop is one of the absolutely worst things you can do. If a cop says what your doing is okay call a lawyer immediately. For that matter do the same if a cop tells you a thing you are doing is not okay as well.

  12. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “… a confidential informant from within the state police released an email from New York State Police Division Counsel Kevin Bruen which insinuates that police department itself cannot understand the S.A.F.E. Act.”

    Wait, I thought these were “common sense gun laws”. Now you tell me the cops who have to enforce them cannot understand them? Gee, Mr. Bloomberg and his Mommies must be thrilled!

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Well, to be fair, most cops also appear to be unable to understand the simple phrase “shall not be infringed”, so their not understanding a convoluted mess of hot garbage like the SAFE Act is to be expected.

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      “… a confidential informant from within the state police released an email from New York State Police Division Counsel Kevin Bruen which insinuates that police department itself cannot understand the S.A.F.E. Act.” Because there were no pictures, and their crayon broke.

  13. avatar Sammy says:

    Cuomo for President! NOT

  14. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    For those outside NY State, you should know that Gov Cuomo and his cronies are battling a Freedom of Information request to answer just one question “How many New Yorkers have registered their so-called assault weapons”. The State absolutely refuses to say. I wonder why ? LMAO

  15. avatar Joe R. says:

    Bullet-button guns would help a lot during a Civil War or War with China, Not ny, just us and China. Thanks.

    We got your state houses and governor to disarm you for us. Thankfully, they did it for free. It didn’t even cost beads/trinkets/$25 worth of sheet music/cholera laden blankets, etc., etc.

    [Hopefully, the one take-away from my comment above] would be to know how NY’ers sound to us when they are attempting to gun-grab on the rest of us.

  16. avatar John E> says:

    ” as per the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. That amendment however was suspended in New York State by Gov. Andrew Cuomo through his passage of the NY SAFE Act.”

    The right still exists regardless of the 2nd Amendment.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      LAUS DEO ! ! !

  17. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “The state police can demand access to these records anytime, and no warrant is necessary.”

    So the New York Safe Act somehow supersedes our U.S. Constitutional Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our houses, papers, and effects from warrantless searches? How does that work?

    1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      Perhaps, since the Albion Gun Shop owner, having been injured by the law, now has standing to challenge that law, this could be a great test case.

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      This was my thinking as well. Seems we have a “general warrant” and “fishing expedition” problem here. Not only a problem with the unSAFE act in general, but this case in particular.

      I mean, so let’s say it is legal, constitutional and moral for the LEO’s to go knocking on the business owner’s door requesting records of the sale of Morgan’s rifle. Even if we grant that particular ‘records request’ is ok, how in the world do they justify the LEO’s looking at the records of sales to people not in any way, shape or form related to a crime for which they have probable cause?

      It is astonishing how easy it is for some to throw out the other rights, such as that enumerated in 4A, on the basis of anti-2A arguments.

      Something about slippery slopes comes to mind.

      And this:

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Not even the state constitution, just a state law. That demonstrates an understanding of the constitution right up there with Osama’s. What maroons.

    4. avatar Sc says:

      It’s actually part of NYS business law. NYS granted themselves the authority to examine the books and records of any NYS FFL at any time.

  18. avatar Gene says:

    Well, the way I’m reading it, the State Police don’t need a warrant to demand access to the records. They can demand all they want and it’d be up to the individual to hand them over or not. To actually seize them, I suspect and hope, would require the warrant.

    Then you’ve got SWAT, a huge vehicle parked right in front, a dead dog, and broken doors. Hopefully, the warrant is signed.

  19. avatar Hannibal says:

    Businesses open to the public do not have the expectation of privacy a home issues, re the 4th amendment and entry of police during business hours. This was in no way a “warrantless swat raid.”

    That said, demanding records rather than taking them makes me wonder if they may need a warrant for that… the old “you can do this the easy way or the hard way bit.” I know the ATF can inspect an FFL’s records but I’m not sure about the state police…

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      The problem with justifying police access to business records on the claim that business records are not “private” is that they contain private information for customers that are not suspected of any crime.

      It’s none of the LEO’s or government’s business what businesses I choose to patronize. The real problem here, and one that hopefully will NEVER stand in court is that no probable cause that a crime has been committed for the other 169 people in those records.

      What a mess. Not just the unSAFE Act itself, but that we live in a society where people will justify government scrutiny of transactions between supposedly “free people.”

  20. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    So, SWAT wasn’t actually called out on a papers, please run.

    Am I the only one thinking that the real problem isn’t that SWAT was or wasn’t used, but rather that the local police even considered the option of sending SWAT to conduct a records check?

    1. avatar Gene says:

      You’re not the only one. I posted a comment earlier about this. It’s truly disturbing that their initial reaction is SWAT for something akin to getting some administrative paperwork from a business, then it finally dawns that it might be an overreaction. For getting paperwork. At a public place of business.

      This truly does demonstrate an “everything is a nail” mentality for them.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Correct.

  21. avatar Powerwiz says:

    Outrageous. How is this even legal. During WW2 Congress passed a Act and Reagan passed another to expressly forbid the collection, registration of weapons.

    This one should hit the courts.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      It is legal because the law Reagan signed affects only the federal government, not state governments, who are free to create any registry they like. Like the one in New York. And California. And D.C. And Massachusetts. And Illinois.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      A Federal gun registry is (supposedly) prohibited. State registries are not, and many states have them.

      1. I would not call the handful that have them “many”.

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          Sorry Dean, one is one “too many.”

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Yet.

  22. avatar bunny says:

    You’d think they’d have something better to do.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      They believe they are doing something important.

      For THEM.

  23. avatar Kyle says:

    I am in Le Roy, about forty minutes from Albion. Upstate, NY is a pretty conservative area. The state police around here have said that they are not enforcing the SAFE Act. But they said do not go near any of the cities with any of the “SAFE Act-compliant” rifles because whether to arrest or not is up to the officer and there is no hard-and-defined definition of whether a rifle is SAFE Act-compliant or not.

    1. avatar Gene says:

      The ole (and arbitrary/capricious) “we’ll test it in court at the expense of the taxpayers and defendant” ploy, eh, Agent 99?

      1. avatar Kyle says:

        Pretty much. And you risk being arrested and becoming the first test case if you get caught near the cities with such a rifle. In the rural areas, not so much, but even then it could be a risk, it depends.

  24. avatar Larry says:

    The right to buy weapons is the right to be free!

  25. avatar POLICESTATE says:

    KGB Major: Do you want to see me?

    Colonel Ernesto Bella: Yes… yes. Go to the sporting goods store. From the files obtain forms 4473. These will contain descriptions of weapons, and lists of private ownership.

    1. avatar Julio says:

      Nice Red Dawn reference. Unfortunately, it’s getting closer and closer to reality.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        And in Red Dawn a soldier pried the pistol out of the hand of a cold, dead corpse…

  26. avatar Tom says:

    New York State Police are essentially Cuomo`s SS and need to be shown the respect they deserve which is contempt and being ostracized.

  27. avatar Tom says:

    His attorney could issue a subpoena to get the name of the individual who called the hotline. State police would have to produce the information, go to court to quash the subpoena or else be held in contempt of court.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Red Dawn. See above.

    2. avatar DJ says:

      Your proposal is…acceptable. – Men In Black (Right before the giant cockroach pulls Edgar’s shotgun out of his cold, dead hands)

  28. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    which insinuates that police department itself cannot understand the S.A.F.E. Act. Well, they are not alone and this really is no surprise.

  29. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Joseph Palumbo, co-owner of the Albion Gun Shop, reports that New York State Police officers from the Narcotics Enforcement Unit demanded records of all customers who purchased New York SAFE Act compliant rifles. The order was made during a warrantless SWAT team raid . . .”

    It would seem that the S.A.F.E. act violates federal law…

  30. avatar Glenn Johnson says:

    Sadly all to similar to the BS we still have here in canuckistan.. ~_~

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