Three-term Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plate is full. He’s on tour promoting his celebratory coronavirus “success” book, ignoring pandemic help offered by lawful firearm businesses, bucking responsibility and blaming New York City’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio for the violence and crime in the state’s largest city and shuttering firearm businesses, which employ 5,500 New Yorkers. Book sales we hear are less than brisk.
Now he’s being considered for a new role – United States Attorney General in a possible Biden administration. That prospect is alarming for Second Amendment supporters, from individual gun owners to the entire firearm industry. His long abysmal track record shows why.
Second Amendment Animus
The Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is the most antigun ticket in modern history. They aren’t just against the Second Amendment, they want to dismantle the entire firearm industry. It wouldn’t surprise Americans that cabinet appointees in a potential Biden administration would be hostile toward the Second Amendment, especially if that includes Gov. Cuomo as the top law enforcement official in the country.
Gov. Cuomo already spent time in a presidential cabinet, serving as former President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the 1990s. That stint included Gov. Cuomo using more than 3,200 public housing authorities as a bludgeon to threaten the firearm industry for the crimes committed by criminals within those housing units.
In the early 2000s, Gov. Cuomo violated antitrust laws by conspiring with other big city mayors to politicize law enforcement purchasing if firearm manufactures didn’t go along with antigun “code of conduct” schemes. NSSF, along with several manufacturers, sued the governor and his coconspirators. The lawsuit quickly put an end to this unlawful antitrust conspiracy and gross overreach that threatened the safety of law enforcement officers.
Empirical Antigun Ambition
Gov. Cuomo announced his intentions to run for a fourth term as the Empire State’s chief executive, but there were plenty of antigun hostilities in his first three terms to go around. Most notable is Gov. Cuomo’s 2013 midnight push to jam through the New York SAFE Act. The antigun problems with that legislation faced immediate legal challenges. The bill included key sections that were deemed too restrictive and struck down once by a federal judge in New York and again two years later by the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Second District. His SAFE Act didn’t make New Yorkers safer, as the recent criminal violence so clearly demonstrates.
So-called “ghost guns” became a shiny new distraction for the governor to attack in 2019, even though crime data shows they aren’t as common as he’d lead others to believe, and the burdensome restrictions only harm law-abiding gunsmiths and firearm hobbyists. Criminals, by definition, ignore the law.
Now Gov. Cuomo has further attacked the firearm industry during the coronavirus pandemic, piling on his open disdain for the industry and Second Amendment supporters. He shuttered New York firearm retailers as “non-essential” businesses, closing them at a time when firearm arm sales soared nationally. Most gun buyers, including more than 6.2 million first-time purchasers, bought a gun because they are concerned about their personal and home safety. That left New Yorkers in a lurch. Even when New York-based firearm industry leaders offered to help their neighbors by manufacturing critical personal protective equipment and needed medical supplies, he refused to acknowledge the offered assistance.
Comfortable Cabinet Job
With less than two weeks before the presidential election, the outcome is still to be decided. While another term for President Donald Trump would mean a strong Second Amendment ally remaining in the Oval Office, the Biden-Harris ticket has already declared their contempt for gun owners and the industry. If that happens, an Attorney General Cuomo would reignite his past hostilities toward the Second Amendment and would be a devastating obstacle for America’s gun owners.
At this point, Gov. Cuomo has said, “I don’t want to go to Washington.” In political speech though, that doesn’t mean much at all.
Lawrence Keane is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry trade association.