Two weeks after his so-called “Health Emergency Powers” expired, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday signed a new Executive Order claiming a “Disaster Emergency” – this time concerning what he characterized as “an epidemic of gun violence.”
This forces people who care about principles and liberty to dig into the details of the action, and to defend more strongly the axioms of freedom against audacious attacks like his.
Regardless of “gun violence stats,” Cuomo misuses the term “epidemic.” Epidemic comes from the ancient Greek: “epi” meaning “upon”, and “demos” meaning man. It is used to describe any non-man-made, i.e. natural, malady that can be spread involuntarily from person to person.
Violence, of whatever form, does not fall into this category. Violence is a manifestation of human thought turned into action. It is not a pathogen. It is an individual, human-driven decision, and it never, ever, should be categorized as an “epidemic.”
Of course, politicians trying to justify tyranny and gin-up fear don’t seem to care about truth and the proper use of language.
Cuomo argues his “gun violence” “Disaster Emergency” declaration – is a declaration about an “emerging” threat that, somehow, gave him and his staff plenty of time to create a website, press releases, and promotional posters, just in the nick of time.
So let’s get something straight. According to the philosophical premise upon which US government is based, the polis is not supposed to “protect” people from naturally occurring phenomena. “Natural disasters” and naturally occurring pandemics are not threats against which the founders saw government fighting. They saw government as John Locke did, there to protect property and life from aggression by others – and even THAT is not philosophically sound, as Christian voluntaryists have explained, because it licenses government theft. It means government can engage in taking your stuff in order to create a police force to stop people from… taking your stuff.
And in Cuomo’s rhetorical use of “emergency” to apply it to what he claims is an “epidemic of gun violence,” we see him twisting that original concept of government even further, to grease his own government guns and target innocent gun owners and gun-makers.
Jack Brewster outlines for Forbes some of the potential moves Cuomo might make now that he has instituted this “Emergency Declaration.”
The disaster order will allow the governor to immediately tap into $138 million in state funds to finance various long and short term programs to combat gun violence, including a jobs program aimed at at-risk youth and other intervention programs.
So, despite Cuomo’s dark history “caring” for people who’d contracted COVID-19, which saw him move them into nursing homes and saw subsequent questions about him possibly trying to cover-up the deaths his decision incurred, now the NY Governor will tackle “gun violence” by showering money on local special interests.
Then, there’s this:
As an accompaniment to his disaster order, Cuomo said he would sign a bill sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy of Albany to make it easier to sue gun companies for gun violence.
And that move stems from the leftist NY legislature’s targeting of loopholes in the 2005 federal block of liability suits against gun manufacturers.
Undeterred by the manifest failure of New York's existing gun controls, legislators last month passed a bill that aims to expand the civil liability of firearm suppliers. Under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, gun manufacturers and dealers generally cannot be held liable for crimes committed with their products. That 2005 statute specifies several exceptions, including cases in which a gun supplier ‘knowingly’ violates state or federal law if ‘the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought.’ S.B. 7196, which Cuomo signed into law yesterday, seeks to exploit that exception by authorizing lawsuits against gun suppliers who fail to ‘utilize reasonable controls and procedures’ aimed at preventing unlawful use of the firearms they sell. It defines such a failure as a ‘public nuisance’ and says the state, local governments, or injured private parties can sue violators for damages.
And, of course, “reasonable” will be defined by the government, as will “public nuisance” – always to give politicians like Cuomo more power.
New York already has on the books some of the most tyrannical anti-gun-rights statutes in the US– all of which violate the explicit wording of the Second Amendment. Yet, as Sullum notes:
In New York City, police counted more than 1,500 shootings last year, nearly twice as many as in 2019. The New York Times notes that ‘some 886 people have been shot in 765 incidents this year through July 4.’ And although ‘the violence appeared to ease in June,’ it remains ‘well above 2019 levels.’ New York City homicides rose 45 percent in 2020 and climbed further in the first five months of this year. Other New York cities, including Buffalo and Rochester, have seen similar increases in shootings and gun homicides.
As John Lott noted in his book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” and had repeatedly observed at the Crime Prevention Research Center, the presence of more guns in the hands of civilians appears to be strongly correlated to decreases in violent crime. Even FBI crime stats show this.Yet Cuomo wants to spend tons of NY taxpayer money to further threaten those very same taxpayers who might want to own guns, and to threaten gun makers with potential lawsuits.
If New Yorkers of sound mind already didn’t want him to enjoy a career away from Albany, this new move might inspire such thoughts.