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Lawmaker’s Gun Legislation Should Not Move Forward

Legislation proposed in the state Assembly shows just how great a divide there is between places like Chautauqua County and urban areas like New York City.

Of course, we’re talking about A.1413, legislation that would make gun raffles illegal.

In her justification for the legislation, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, D-Brooklyn, wrote that many times gun raffles are open to any individual regardless of age and, given that firearm-related violence is a significant public health and safety problem, weapons shouldn’t be given away in games of chance.

Any organization using a gun raffle as a fundraiser knows that guns are never given away to anyone underage. Winners have to be of legal gambling age, after all. And, it’s not as if someone wins a ticket and walks out of the fire hall with a gun. Winners have to go through the same background checks as someone who walks into a sporting goods store to buy a gun. Unless Simon and her fellow New York City Democrats are concerned that existing gun laws don’t work at all, there is no reason for her legislation to move forward, particularly given her legislative justification doesn’t mention a single instance of a gun won in a gun raffle being used to commit a crime.

The logic Simon uses is an even bigger issue, as far as we’re concerned.

Using Simon’s logic, the state might as well ban a host of other fundraisers too. Eating too much meat is bad for people’s health, so the state would have a public health justification for banning meat raffles. The state might as well ban lottery scratch-off tickets too, because scratch-off games can feed gambling addiction — and we’re pretty sure that baskets used in basket raffles often have a few scratch-off tickets in them. Could the state go so far as to justify banning raffles featuring sports leagues? Why not — there is a chance someone could get a cold if they win hockey tickets, and that would fall into Simon’s public health justification. Simon could likely even make the case against giving away camping gear — there is that pesky chance someone can get attacked by a bear while they’re camping.

Not only are there times we we can hardly believe Chautauqua County and New York City are in the same state, there are times like this that we wonder if we’re even living on the same planet.

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