BREAKING: Activists call for shutdown of the NYS Police NY SAFE Act hotline

Posted On Aug 11 2014
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Stephen Aldstadt President of SCOPE has just called for an immediate shutdown of the new York State Police NY SAFE Act hotline. “We are getting reports from the public and our members of incomplete or inconsistent information, creating even more confusion about many aspects of this law. There is a fundamental problem with the “hotline” concept.  The offer of a “hotline” for questions lures people to contact the very organization responsible for the investigation and leveling of criminal charges.  Competing with the claim of “helping” people to understand, in particular, the SAFE Act, is the highly publicized offer of reward moneys for tips for violations of the SAFE Act.  The NYSP cannot and should not try to be both the lawyer for a potential defendant and the enforcement arm of the Governor.

Stephen J. Aldstadt’s Letter to Governor Cuomo BELOW:

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August 8, 2014

Governor Andrew Cuomo State of New York Executive Chamber Albany, New York 12224

Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico Division of State Police State of New York 1220 Washington Avenue, Building 22 Albany, New York 12226-2252

To Governor Andrew Cuomo and Superintendent D’Amico:

On January 21, 2013, you launched a New York State Police “hotline” relative to the NY “SAFE Act,” which I am writing to request that you shut down.

I am the President of the Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE), an organization of thousands of members, spanning the entire of the state of New York. I write on behalf of our members and our Board of Directors.

On June 14, 2014, NYSPA Counsel Thomas A. Capezza responded to a letter of inquiry I submitted, and he wrote “…the State Police is unable to offer you legal advice regarding the interpretation of the statutory provisions cited in your letter “and “The State Police, however, is not permitted to offer you such legal advice.”

Contrary to this written position, NYSP advertises and operates an “800” telephone number, through which the police respond to inquiries from callers in a manner that amounts to the giving of legal advice. Various members of SCOPE and of the public have reported to me, over and over, throughout the past year, their experiences using the hotline. Those callers who reach an officer who answers a question will not confirm the response in writing. Callers who place a repeat call with the same or similar questions often get a different answer. It is troublesome that any “answer” is given at all.

There is a fundamental problem with the “hotline” concept. The offer of a “hotline” for questions lures people to contact the very organization responsible for the investigation and leveling of criminal charges. Competing with the claim of “helping” people to understand, in particular, the SAFE Act, is the highly publicized offer of reward moneys for tips for violations

New York State 2nd Amendment Defense Organization • www.scopeny.org

of the SAFE Act. The NYSP cannot and should not try to be both the lawyer for a potential defendant and the enforcement arm of the Governor.

There is a further significant problem that the “hotline” is creating more confusion than it is resolving questions. It does not appear that officers who answer the “hotline” are working from scripted responses in the manner of a typical call center. It also appears in even within the NYSP that individual officers have different and sometimes directly conflicting views regarding the same statutory provisions. The “hotline” is not achieving its advertised goal of “helping” – quite the contrary.

Members of SCOPE are better educated on various issues presented by the SAFE Act than the average New Yorker. If SCOPE members are confused by the claims of the purpose and responses from the “hotline,” then it becomes my responsibility to remind you of the representation of Mr. Capezza that the NYSP “…is not permitted to give legal advice” and to ask that you shut down the “hotline.”

Respectfully,

Stephen J. Aldstadt, President

Stephen J. Aldstadt, President

Stephen J. Aldstadt, President

c.:

Thomas A. Capezza, Attorney Division of State Police State of New York 1220 Washington Avenue, Building 22 Albany, New York 12226-2252

Sen. Dean Skelos Majority Coalition Leader Legislative Office Building, Room 909 Albany, New York 12247

Assemblyman Brian Kolb Assembly Minority Leader Legislative Office Building, Room 933 Albany, New York 12247

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