Since the 1700's governments in America have passed laws to control who could have guns in the various colonies and states. The British wanted to limit the guns in Colonists' hands for fear of them taking up arms against their English governors. Plantation owners wanted laws to keep guns out of the hands of their slaves, lest they rise up against them. When the Sullivan Laws of New York were passed in the early 1900's they were immediately used for political purposes. If you were in the wrong political party for your area, you could not obtain a permit for a handgun. Even as recently as the 1990's, and maybe even today, if you are affiliated with the wrong political party for your county in New York your application for a pistol permit may be "delayed" or outright denied by the county sheriff or judge. This type of action or inaction by local authorities pales in the face of the bigger issues. Some politicians and special interest groups want to ban ALL guns in the United States, or at least require them all to be registered, citing crime statistics. Opponents say that "registration is the first step toward confiscation" and they may be right. As recently as December 2012, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo stated in a radio interview with WGDM - AM radio in Albany, NY "Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option - keep your gun but permit it."
So are his options viable and appropriate for the safety of New York's neighborhoods and communities? Or is he, as some of his opponents have voiced, "a treasonous tyrant who is out of control?"
We will explore the history of similar registration and confiscation schemes from around the world in our next entry.