As you read this story, remember that with all the new gun laws in New York, the term “illegal gun owner” could be your neighbor or even you. This news story stated that even the police agencies did not know about this reward program, is it possible that some people don’t know about the recent changes to the New York gun law and that now they are technically breaking the law (or will be when the laws fully take affect?)
Nearly a year before the NY SAFE Act was passed, Governor Cuomo’s office announced a four pronged initiative, they say to end gun violence. One of the programs was a cash reward for citizens who lead police to the arrest and confiscation of illegal fire arms. This program, aimed at rewarding people who blow the whistle on illegal gun owners has yet to show significant results. This is according to three police agencies in the New York. Two of the agencies said they were completely unaware of the program until they received a letter from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services earlier this week. All three agencies said they had never received one tip, let alone make any arrests based on a tip.
Known as the “Gun Tip Line”, New Yorkers can call a toll free hotline to alert police if they believe someone they know has an illegal gun. The call would be picked up by state police and local law enforcement would be notified if the tip seemed reliable. If there was an arrest the tipster would receive as much as $500.
“This initiative seeks to turn neighbor against neighbor and use their own tax dollars to pay for the $500 reward,” said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose. Read more here.
After we get past the fact that the everyday citizen could now be a criminal, and the state wants (needs) their friends and neighbors to turn them in, as it would otherwise be impossible to know who is not following all the new laws – we realize it is taxpayer money they are using to reward this behavior.
What about Due Process of Law? When the District Attorney looks at the case brought before them, how are they going to get a Judge to buy off on it? There are so many things wrong with this program and while there may be liberal Judges in New York (I do not know) a person who is convicted of a crime that began with a call to this tip line may very well be exonerated upon appeal.