In November 2001, New York City voters approved a ballot proposal to amend the City Charter to create gun-free school safety zones within 1,000 feet of every school and to ban the sale of any type of gun to persons under the age of 21. These targeted infringements on New Yorkers’ gun rights set an extraordinarily dangerous precedent. If gun ownership can be banned for certain classes of individuals, extending this ban to all citizens of our state is only a matter of time.
The ballot proposal was cleverly crafted to pretend to protect children from violence. Libertarians categorically reject the proposition that restricting our rights is ever an answer to crime. There is empirical data showing that tightening restrictions on gun laws actually leads to an increase in crime. The idea of “gun-free” school zones seems natural to voters already comfortable with “drug-free” school zones. Similarly, after a generation has grown up under the yoke of the 21 drinking age, the loss of gun rights for so-called “minors” sparks no outrage, even among youth themselves. Libertarians see the bigger picture and understand that fighting for the rights of a single group on a single issue is doomed to failure the rights of every citizen must be defended.
The Manhattan Libertarian Party also demands the repeal of New York State’s Sullivan Law, which gives discretionary authority to state agencies in issuing gun permits. Law-abiding citizens must prove to government bureaucrats that they have a “legitimate” or “compelling” reason to own a firearm. This requirement has nothing to do with passing a background check. Discretion is a synonym for discrimination. Since no reason need be given if a permit application is denied, the potential for abuse is enormous.
The purpose of the 2nd amendment is not to allow people the use of guns to protect themselves from other citizens, but to protect themselves from the government. These gun bans are simply continued infringement upon our ability to protect ourselves, eventually culminating with our inability to resist the state. The Manhattan Libertarian Party is highly skeptical of any government control, and therefore is strongly opposed to any government measure designed to take away our right to bear arms.