In Passing New Anti-Gun Laws, New York Should Have Remembered Failures Of Anti-Tobacco Laws


The State of New York is making headlines as the first state in America to pass new gun control laws after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut. These laws seem calculated to ban guns not through outright prohibition but through regulatory attrition.

New Yorkers, among other things, will now have to get a background check for ammunition purchases, and large purchases will be reported to state authorities.

This is patently ridiculous and unworkable legislation, and New York lawmakers ought to know better given the failure of their similar attempts to outlaw tobacco through regulation. New York has unmercifully high taxes on cigarettes, yet according to a recent Tax Foundation study no less than 60% of cigarettes in New York are bootlegged to avoid the state’s taxes and regulations.

How soon will gun-owning New Yorkers be bootlegging their ammo and other guns/supplies to avoid these new laws?

All these sort of laws do is breed contempt for the law by encouraging normally law-abiding citizens to break laws they see, rightly in this instance, as being unjust.

What will be interesting it to see the courts handle these new laws. The Supreme Court has upheld the 2nd amendment as an individual right which cannot be infringed by the federal government or the states. But how will the courts rule on the de facto prohibition of guns through regulation?

Rob Port is the editor of, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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