“N.Y. State has established a toll-free tip line -- 1-855-GUNSNYS (1-855- 486-7697) to encourage residents to report illegal firearm possession,” The Record posted yesterday on its Facebook page. “The tip line also allows for information to be submitted via text -- individuals can text GUNTIP and their message to CRIMES (274637).
“The New York State Police staff the tip line 24 hours a day,” the post continues. “Upon receiving a call, troopers will solicit as much information as possible regarding a firearm tip then contact the appropriate police agency with the lead to initiate an investigation.
“If the information leads to an arrest for the illegal possession of a firearm, the ‘tipster’ will be awarded $500,” the post concludes.
Such programs are hardly new to the Empire State. Gun Rights Examiner reported on community whatever-he-is Al Sharpton endorsing NYPD’s “Gun Stop” program back in 2010 (and curiously, that webpage is still active and offers a $1,000 reward for the same information called into their number, so possibly an enterprising snitch could double-dip).
Earlier, this column addressed similar programs in Australia and in Washington, D.C. Earlier still it addressed another such program in West Palm Beach in 2009 and another such effort in Ohio in 2008. This correspondent’s “Rights Watch column for the May 2007 issue of GUNS Magazine commented on New York Daily News column (that was naturally) praising NYPD snitch line efforts at that time.
Several fundamental questions have been asked and remain unanswered throughout this time:
If I'm a drug dealer and I want to eliminate the competition, why not let New York's finest do the job for me? Chances are, my rivals will be packing, so I'll not only get them busted, but I'll collect a cool grand per head. And if I'm really lucky, maybe one or more of them will go for their waistbands and I can get the cops to take 'em out for me.
Or what if I'm just mad at somebody? What if some bum has stolen my girl or I think a guy ripped me off or I'm just a creep who wants to victimize someone for the twisted hell of it? This would be a pretty sweet way of doing that, wouldn't you say? Sic the cops on 'em, maybe get 'em killed, and remember: even the police won't know who I am. Forget the reward. Besides, maybe I can take pictures of the action and sell them to The Daily News.
Or what if I'm one of those policemen Commissioner Kelly doesn't trust? What if I have no probable cause for a search warrant, but I don't want to let the Fourth Amendment get in my way any more than the Second does in NYC? Why not just call in the tip myself, and enjoy a toll-free bypass around the Constitution?
Since no “Authorized Journalists” (what Joe Biden refers to as “legitimate media”) or political figures seem inclined to demand answers, perhaps some intrepid readers could join in calling the number and inquiring as to what protections are in place.
Just be forewarned, Kevin Starrett of Oregon Firearms Federation did, and recommended “You should give out the phone number (1-855- 486-7697) for the NY Rat out Your Neighbor If He Has a Gun Program. It’s toll-free, and as I learned, it’s good nationwide!
“They were NOT at all polite to me!” he reported.
Considering the types of regimes that have resorted to an informant citizenry in the past, that's probably to be expected from those who feed themselves through such employment.
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