Governor Cuomo’s Nightmare is Finally Over

by GREGORY D. LEE July 6, 2015

At a news conference last Sunday following the capture of David Sweat, who had escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY, Gov. Mario Cuomo pronounced, "The nightmare is finally over."

David Sweat was convicted of killing a sheriff's deputy he shot 20 times and then ran over multiple times with his vehicle. His fellow escapee, Richard Matt, killed his employer and dismembered his body. Without a death penalty in New York, both were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Following the tragic shooting event in December of 2013, at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT, Gov. Cuomo and his fellow anti-gun legislators went into a hysterical frenzy to swiftly enact the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act. This overreaching legislation limits the number of bullets in a handgun magazine to seven, even if it has the capacity of 12, 15, or more. Originally, this restriction applied to law enforcement officers. It requires registration of all existing semi-automatic rifles liberals like to call "assault weapons," outlaws standard 30-round capacity rifle magazines, and requires a full background check on all purchasers of ammunition and then their names are reported to the police.

Fifty-two of New York State's 62 counties passed resolutions against the SAFE Act, and many counties directed their police forces not to enforce its provisions.

The SAFE Act was so unpopular with New Yorkers that they simply didn't comply with the requirement to register their semi-automatic firearms with the New York State Police. The State Police recently released data showing that of the estimated 1 - 1.2 million semi-automatic firearms within the state, only 23,847 people registered a total of 44,485 guns before the required deadline. That's not even a four percent compliance rate. The SAFE Act made criminals out of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are exercising their Second Amendment rights.

So, when Richard Matt and David Sweat made their audacious escape from the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility, Gov. Cuomo's nightmare began. As anyone could have predicted, the fugitives burglarized an unoccupied cabin and stole a shotgun that they used in an attempt to carjack a driver. Matt had the shotgun at the time Border Patrol Agents shot and killed him. Gov. Cuomo's nightmare was about law abiding New Yorkers being killed while reloading their weapons defending themselves and their families against two desperate murderers who had nothing to lose. Such an event would be further evidence that such laws have not, and will never work as intended.

To justify passing the SAFE Act, Gov. Cuomo cried out in a speech, "You don't need 30 bullets to kill a deer!" No you don't, but you may very well need 30 bullets to ward off two armed and dangerous escaped murders who want to break into your rural home, kill you, and steal your money, guns and car.

Why do Gov. Cuomo and his anti-gun cronies feel compelled to place law abiding citizens at a disadvantaged position against armed felons? What makes them believe felons will ever comply with ill-conceived anti-gun laws like the SAFE Act? Why would Gov. Cuomo purposely give the advantage to criminals over the general public? To liberal politicians it does not matter. They don't like firearms, therefore they must be banned!

New Yorkers dodged the bullet (pun intended) when the law enforcement dragnet located Matt and Sweat before they managed to kill again. This entire event should illustrate to New Yorkers and all Americans that no matter how many anti-gun laws liberals pass, they will never stop criminals and mentally ill people from obtaining and using firearms to commit crime. These laws only handcuff honest citizens and diminish their Constitutional right to defend themselves.

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Gregory D. Lee is a retired Supervisory Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the author of three criminal justice textbooks. While on DEA diplomatic assignment in Pakistan, he was involved in the investigation of several notable terrorism events and arrests. He recently retired after more than 39 years of active and reserve service from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Chief Warrant Officer Five Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division Command, better known as CID. In 2011 he completed a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan while on special assignment to the Special Operations Command Europe. Visit his website at and contact him at

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