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The following articles by supplied by Howard W. Offen


Recapture the passing of the Sullivan law as the New York Times documented the unfolding story and even promoted its passage.


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I have not totally finished cleaning up this page and adding an index but everything supplied by Howard is on the page. A big thanks to him for putting together all of this infomation.

January 4, 1911 Sullivan Bill is Submitted to the Legislature

Apr 27, 1911 TOPICS OF THE TIMES - To Put an End to a Bad Habit

FEBRUARY 14, 1911

Flynn Orders the Absolute Suppression of "Pistol Toters" and "Knife Packers."


Large Number of Revolvers and Knives Found in Gambling Dens and Other Places Stir Police to Action

Absolute suppression of the "pistol-toter," "knife-packer," and handy gunman is the object of a campaign ordered by Second Deputy Police Commissioner Flynn. Members of the Italian branch of the Detective Bureau rounded up seven-teen carriers of concealed weapons early yesterday morning in the vicinity of Chatham Square. These detectives will carry their work into the various Italian sections and others will be assigned together up concealed weapons and their carriers in other parts of the city.

Deputy Commissioner Flynn was led to inaugurate the campaign by the large number of revolvers and knives found in recent raids. Several gun affrays within the last six months had started the police on the hunt for concealed weapons and 400 arrests in the latter half of 1910 and 150 arrests since the first of the new year, as shown by the records, seemed to indicate that the evil was being checked. But recent raids on gambling houses, poolrooms and other places convinced Commissioner Flynn that sufficiently severe methods had not been adopted.

In the raid recently made on French Max's place, the police picked up a bushel basket and more of revolvers and wicked looking knives. These knives and guns were on the floor, hidden behind pictures on the walls, stowed away in drawers or thrown behind radiators. It looked as if every man in the room had heard a shout of "Police!" and started to dispose of his armament as quickly as possible. Among the weapons picked up were ten-shot automatic revolvers, the most murderous of pistols, and a stiletto six inches long, sharp as a razor on one side and notched like a saw on the other.

John D. Hill, the Commissioner's secretary, showed a reporter yesterday a large assortment of weapons picked up in recent raids. In one of which a man about to be arrested drew a revolver on a detective attached to the Commissioner's staff. It was apparent to the Commissioner that the weapons found in raids were not carried for the purpose of self-defence. No permits to carry weapons were found.

The detectives had little difficulty in finding the gun carriers. The hip pocket bulge of the ordinary gun man is unmistakable. Other gun men who carried their weapons in their side pockets were just as easily detected by the heavy droop of the pocket.

Some of the more dangerous pistol carriers, aware that detectives can usually spot a revolver, have a special pocket made in their coats or vests right at the small of the back, so that if they stand erect the gun lays in the hollow across the loins, practically invisible. These men never sit close to the back of a chair, and almost never lean forward, because that would reveal their weapon. In action the speed with which they can reach under their own coat tails and get out their "hardware," the detectives say, is remarkable.

When a detective suspects a man walking along the street of having such a gun pocket he always watches him closely as he steps up and down the curb when crossing the street or when going up stairs. The motion of stepping will always throw a slight mark on the small of the back if the man is a "gun toter."

Deputy Commissioner Flynn said yesterday he was very much in favor of legislation to make it more difficult to buy revolvers. He believes also that prison sentences rather than fines should be imposed on offenders convicted of carrying concealed weapons. Sentences of from one month to nine months imposed in Brooklyn, he said, had cut down gun carrying in that borough, whereas the fines of $3 and $10 imposed in Manhattan had not discouraged the practice.

The police say that raising the fee for a revolver permit from $2 to $10 has not diminished the number of applications for permits. The restrictions as to granting permits are being made more rigid daily at the orders of the Police Commissioner James C. Cropsey, Who is opposed to granting any permits whatever. Raising of the fee does not hit the problem with which the police have to deal, since criminals or those who wish to have guns illegally or capriciously, carry the guns without permits.

It is a matter of comment in the police circles that among the revolvers found on prisoners a great many are old police revolvers, which were discarded a year go by order of the Commissioner. The police were compelled to dispose of these weapons at a sacrifice, and they were eagerly bought up by burglars, hold-up men, and gamblers, who found them no whit inferior for their purposes to the newer models which the Commissioner's order compelled the police to buy.

Deputy Commissioner Flynn also ordered yesterday a general crusade against the strong-arm panhandlers who have been infesting the wholesale district in and about lower Broadway and certain districts in Harlem. Many complaints have been made about the insulting and threatening tactics of these beggars and Commissioner Flynn is determined to suppress them.


Prominent New Yorkers Favor Bill Requiring Dealers to Record Sales
Special to the New York Times

ALBANY, Feb.16 Regulation of the sale of revolvers and other dangerous weapons through a system of licensing and registration was urged in letters submitted to-day to the Senate Committee on Codes from Henry ”Clews•, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Jacob H. Schiff, Isaac W. Sellgman, John Wannamaker, Hudson Maxim, John Claflin, and Norman Hapgood.

Since the shooting of Mayor Gaynor and David Graham Phillips, Mr. Maxim said he had been giving attention to legislation which would restrict the carrying of firearms and other dangerous weapons. He expressed the belief that the passage of Senator Timothy D. Sullivan's bill providing for the regulation of the sale and possession of such weapons would be of much benefit.

The committee gave a hearing to-day on the Sullivan bill, which requires the licensing of dealers and users, and compels dealers to register all sales. G.P.Le Brun of the Coroner's office in New York said that the number of homicides in the city in 1910 was 50 per cent greater than in 1909. Dr. Albert F. Weston, Coroners physician, said there would be a greater number of convictions in cases of murder by shootings if there was a proper registration law. He cited the case of the murder of Caesar Young, in which Nan Patterson had been accused, expressing the belief that the mystery would have been solved if the sale of the weapon had been registered.

Representatives of manufacturers of firearms opposed the feature of the bill requiring the licensing of users. Hardware dealers who were present also protested against the registration feature. The bill was amended so as to require the issuing of a permit in the case of a person who desires to keep a revolver in his home. The opponents of the bill said the purpose of the measure would be defeated by the criminal class, who would secure their weapons in other states. The committee will give another hearing on the bill.

To Put an End to a Bad Habit
Apr 27, 1911; pg. 8, 1

Chances to commend the bills of Senator "Big Tim" Sullivan have not come to us very frequently, but that is the more reason for utilizing any that do arrive and therefore do we hasten to any again that if his unquestionable legislative efficiency has the result of decreasing the number of revolvers owned, as well as the number of those carried in the pockets of citizens timid or truculent, he will have used it to a good purpose. And we wont spoil the praise by adding "for once."

What the Senator's bill provides is for an extension of the present system of "permits" for pistol-carrying, issued by the police, so as to cover the whole domain of on concealable weapons, and to let nobody have them who has not obtained, for a good reason given, a license from a Magistrate. He would also make the dealers in firearms restrict their sales to persons showing a license to buy them and require the keeping of a record of all such transactions.

Whether the reform should go quite so far as to require official permission for having a purely defensive weapon in one's own home has been questioned by some of the legislators, but it is not easy to see any serious or even valid objection to it, for to secure the necessary license would not be a hardship. The fact is that revolvers are an effective means of defense for comparatively few people, and their possession probably adds to, rather than decreases, the danger of the average householder. In a fight with a prepared and desperate burglar, he is little likely to do harm to the intruder and very likely to suffer it.

As for the number of people who have a good or even a colorable excuse for carrying a revolver about the streets of a policed city, that is very small-vastly smaller than the number of those who do it. The licensing system, too, would be a source of some revenue, but the smaller the better, since its diminution would indicate the abandonment of a habit only innocent in exceptional cases and vicious in most. Of special importance is the requirements of Senator Sullivan's bill with respect to the dealers. While they remain free to sell pistols to anybody able to pay for them, other restrictions will be evaded with practical unanimity and impunity by just the persons upon whom it is most desirable that the restrictions should apply.

Senator Sullivan seems to have convinced his fellow Senators that his bill is a good one for they have advanced it to the order of final passage. It cannot too soon become a law.


"Big Tim" Says a License Will
Cut Down the Murder Record.

Special to the New York Times.
ALBANY, N. Y. APRIL 25-The manner in which "Big Tim" Sullivan presented the advantages of his bill requiring that no person shall posses a revolver or pistol without a license issued by a local Magistrate convinced the Senate to-day that it was a good measure, and it was advanced to the order of final passage. This action was notwithstanding the opposition of Senators Fryes and Bayne, who wanted the bill amended so that it would not apply to those that keep revolvers in their homes for the protection of their families.

"I am willing to accept any such amendment to this bill," "Big Tim" said," but I don't want any offered in the interest of the manufacturers who place the money they get from the sale of dangerous weapons above the value of human life.

"This bill is simply intended to cut the murder and suicide statistics in this State. If you will give me this bill I will cut down the number of murders in New York City in one year by at least fifty. No man knows more about the situation with which this deals than I do, and you must take my word for it that I know what I am doing."

To carry a pistol or revolver without a license is made a felony by the bill. It also provided that the dealers shall take the name, age residence, and occupation of all persons who purchase such weapons, and that they shall not sell dangerous weapons that can be concealed on a person's body except to purchasers who possess a permit.

What is a Concealed Weapon?

To the Editors of The New York Times
The Italian Bureau has recently shown activity in rounding up the “gun” men of Mulberry Bend , most of whom no doubt are entitled to little sympathy, but some of whom may have good cause to go armed. Mr. Hoffman, a well-known man, is discovered to have on his person a toy pistol, and is promptly discharged by the Magistrate, on the ground that it was not “concealed.” He might also have made a good plea that it was not really a pistol.

There seems to be something amiss. If a pistol in the pocket of a Mulberry Bender is “concealed,” why is not the same true uptown? The trouble is, the whole law is absurd and arbitrary. If there is gong to be any law at all, it ought to be against exposing a pistol recklessly.
New York, Feb. 17 , 1911 E. N. SEDGWICK

Few Votes for the Revolver

By a larger majority than the Senate's, and with only two more opposing votes, the assembly has passed the Sullivan bill making felonious the unauthorized carrying of concealed weapons of the deadlier sorts, and forbidding the dealers in firearms to sell them to other than authorized persons Evidently the antagonists of the bill-We have heard of few others than the manufacturers of pistols and those who, whether consciously or not we do not know, chose to defend the interests of those manufacturers-deemed it better to be discreet than valorous. At any rate, the expected opposition did not develop, and the bill now goes to the Governor and his signature is assured.

We do not expect, and none should, that the result of its passage will be the ushering in of a millennium-that no more murders will be committed. What can be hoped, and with some confidence, is that the evil habits of pistol-owning and pistol-carrying will gain new odium and will be abandoned by many-perhaps by nearly everybody outside of the distinctly criminal class. This cannot fail to decrease appreciably the number of homicides, accidental and impulsive, while some restraint will be imposed even upon the criminals. They will not get their weapons quite as easily as in the past, and will carry them with something less than impunity. Of course the efficiency of the new law will depend upon the energy and intelligence with which it is enforced. Greatest trust, we think, can be placed in the provision requiring dealers to keep records of their sales.


Only Five Senators Vote Against His Bill Making It a Felony to Carry Them


Law Better Than Preachers as Soul Savers, Declares the Bowery Senator Rockefeller, Jr., His Social Friend

Special to New York Times
Albany, May 10.-In spit of opposition from the manufacturers of firearms, the Senate To-day passed senator Timothy D. Sullivan’s bill restricting the sale and use of dangerous weapons. Only five Senators voted against the measure after the Bowery Senator had made a characteristic appeal in its favor.

The Sullivan bill makes the carrying of concealed weapons a felony, requires those using revolvers and small arms to obtain licenses from police Magistrates, and provides for the registration by dealers in firearm of all persons who buy revolvers or similar weapons. Senator Ferris, the only member who spoke in opposition, offered an amendment removing the licensing features. This, he said, was unworkable and would prove a hardship to those who desired to have pistols in their homes for their protection.

“Have you a gun factory in your district?” Senator Sullivan asked of Senator Ferris, who represents Oneida County.
“There is a factory there.” was the reply.
“Would you oppose this bill if that were not so?”
“That fact is not my reason for opposing the bill in its present form,” Senator Ferris said. “Your bill wont stop murders. You cant force a burglar to get a license to use a gun. He’ll get one from another State.”
“I want to make it so the young thugs in my district will get three years for carrying dangerous weapons instead of getting a sentence in the electric chair a year from now.” said Senator Sullivan.
“The manufacturers oppose my bill because they know that if we pass it other States will follow suit.”
.....”But Alabama had a license law and repealed it,” Senator Ferris said.
Alabama is too far away from the Bowery for me to talk about it.” Senator Sullivan replied.

“When I introduced this bill at the beginning of the session,” he continued “ it applied only to the murderer, or would be murderer-the bad man with a pistol. But I have amended it at the request of prominent organizations and persons who have indorsed my bill. They had meetings in New York City. They were attended by representatives of the merchants Association, the City Club, the Police Department, the Association of Magistrates, the Association of Coroners, and certain individuals. The only thing they found bad about the bill was that Tim Sullivan introduced it.

“I’ll give you the names of some of the men who are in favor of my bill and who suggested amendments which I incorporated. They are District Attorney Whitman, who has organized an antigun club; Jacob H. Schiff, Herman Hatfen, Henry Clews , John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a social acquaintance of mine, Nathan Straus, of whom we think very highly in our district for the work he has done for the poor; John Wanamaker, Hudson Maxim, Dr. W. H. Tillman, Judge Holt of the United States Court, Judge Foster, Judge O’Gorman, and in fact all the Judges of New York City.

“A great big fellow driving a truck in one of the crowded streets of New York City only four days ago ran over a little Italian boy and killed him. The father in a burst of anger lost control of his temper and shot the poor truckman dead. Now there’s that mans family, and he had a lot of children, and the man who did the shooting had a large number of children. That ought to be enough to pass this bill without any one getting up and saying a word against it.

“I don’t know anything about the Bible except what I’ve heard from Senator Brackett and others here where quotations are continually made. It seems to me, through, this bill, if passed, will help along obedience to the commandment, ‘thou shalt not kill.’ I think so much of this measure that if you pass it I believe it will save more souls than all the preachers in the city talking for the next ten years.”

Those who voted in opposition were: Senators Bayne, Ferris, Heacock, Loomis, and Thomas.

Senator Sullivan to-night expressed the belief that the bill would be passed by the Assembly, although he declared there was vigorous opposition from interests directly affected by the restrictions of the bill.


Now that Senator SULLIVAN’S Bill, making it a felony to carry a revolver concealer upon the person without a license and compelling dealers to register their sales has been passed by the Senate and referred to the Assembly, open and secret influence will be used to kill it. The secret influence is wicked, the open influence is shameless. When Senator FERRIS, in whose district are two arms factories, began setting forth his not even specious arguments “Big Tim,” who is not of a fearful disposition, declared “that he would be afraid to talk against the bill like that.”

The testimony in its favor is overwhelming. Men prominent in every rank and occupation, and all who are entitled to be listened to by reason of their expert knowledge, agree with Senator SULLIVAN that it is a bill against murder. He cited a list of such names, including prosecuting officers, lawyers, judges and police officials, and members of the chief civic and business organizations of the State, as actively supporting the measure. The agitation to restrict the sale and carrying of deadly weapons has been long and intelligently conducted. Before the murderous assault upon Mayor GAYNOR and the shooting to death of DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS, Magistrate CHARLES E. CRIDSEY said:

"In the twenty years that I have been a Magistrate I have tried a large number of cases of homicide, and in every instance I have observed that the slayers consciousness that he was himself armed, or could easily arm himself, has suggested the thought of homicide. Could we have the statistics of murder collated, this would probably be found to be the case in every instance."

And Judge HOLT of the United States District Court had uttered this protest:

"It is a monstrous thing that every insane man, every criminal, every passionate, quarrelsome, irritable man, every boy with tendency toward a criminal life, every drunken brute who abuses his wife and family, should be able, without any legal restriction, to buy for a dollar or two at every street corner such a weapon."

Senator SULLIVAN knows from the records of the district he represents what proportion of women and children must be in constant dread of death from revolvers in the hands of drunken husbands and fathers. He understands why the Judge of every criminal court in the city is for this bill. Every member of the legislature perfectly well understands these things. But its passage must be fought for when it comes up in the Assembly.

Worthy of Hearty Commendation.

According to prophecies made in Albany, Senator Sullivan’s admirable bill restricting the sale and possession of firearms of firearms will encounter more opposition in the Assembly than it did in the Senate and its defeat is not impossible. If that is so the Assemblymen are a courageous lot-much more courageous than a majority of the men who find it necessary for their peace of mind or useful in their substitute for business to carry concealed weapons-really there is not one argument against the bill except that it will decrease the sales, and therefore the profits, of the manufacturers and dealers in pistols.

Senator SULLIVAN himself said that there was another argument-the fact that he introduced the bill. That, however, was only his little joke, for he knows very well that nobody carries antagonism to him so far as to withhold commendation, either from himself or his measures, when he devotes his large abilties, his good-humored eloquence, and his political skill to the furthering of public interests.

The objections to this bill made by the five Senators who voted against it were quite without weight. One of them said, for instance, that in would not prevent murders. Of course it won’t altogether, but Senator SULLLIVAN was quite right when he declared that it would materially decrease the number of murders, and he could have duplicated many times the case he mentioned-that of the truck driver recently shot in this city by an angry father for running over and killing, by unavoidable accident, a boy playing in the street-in illustrating the evil consequences of the pistol carrying habit, even when indulged in by people nominally respectable.

The plea that criminals, if not allowed to buy pistols in this State, would procure them from outside, while true, will only remain so until the other States follow what Senator SULLIVAN is trying to make New York’s excellent example. And the licensing feature of the SULLIVAN bill is its best, because most likely to make it effective. That, no doubt, is the reason why this is the feature most savagely criticize by the bill’s antagonists.

The only weakness we can ourselves see in the bill is due to its length and complexity. All its meaning could have been put in half as many words, perhaps in a fourth, with decided increase of the ease with which it could be comprehended and enforced.
( May 12, 1911)

Senator Sullivan’s Firearms Bill

To the Editor of The New York Times
In full accord with the sentiments of The Times on most subjects, I feel free to confess utter inability to agree with its expressed ideas on Senator Sullivan’s bill restricting the sale and possession of firearms in the State. I enumerate my reasons as follows:

First-The adequacy of the present laws if enforced.

Second-The automatic establishment of a presumption of felonious intent by the proposed law on the part of a citizen possessed of arms for home defense. Hence the unconstitutionality of the proposed law.

Third-The questionable results of the proposed law, in view of Senator Sullivan’s previous attempt to disarm the police.

Fourth-The difficulties that would be encountered by the peaceable citizen in procuring a license and the ease which licenses could be secured by others through undo influence.

Fifth-The complete discard of all the laws by the criminally inclined, and the leniency customarily observed toward those of known lawless tendency, for reasons deemed sufficient for the purposes of the district leader.

If Senator Sullivan would devote his energies to “sending up” all the “crooks,” “strong-arm men,” and “thugs” now in town, the pistol-carrying habit would die of its own uselessness.
New York, May 13, 1911 LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN.


Only Seven in Assembly Vote Against
it and it Goes to Governor

Special to the New York Times
ALBANY, MAY 15.-By a vote of 123 to 7 the Assembly to-night passed the Sullivan dangerous weapons bill. The bill makes the sale or carrying of dangerous weapons without a permit a felony, and provides that the dealers in such weapons must keep a register, in which the name, of a purchaser must be recorded.

The bill has already passed the Senate and now goes to the Governor.


To the Editor of The New York Times
A Tip: Carrying a pistol has until now been a misdemeanor, sometimes tried by a jury and sometimes in a juryless court of Special Sessions. The juries quite uniformly acquit and the Court of Special Sessions as uniformly convicts As Senator Sullivan’s bill has passed, Special Sessions will be ousted of jurisdiction and the juries will turn out what cases pass the Grand Jury. As to the constitutionality of the Sullivan bill, forbidding among other things, a householder to keep a weapon in his house, what do you think of it in view of these words of Article ll of the amendments to the Constitution of the United States:

1. Right of Arms.-A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Do you think Sullivan really wants to stop pistol carrying?

TOPICS OF THE TIMES Suspicion Seems Baseless

By raising from misdemeanor to felony the offense of carrying concealed weapons, prosecutions under the new Sullivan law are transferred from Special to General Sessions and the verdict will be decided by a jury instead of a boar of Judges. From these facts, and the well-known tendency of juries to deal gently with men guilty of doing a thing that is wrong only because the law prohibits it, an ingenious commentator on the much discussed statute has deduced the theory or rather the suspicion that possibly it was drawn and pushed to passage and pushed to passage with the intention of making things easier, not harder for the weapons-carriers.

The promulgator of this suspicion is ingenious, but he is not plausible, and he is, we feel sure, unjust to Senator SULLIVAN. Good citizens have not infrequently had reasons for criticizing the acts and methods of that eminent statesman, but there seems to be none whatever for questioning the sincerity of his effort to suppress a habit the evil effects of which he has had many opportunities to observe, and as little for doubting that his law, in spite of its imperfections and the difficult problems it creates will at least diminish the practice at which it is aimed.

The least important part of that law, as well as the hardest to enforce, is that dealing with punishment of those violating it. The real and great advance is the registration features and the section forbidding the sale of weapons to anybody not formally and officially licensed to possess them. This is the preventive, as distinguished from the punitive, side of the law, and it is the experience of other countries where the same system of registration has long been in operation that the number of pistols carried can thus be considerably diminished.

Every gain in that direction is an advantage. Of course it is not to be hoped that criminals will cease to provide themselves with arms, but even they will be made more cautious about carrying them, and many a quarrel that now ends in murder will have a milder settlement when fewer people are habitually equipped with implements for prompt and easy killing. It is to be hoped that the exact meaning of the words "possess" and "possession" soon gets authoritative definition, for until that is done uncertainty in interpreting the law will remain.


Dix Signs Bill Compelling Licenses and Registry of All Sales

Special to The New York Times
ALBANY, May 29.-Gov. Dix to-night signed Senator Timothy D. Sullivan’s bill making it unlawful to carry a revolver or any other firearm that may be concealed upon the person without a written license. The provisions of the law will take effect on Sept. 1. Licenses for carrying small firearms are to be issued by Police Magistrates in cities and Justices of the Peace in rural districts.

The new law provides that dealers shall keep a register in which shall be entered the time of the sale, name, age, occupation, and residence of every purchaser of a revolver. Before the sale is made the purchaser must be required to show a permit for possessing or carrying the weapon.

The carrying of or attempt to use a blackjack, bludgeon, or sandbag and the carrying of a razor, stiletto, or any other dangerous instrument or weapon is made a felony by the new law. The carrying of firearms or dangerous weapons by persons not citizen of the United States is also declared to be a felony.


Rush in the Bowery and Other Quarters to Sell Off Revolvers


Not Fully Cognizant of the New Sullivan Law and Look for a Test in the Courts

Down on the Bowery and on the avenues on the east and west sides revolvers sold like hot cakes yesterday and about as cheap. Low-browed foreigners bargained for weapons of every description and gloated over their good fortune in hearing of the drop in the gun market be fore it was too late-that is, before the Sullivan dangerous weapons law went into effect on Friday.

Every pawnshop in the city did not offer these bargains, however. They could only be had in what might be called the strict constitutionalist's shops, where the pawnbrokers took every word of the new law to heart and saw and saw in it a complete destruction of all revolver trade for the future. In other stores, where dealers had not been frightened by the law, prices were about at there ordinary level.

In a Seventh Avenue pawnshop this sign appears in the window in the center of a gun exhibit: “Great Reductions on Revolvers for this Week Only.” During the afternoon a regulation large sized army pistol, pawned for $10, was sold for $2, and cheaper weapons could be bought for a tenth of their value

“I've been cleaning up my stock ever since I heard of the Sullivan bill” said the proprietor of the shop. “and I'm letting the last ones go for what I can get. After Sept. 1 it will be about as for any one to push a pistol off on me as it would be to carry off my safe. I admit that I don't understand the law very well, but one thing is very clear-they seem to have it in for the fellow that has anything to do with guns, and I, for one, am going to quit. What worries me most is what I am going to do with the guns I can't sell because the pawn tickets on them haven't expired. I can't sell them, and the man who comes after Sept. 1 to redeem his gun, as I understand it, is liable to be arrested unless he has a certificate.”

A Times reporter visited a score of pawnshops in different sections of the city, and found nearly all the pawnbrokers anxious to talk about the law. Few of them had made a study of the provisions of the law and only one thought the new law, even though he will loose a few hundred dollars annually as a result of it, was a good one.

“I heard from a jobber who deals with the big manufacturing concerns, said one man, “that a test is going to be made of this new law the very first day it goes into effect. Three arrests will be made, involving a wholesale dealer, a retail dealer, and a pawnbroker.”

“Suppose a man comes into my shop after Sept. 1 with a gun which he wants to pawn,” said one pawnbroker, “I have a perfect right to take it, haven't I? I'm not keeping it for sale, only in trust. The first question is, can I give that gun back to its owner when he comes to redeem it if he hasn't a certificate signed by some Magistrate? We haven't been advised by the lawyers of the Pawnbrokers Association just what to do in that case, and until our next months meeting we won't take any chances. My opinion is that hearafter we will refuse to bother about cheap guns, but will continue to take first-class pistols, and if uncalled for will deliver them in other States.

“The present law forbids our selling any article on which the twelve months limit has not expired. The guns left on our hands after twelve months which we can't sell in our shops are usually taken to auction rooms on the Bowery once a month and sold there to the highest bidder. The question now arises, can we continue to take guns to these auction rooms after Sept. 1 and can the auctioneer put them up for sale, even to wholesalers? Perhaps not, and if that is the case a lot of pawnbrokers will loose money or else Jersey City and Hoboken will be so stocked with revolvers that every Tom, Dick, and Harry will be carrying one or two there. In my experience, however, I never sold as many revolvers in a month as I did in the last few days.”

A peculiar test of the new weapon law is apt to arise when a policeman, as is the custom with so many on the force, goes to his old friend, the pawnbroker, to pawn his police pistol. The pawn brokers say this is quite common, though forbidden, and that the policeman is usually accommodated to the extent of $10. Many of these pistols are in pawn now, it is said, and will probably not be called for until after Sept. 1. "Shall the pawnbroker deliver to a policeman his own pistol and be liable to arrest by the policeman he has befriended?" is the question asked by the pawnbrokers.

Just what the estimated 500,000 residents of New York City who own revolvers for use in their homes will do with their weapons after Friday is a matter of conjecture. Judging by many of the report of the pawnbrokers, many thousands of them have been trying to put them in pawn, undoubtedly never expecting to redeem them. The law plainly holds all possessors of revolvers liable to arrest, even if these revolvers are hidden away in a desk drawer.

If the owner chooses to carry his weapon he is guilty of a felony. The only safe course, therefore, is to apply for a license through a Magistrate, and it is expected that there will be a rush for these licenses immediately after the law goes into effect. Some, no doubt, will resort to shotguns and riles, which are not classified in the Sullivan law as “dangerous weapons which can be concealed.”


Big Tim Sulllivan’s Measure Will Aid Police in Dealing With Violent Crimes


Every Purchaser Must Show License-
Merely to Posses Blackjack a Felony
Strict Laws for Aliens

The Sullivan dangerous weapon law, passed at the recent session of the legislature, the most drastic law ever enacted in this State to control the carrying and use of pistols, stilettos, dirks, metal knuckles blackjacks, &c., will go into effect at midnight Thursday. In anticipation of this Police Commissioner Waldo and Chief Magistrate William McAdoo, whose departments will have to bear the brunt of the enforcement of the new law, had a long conference in the latter’s office yesterday afternoon.

They discussed the situation and the best means of enforcing the law throughout the city. Every policeman will receive a copy of the statue between now and Thursday, and with it a general order instructing the police as to their duties.

The new law affects every person who is interested in the manufacture or sale or owns any of the specified weapons. It is a most carefully drawn measure, and the police, the District Attorney, and the City Magistrates believe that its scope is wide enough to cover every case involving the carrying of concealed weapons.

For instance, Section, 1,896 of the new law, which amends the section of that number of the present law, deals with the making and disposing of such dangerous weapons as cannot have any legitimate use. It provides after Sept. 1 it will be a misdemeanor for any person to manufacture, or cause to be manufactured, or sell, or keep for sale, to offer, give, or dispose of a blackjack, bludgeon, sandbag, sandclub, billy, slungshot, metal knuckles, &c., to any other person.

Then going on to consider persons less than 16 years of age, it makes it a misdemeanor to sell, loan, lease, offer, or give them any gun, revolver, pistol, or other firearm, or any airgun, spring gun or other weapon in which the propelling force is air or a spring. Moreover, to give or loan them any toy pistol in which loaded or blank cartridges may be used, or cartridges and ammunition of any kind, will also be a misdemeanor.

Section 1,897, which deals with the carrying of dangerous weapons, reads:

A person who attempts to use against another, or who carries, or possesses, any instrument or weapon of any kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billie, sandclub, sandbag, metal knuckles or bludgeon, or who, with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, carries or possesses a dagger, dirk, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, or any other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon, is guilty of a felony.

Any person under the age of 16 years, who shall have, carry, or have in his possession any of the articles named or described in the last section, which it is forbidden therein to offer, sell, loan, lease or give to him, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Further on in the same section is a clause that, the police say, gives promise of going a long way toward eradicating the concealed weapon evil It makes it necessary for all persons over 18 years of age to have a written license, issued by the proper authorities, if they wish to carry any firearm of a size that may be concealed on the person. Even to have in his possession such a weapon without a license will render a man guilty of a misdemeanor, and to carry it without a license will be a felony. A specially stringent clause relates to aliens. It is:

Any person not a citizen of the United States, who shall have or carry firearms or any dangerous or deadly weapons in any public place, at any time, shall be guilty of a felony.

It is, however, stipulated that none of these provisions shall effect firearms that are being transported as merchandise, nor public officers whose duties necessitate their carrying weapons.

Weapons, the possession of which has been proved to be unlawful, must be surrendered to the Sheriff of the county or head of the police force to be destroyed or rendered useless. The section governing the sale of revolvers and other firearms has been so drawn as to make it possible to identify the original owner of any firearm that may figure in a crime and deals with every phase of the situation. Here it is:

Every person selling a pistol, revolver, or other firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person, whether such seller is a retail dealer, pawn broker, or otherwise, shall keep a register in which shall be entered at the time of sale, the date of sale, name, age, occupation, and residence of every purchaser of such a pistol, revolver, or other firearm, together with the caliber, make, model, manufactures number, or other marks of identification on such a pistol, revolver, or other firearm.

Such person shall also, before delivering the same to the purchaser, require such purchaser to produce a permit for possessing or carrying the same as required by law, and shall also enter in such register the date of such permit, the number thereon, if any, and the name of the Magistrate or other officer by whom the same was issued.

Every person who shall fail to keep a register and to enter therein the facts required by this section, or who shall fail to exact the production of a permit to possess or carry such pistol, revolver, or other firearm, if such a permit is required by law, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Such register shall be open at all reasonable hours for the inspection of any peace officer.

Every person becoming the lawful possessor of such a pistol, revolver, or other firearm, who shall sell, give, or transfer the same to another person without first notifying the police authorities, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to wholesale dealers.

At Police Headquarters it was announced that a squad of detectives, acting under the command of Inspector Hughes of the Detective Bureau, will have the job of enforcing the law in so far as it refers to pawnbrokers and other dealers in firearms. These concerns will be required to keep a complete record of everything pertaining to their trade in weapons, and such record must be transmitted to the police whenever called for.

A Times reporter called yesterday on several of the larger firms dealing in firearms and asked what their attitude was as to the new law. The answer was the same everywhere- a strict compliance with all its provisions. The small dealers also said their intention was to live strictly up to the letter of the law.

TOPICS OF THE TIMES Enforcement Will Be Difficult

Our approval of senator SULLIVAN’S effort to prevent or decrease the carrying of deadly weapons had frequent expression while the bill was before the legislature, and we joined him in rejoicing when it was pasted and signed. The new law will go into effect at midnight Thursday, and the preparations for its enforcement have revealed, as it is so often the case for reform laws, that it was drawn with less than skill than of good intention, and that in several respects its interpretation will be difficult both for Police and the courts.

One point not clear is the status under it of people already owning pistols which they never carry, but keep at home for purposes purely defensive. Are these people now obligated to take out licenses? If licenses are refused, as may happen if they fail to prove to the satisfaction of a Magistrate or police official the purely defensive nature of the possession, must they surrender the weapon for destruction or be guilty of a misdemeanor if they keep it? Apparently their guilt would only be revealed by the commission of a crime, and the chief merit of this law is supposed to be its preventive, not its punitive, efficacy.

The absolute prohibition of weapons like slungshots, sandbags, and metal knuckles, that have no innocent use, is admirable, but the putting of a similar ban on ”dangerous knives” ignores the fact that all knives are dangerous, and that the blade which carves the family roast is the worst of the knife tribe when diverted to murderous purposes. Razors, too are among the utensils which may be neither carried nor possessed “with intent to use the same unlawfully.” That is a provision obviously impracticable, since evil intent with respect to a razor is proved only by evil action. The pawn brokers, according to report, are wondering what they are to do with the innumerable revolvers they hold as pledges for loans. Can they return them only to borrowers who can show a police permit as well as the principal and interest due?

It is the weapons already owned that are going to make troubles and puzzles, and for some time to come render the new law really effective only against particularly conscientious and harmless people-people for whom no such law is necessary. The license and registration features of the law, however, are intrinsically excellent, and after a while they will doubtless work as well here as they do in countries where they have both been long enforced.

Policemen with Blackjacks

To the Editor of The New York Times
Having read the article headed "New Law Prohibits Dangerous Weapons" printed
in to-days Times, I am prompted to ask:

Does not the Sullivan law prohibit members of the New York police force carrying blackjacks? If not, would it not be well for the Police Commissioner to issue an order depriving the policemen of these much-treasured articles? I am informed by excellent authority (a member of the force) that nearly 50 percent of the plain-clothes men and officers ranking above patrolmen carry blackjacks, and there is considerable rivalry among them as to who can exhibit the most artistic of these weapons. Surely, officers with loaded revolvers do not require blackjacks in their hip pockets, do they?
New York, Aug. 29, 1911 CITIZEN


Senator Pollock from First-hand
Knowledge Explains its Purpose.

To the editor of the New York Times:
A part of your editorial comments on Senator Sullivan's Pistol bill conveys to the reader an impression that through carelessness and haste in the drafting and passage of this bill, its effectiveness is doubtful. In view of the support which The Times gave to this measure, and which was appreciated by me as a member of the Senate Codes Committee and as one interested in this reform, I wish to call your readers attention to the following:

This bill received undoubtedly as much consideration and deliberation in the Senate as any other measure which it passed. The bill was introduced by Senator Sullivan on Jan. 4 and was reported out of the Codes Committee March 31, in the interim numerous public hearings were given by the Codes Committee. The bill was amended three times to conform to various suggestions made by persons in interest and by members of the Codes Committee in executive session. Similar careful deliberation was given to the bill in the Assembly, and likewise by the Governor before his approval was given thereto.

The bill had two objectives. One objective was to punish for the unlawful possession of dangerous firearms. In addition, the bill served the equally important object of aiding the authorities the identification of the owner of a firearm used in the commission of a crime.

In order to bring this about, it was necessary that the law provide for an immediate registration of every firearm in the state, and not merely firearms purchased subsequently to Sept. 1, the date when the law goes into effect. It is for the former object that the carrying of a firearm concealed on one's person without a license was made a felony, thereby giving the power to our court to impose a severer penalty for this offense than in the past, when such unlawful carrying was a misdemeanor. To accomplish the second object of the bill, the possession of a concealable firearm on one's premises was made a misdemeanor. There is no danger that any one desiring to have a revolver in his house for his protection need subject himself to prosecution for a misdemeanor. A citizen will have no more difficulty in obtaining a permit to keep a pistol on his premises than he has had in the past in obtaining a dog license for the privilege of having a dog on his premises to protect them against intruders.

The provisions of the Sullivan bill as to registration and its regulations as to the sale or other disposition of revolvers and pistols will enable our police authorities to trace firearms used in the commission of crimes, which could not be done if no provision had been made for their registration if in the possession of individuals on the first day of September. Statistics will perhaps show that the average life of a firearm in the hands of a citizen is a great number of years, and therefore if those now owned by citizens were not registered the full benefit of the Sullivan bill would not be appreciated for many years to come I might say that the only opposition to any of the provisions of the bill urged before either of the committees of the Legislature was that of representatives of manufactures and dealers in firearms.
New York, Aug. 30, 1911 HENRY W. POLLOCK


Is His Possession of Them Forbidden
by the Sullivan Law

To the Editors of The New York Times.
I would like to be enlightened as to the position under the new concealed weapons law of myself and others similarly situated.

I have for some years been a collector of antique firearms, which term I understand to include firearms having unique or unusual features, irrespective of their actual age, during which time I have accumulated numerous firearms, perhaps fifty, of which, because of their size, are pistols as that term is interpreted.

Now, what am I to do with these pistols, assuming that my desire is to comply with the law as it is written and as it presumably expresses the true intent of the makers of the law?

These pistols are displayed more or less tastefully upon a side wall of a room in my house, they were not purchased, and are not possessed with any unlawful or even defensive purpose in view, and I have no ammunition suitable for any one of them; yet they are each in as good working order as when made and would presumably shoot as well, and each unquestionably comes within such definitions as to what is a pistol as have been promulgated from time to time by various State courts in deciding questions arising under their own concealed weapon laws.

As a secondary question, what is my position in case I desire to purchase another pistol to add to my collection? I do not desire to carry upon my person, concealed or otherwise, nor do I desire it for the purpose of protection. Must I first purchase the license referred to in the act, and assuming that I might be able to make a satisfactory showing and willing to pay the price, does the act in fact provide for a license to possess as distinguished from a license to carry, which license to possess would, judging from police estimates, be amply sufficient for some 500,000 good citizens of this city?

Finally, is it in fact competent for a State Legislature to require a citizen to
receive its permission to own property which with such permission may be owned, there being no presumed intent in either case to use the property in question in an unlawful manner?
New York, Aug. 30, 1911 COLLECTOR

TOPICS OF THE TIMES Enforcement Will Be Difficult.

Our approval of Senator SULLIVAN’S effort to prevent or decrease the carrying of deadly weapons had frequent expression while the bill was before the legislature, and we joined him in rejoicing when it was pasted and signed. The new law will go into effect at midnight Thursday, and the preparations for its enforcement have revealed, as it is so often the case for reform laws, that it was drawn with less than skill than of good intention, and that in several respects its interpretation will be difficult both for Police and the courts.

One point not clear is the status under it of people already owning pistols which they never carry, but keep at home for purposes purely defensive. Are these people now obligated to take out licenses? If licenses are refused, as may happen if they fail to prove to the satisfaction of a Magistrate or police official the purely defensive nature of the possession, must they surrender the weapon for destruction or be guilty of a misdemeanor if they keep it? Apparently their guilt would only be revealed by the commission of a crime, and the chief merit of this law is supposed to be its preventive, not its punitive, efficacy.

The absolute prohibition of weapons like slungshots, sandbags, and metal knuckles, that have no innocent use, is admirable, but the putting of a similar ban on ”dangerous knives” ignores the fact that all knives are dangerous, and that the blade which carves the family roast is the worst of the knife tribe when diverted to murderous purposes. Razors, too are among the utensils which may be neither carried nor possessed “with intent to use the same unlawfully.” That is a provision obviously impracticable, since evil intent with respect to a razor is proved only by evil action. The pawn brokers, according to report, are wondering what they are to do with the innumerable revolvers they hold as pledges for loans. Can they return them only to borrowers who can show a police permit as well as the principal and interest due?

It is the weapons already owned that are going to make troubles and puzzles, and for some time to come render the new law really effective only against particularly conscientious and harmless people-people for whom no such law is necessary. The license and registration features of the law, however, are intrinsically excellent, and after a while they will doubtless work as well here as they do in countries where they have both been long enforced.


As Senator Pollack points out in his letter to THE TIMES, printed elsewhere, the Sullivan pistol law, by requiring that every firearm in the State be registered-not merely, every firearm purchased after Sept. 1-powerfully aids the police in identifying the owners of the firearms used in a commission of crimes. District Attorney Whitman was wrong in interpreting the “possession” of firearms interdicted by the law as merely their possession on the person. Senator Pollock, who ought to know, says that it meant also the possession of a concealable firearm “on ones premises” without a permit.

But the pistol law will have to be adjudicated, like the others that go into effect to-day. It is hard to restrict the “loan sharks” by legal process, the best way to kill them off is by multiplying employers loan societies and by preaching thrift. Doubtless the courts will uphold the plain wording of the laws that visit severer penalties upon kidnappers and blackmailers. Persons wearing an army or navy uniform, if intoxicated, may still be discriminated against a theaters and hotels, and may bring vain suits. The operators of motor boats without mufflers will not be fined $25 unless the officers and magistrates do their part. A general campaign should be waged against the keepers of divers weights and divers measures, now that the mere keeping of them constitutes evidence of the abominable cheats. And the societies that look after the welfare of immigrants will be aided by the new laws forbidding the solicitation or unlicensed selling of steamship tickets.

The law that prohibits the appearance on the stage of living characters representing the Deity may not prevent the performance of some of the plays against which may be invoked, But it is an unnecessary law.

The Pistol Law is Plain

To the Editor of The New York Times
There being some agitation on the subject of the Sullivan firearms law, so called because it was introduced into the State Senate by Senator Timothy D. Sullivan. I respectfully submit to your readers the following facts relative to this law.

As to whether it forbids the ordinary citizen to defend his home with a pistol, you will notice that this law, in one paragraph, declares that any person "who has in his possession a pistol shall be guilty of a misdemeanor." and then in the following paragraph, it declares that any person "who shall have or carry concealed upon his person" any pistol "Shall be guilty of a felony." Note that in order to avoid any misunderstanding as to whether the words "in his possession" mean "in his physical possession" or not, a separate paragraph is devoted to the crime of having a pistol in one's physical possession making this offense much graver than that of having a pistol in one's possession. To still further emphasize the prohibition against a pistol in any kind of possession, physical or otherwise, this law also forbids any dealer from selling a pistol to anybody who has not "a permit to posses or carry such pistol."

New York, Sept. 1, 1911 H. D. FRISBEE


Will the Sullivan Pistol Law Dash His Enjoyment of Them?

To the Editor of The New York Times:
My case is similar to "Collectors" with his "curio pistols." Like most American boys who on tradition take pride in the accomplishment of shooting accurately, I gained a fondness of shooting accurately. I gained a fondness for practice with firearms when a lad and now posses a collection, very dear to me, not only of curio pistols but of the real thing in up-to-date development. None of these weapons could hardly be concealed about my person, but they are my valued property which I think the state cannot gainsay my continued possession of even without a license.

I have one more weapon, a Colt's police revolver, that I keep in my bureau drawer for home protection. I am perfectly willing to take out a license for that for the purpose of feeling easy minded in the keeping of it, and such a license, as I comprehend the "law" will allow me to carry that pistol if in my judgment it is necessary for protection. But this new measure, despite what Senator Pollock has to say in justification of it, should be pruned of it's extravagance and absurdities to render it effective. Else like many another concoction of our legislatures it will defeat its own alleged purpose and become a "dead letter."
New York, Sept. 1 1911 J. W. E.

ed. gainsay { 1. to deny. 2. To Contradict. 3. To act against; oppose.

The State Legislature, which rested on July 2, passed a great number of bills which go into effect to-day, most of them amendments to the Civil Code and the penal law.

The Sullivan law requiring a license for possessing a revolver and a penalty for carrying one concealed on the person and forbidding under heavy penalty the carrying of a blackjack or sandbag has already been widely commented on and is having the desired effect in some sections of this city. It affects also the sale of firearms. A dealer must see a permit before he sells a gun.

The law against advertising signs has already been enforced along the roads of the State. Automobilists and travelers generally are rejoicing.


work in progress
due to poor copy, more research is needed


Pawnbrokers Ask About Their Right
to Handle Weapons.

The position of the pawnbrokers who have pistols and guns in their possession as pledges was discussed yesterday by Magistrate Freschi, in the Jefferson Market Court. When a representative of the Provident Loan Society, a semi-charitable loaning organization, came before him and asked for a permit to keep firearms. It was explained by the representative that the society had in its keeping a number of weapons and that it desired to avoid infringing the new Sullivan law, which goes into effect to-day.

The section of law that had disturbed the society is as follows:

Any person over 16 who shall have in his possession in any city, village, or town, a pistol, gun, or other firearm of a size which may be concealed about the person, without a written guilty of a misdemeanor.

The next section says:

Every person becoming the lawful possessor of such a firearm and who shall sell, give, or transfer it without first notifying the Police Department.....shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

From these provisions the question arises, is the pawnbroker a possessor? Magistrate Freschi said in regard to this point:

“It is clear that the pawnbroker must keep a record of sales. I would define a sale as a physical or symbolical delivery of the firearm for a consideration involving an actual transfer of the title. Before such each sale could be made the purchaser must be required to produce a permit to possess or carry such a firearm, and a record must be made by the seller and reported to the Police Department. Failure to do this is a misdemeanor. From this it is plain that the Legislature intended that there should be two kinds of permits, one to posses and one to carry firearms."

“The term lawful possessor may include the man who receives the firearm as a pledge, gift, or loan. In this sense the pawnbroker must notify the Police Department if he returns the weapon to the owner. On the other hand, the pawnbroker does not own the title to the weapon, and it is therefore not certain that he would be regarded as the lawful possessor. In returning the weapon to the man who had pawned it might not be necessary to report the matter, as no transfer of title had taken place. The real purpose of the Legislature, as I understand it, is to control, regulate, and follow the identical pistol from one person to another. To do this it would be necessary for every movement of the weapon to be recorded.”

The application from the Provident Society was advised to present an affidavit setting forth such as be deemed pertinent to the application, and present this to the Magistrate to-day.

Subsequent to the court session, Magistrate Freschi said he thought the new law was a good one. "Magistrates, "he said," should not at this time pass on its constitutionality, but should leave that to the higher courts to determine. Every effort should be made and every legal means adopted to uphold the law."
Sept. 1, 1911

ALBANY, N. Y. . Sept. 1.-The enactment of the so-called Sullivan dangerous weapon law precludes the possibility of persons under 16 years of age obtaining hunters licenses, according to the State Conservation Commission.

Sergt. Ryan of the Fifth Street Station arrested Martin Ford, a bartender of 411 East Nineteenth Street, at the corner of First Avenue and Fourteenth Street, on charges of felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon. Ford was arrested on the complaint of Alexander Nessner, a stationary fireman, of 340 East Fourteenth Street, who was also placed under arrest, on the complaint of Ford, charged with felonious assault. Both men were taken to the Fifth Street Station, where they were locked up pending their arraignment in court to-day.

According to Sergt. Ryan, a revolver, from which one bullet had been fired, was found on Ford. Nessner charged Ford with firing at him while they were engaged in an altercation.

New York Times
Sep 3, 1911. pg. 06


Young Man Arriving from South with a Weapon in a Case Taken In and Held Without Bail.


Insist That They Must Restore Pledges When Called For-Magistrate Finds Himself at Sea.

More confusion resulted yesterday form the enforcement of the new Sullivan Anti-Weapon law, which makes it a misdemeanor for any one to have in his possession without a permit, a pistol, revolver, blackjack, or bludgeon, and a felony for any one to have such a weapon concealed upon his person. A peculiarly puzzling case was presented to Magistrate O’Connor in the arrest of a young Italian a few minutes after his arrival in the city from the South, on his way to Italy. The young man was carrying a shotgun in a case as a present for his brother in Italy, when he was arrested under the provision of the Sullivan law making it a felony for a person of foreign birth to carry a dangerous weapon. Despite his appreciation of the young man's ill luck, Magistrate O’Connor felt that under the law he must hold him for the Grand Jury without bail.

The pawnbrokers of the city complain that they are all at sea as to what are their restrictions under the new law. Most of them express themselves eager to do all in their power to carry out the spirit of the law by selling weapons left unredeemed to only such persons as produce permits from the Police Commissioner entitling them to carry weapons. The pawnbrokers protest, however, against the interpretation of the law under which the police have arrested several pawnbrokers for displaying revolvers in their windows, and forbidding the return o revolvers to persons who pledged them.

The pawnbrokers insist that they have a right to continue taking revolvers as pledges, inasmuch as they merely lend on them without buying; and they insist, too, that they have a right to dispose of the unredeemed revolver pledges at public auction, or to buy them in themselves, at the auction, provided they sell the weapons afterward only to bona fide dealers or to persons presenting permits from the Police Commissioner.

Commissioner Waldo and Inspector Dillon, who has charge of the issuing of such permits, were not at Headquarters yesterday afternoon, but Capt. James Dunn outlined the police view of the situation

"There is nothing in the law that can be construed as preventing the general sale of revolvers or any other weapons" said he "by any dealer, wholesale or retail. The only restriction placed on the dealers is that they may not sell the weapon to any one who has not a permit to carry such a weapon, issued in the City of New York by the Police Commissioner, and in the various counties of the State by a Magistrate. The dealer must thereupon enter in his books a record of the person to whom the weapon was sold and file a copy with the police."

"As for the pawnbrokers, under the law as the police see it, they may not buy in any revolver or other weapon after Sept. 1, nor sell such weapons at auction. They may, however, return to the man who originally pledged it any revolver or other weapon irrespective of a permit. If the redeemer of the pledge has no such permit, he runs his chances of being arrested as in plain violation of the law. The pawnbroker merely returned property that was not his and on which he merely made a loan, does not thereby violate the law. He may not, however, deliver the weapon to anyone other than the owner who pledged it and presents the ticket for it."

It was ascertained, however, that pawnbrokers in general throughout the city differ with this interpretation of the new law, and are continuing to take revolvers and other weapons as pledges now as heretofore. Many of them continue to display revolvers in their windows as before, despite the arrests of several of their number for doing so on Friday.

"We appreciate the wisdom of the law against the promiscuous carrying of dangerous weapons and the keeping under surveillance of persons carrying them." said Benjamin Fox of 72 Eighth Avenue, President of the Pawnbrokers Association of New York. "The law narrows down our sales to a considerable degree, but we are thoroughly in sympathy with the purpose of Senator Sullivan and quit willing to restrict our sales to persons holding permits from the Police Commissioner."

"On the other hand, we feel that the law does not interfere, and was not intended to interfere with our manifest rights and obligations under the existing laws. We must deliver pledges - be they revolvers or any thing else - on presentation of pawntickets. We are not the possessors of the articles in question, but have merely a lean on them. After the twelve months specified by law have elapsed, moreover, if the weapon remains unredeemed with us, we feel that we have the right under the law to sell it to the highest bidder at the public auction rooms, provided that we sell it to a bona fide dealer."

"By arresting pawnbrokers for displaying revolvers in their show windows, the police are showing themselves ridiculously ignorant of the true intent of the new law. The law distinctly prohibits the sale of firearms under certain conditions. How can we sell them without exhibiting them to prospective buyers? There is no law whatever against the display of such weapons for sale."

Mr. Fox added that no orders been issued to the pawnbrokers from Police Headquarters forbidding the exhibition of firearms in their windows and that Magistrate Freechl had declared such a cause of arrest absurd.

Just what are the rights of pawnbrokers under the new law, however, remains a matter unsettled until the return of the attorney for the Pawnbrokers Association, Marcus J. Sweeney, on Tuesday, when several test cases will be made to determine whether the pawnbrokers may take firearms henceforth as pledges, give them back in redemption, or sell them at auction.

The victim whom Magistrate O'Conner felt obligated to hold was eighteen-year-old Dominic Corbores of Louisville who was found walking along Liberty Street with a gun case containing a shotgun, twenty minutes after he arrived in the city at one of the ferry slips. Corbores told Magistrate O'Connor in the Tombs Court that he was on his way home to Italy and had stopped in New York for a few days. He said he knew nothing of the new law and that the gun he carried was intended for his brother in Italy.

Immediately after his hearing the Magistrate dictated a letter to District Attorney Whitman asking that the case be taken up at once. He said the young man seemed to be a victim of circumstances.

"What does that help?" asked Corbores when this was explained to him by an interpreter.

District Attorney Whitman, who on Friday admitted he was considerably in the dark as to the scope of the law in certain respects, had left the Criminal Court Building yesterday afternoon and could not be reached at his apartment to say whether or not he had seen light in the matter.


To the Editor of The New York Times
I will thank you to inform me whether Article II of the amendments to the Federal Constitution, which reads "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." refers to the maintaining of a militia? Or does it mean that this amendment give every resident or citizen of the country the right to keep and bear arms?

New York, Sept. 3, 1911 MATTHEW GOLDMAN

It confers no right. The amendment merely recognizes a pre-existing right, first formulated in the Bill of Rights, observed at common law, and later declared in the Constitution of most of the States. The provision of the Bill of Rights reads:

The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home or in aid of the civil power, when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question.

The second amendment to the Federal Constitution was drawn on behalf of the militia, and in prescribing that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed, it restricts Congress only. The right may not be infringed by the States either, but it has been judicially shown that the States may control by an exercise of their police power, the manner in which the right may be exercised.


Declares it Was Drawn Carefully to Check Crime Here and Needs No Tinkering


Pawnbroker Will Contest Provision Putting Him In Class of Dealers and Under Restrictions

Before leaving yesterday for Albany, Senator Timothy D. Sullivan announced that he would oppose any attempt in the Legislature to weaken the force of the statute fathered by him penalizing the unlicensed possession and promiscuous sale of firearms. Senator Sullivan stoutly asserted that the statute is constitutional, and added that if any section should be upset in the courts he would offer amendments so that its original purpose would not be defeated.

Many of the provisions of the law which have been criticized as harsh, Senator Sullivan pointed out, have been on the statute books for many years, notably the provisions prohibiting minors and foreigners from carrying arms for hunting.

Senator Sullivan said that householders and business men who desire to keep weapons in their homes and places of business as a measure of protection would not be inconvenienced by the new law. Plans had been made not only for the issuance by the police, but by the city Magistrates, whose courts are convenient to all sections of the city. Chief McAdoo has given the matter his attention already.

Senator Sullivan said his confidence in the constitutionality is based on the fact that he consulted a Supreme Court Justice in preparing it. He declared the law was carefully drawn and did not need amendment or modification.

A test case of the new Sullivan law, so far as it affects pawnbrokers will be argued to-day before Supreme Court Justice Goff on a writ of habeas corpus for Ivan Prince. Prince is a Seventh Avenue pawnbroker who was arrested for displaying five revolvers in his show window on Sept. 2, the day after the Sullivan law went into effect. He is represented by Michael J. Sweeney, attorney for the Pawnbrokers Association, which is opposing the provisions of the law which classes pawnbrokers as sellers of firearms and compels them to keep a record of all sales, which are restricted to those having permits.

W. R. Ruhl, a clerk in a banking office at 60 Wall Street, was arraigned yesterday before Magistrate O'Connor, in the Tombs Police Court, on the charge of violating the new Sullivan law. Ruhl was arrested Tuesday after accidentally shooting a friend to whom he was explaining an automatic pistol. Ruhl denied the ownership of the gun and declared that it had been in the office of the banking firm for some time. It was carried, he said, by messengers when carrying large amounts of money from bank to bank. He was discharged.


Declares Section Which Forbids Keeping
a Pistol at Home is Unconstitutional


No Doubt, However, That Obtaining
a Revolver After Sept. 1 Without a
Permit May Be Punished

In a statement given out yesterday District Attorney Whitman expressed the belief that the section of the Sullivan pistol law which relates to keeping revolvers in the house and makes it a felony for having it there without a permit is unconstitutional. He also announced that every section of the law would be tested out by the courts as each came up. Here is his statement:

There seems to be some misunderstanding in regard to the attitude of this office on the so-called pistol law. It seems to us likely that the courts will eventually decide that firearm, lawfully obtained and kept by a citizen on his premises prior to Sept. 1 cannot be confiscated, and the citizen cannot properly be charged with a crime because that pistol remained on the premises and was found there subsequent, to Sept. 1.

It has always been a crime to carry a revolver concealed on the person and the act properly makes it a felony. Pistols cannot lawfully be obtained or carried in this State without a permit since Sept. 1 and, of course, any one who has any such weapon obtained since that date without a permit, whether it be on his person or not, is guilty of the act.

The first case of the kind came up yesterday when William Ruhl of East Orange, N.J., Was arrested at 60 Wall Street after he had accidentally shot Louis Merz of 203 East 174th Street, a clerk employed by Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Ruhl, who is employed in the same office as Merz and uses the same desk, was showing Merz his revolver which had been kept in the desk for a long time and was occasionally used by messengers who carry large sums of money to the banks. The gun fell to the floor and one cartridge exploded, the bullet striking Merz in the muscles of the left arm. Ruhl will be arraigned in the Tombs Court to-day.

Police officers at the East Sixty-seventh Street Station were not entirely clear last night over the meaning of the new gun law. Two juvenile prisoners who had been arrested by order of Lieut. Daniel Daly were released by Lieut. Scanion, who was on duty at the desk when the prisoners were brought in. The prisoners were Joseph Todarl, 11 years old, of 1,411 Avenue A, and Frederick Deutsch, 12 years old, of 431 East Seventy-six Street. The boys had carried air rifles through the street, and they declared they found the air guns in a rubbish pile at Eighth Street and East River. While Lieut. Scanion sent the boys home he confiscated the air rifles and will send them to where they belong when he finds out where that is.

Lawyer Michael J. Sweeney of 206 Broadway, who represents the Pawnbrokers Association, called upon the District Attorney and then went to see Assistant District Attorney Wasservogel. They arranged to make tests in the cases of Ivan Prince of 311 Seventh Avenue and Morris Rosenthal of 504 Sixth Avenue, who were arrested last Friday for displaying revolvers in their pawnshops.

That section of the Sullivan law making it a felony punishable by seven years in Sing Sing for any foreigner to have in his possession any kind of a gun, including shotguns, will be tested when the case of James Palermo, a laborer of Huntington, L. I., who was arrested Friday for having a shotgun with him, as he intended to go shooting, comes up in General sessions. District Attorney Whitman considers this law very important, as it makes an alien liable to arrest for a felony if he passes through the city with a gun. This law will make it hard for persons of foreign birth who come to this country to go hunting in the West.


Is our neighbor The Evening Sun altogether sure of its facts in discussing the Sullivan pistol law and the reference in the Federal Constitution to " the right of the people to keep and bear arms "? We quote its dictum:

" It may be said that the right to possess arms is derived from the Bill of
Rights and that a license is insisted on in England. But our constitution is different from the British article in that it is superior to any law which may be made by Congress or a State Legislature, whereas Parliament may do what it pleases, the so-called
Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding. "

The leading case of the United States vs. Cruikshank, decided in 1875, shows that "the second amendment means no more than it [the right to bear arms] shall not be infringed by congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government." Under this decision cases too numerous to mention have been adjudicated in various States of the Union, declaring that, while the right to bear arms is protected from infringement by any act of Congress, the second amendment does not restrict the right of the States, in the exercise of police power to regulate the manner in which arms shall be kept or borne.

It has been urged that the Sullivan law not only prohibits the carrying of
concealed weapons upon the person, but the " right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property," as assured by the Bill of Rights. Let us see. The law forbids the having in one's possession, that is upon his person, or in his home, of " any pistol, revolver, or other firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person, without a written license therefor." Of course, he may keep and bear arms of a size which may not be concealed, and these without a license.
Wherein is his right infringed?

This article is not finished. Due to the poor copy, I have to research it more. The underlined spaces, etc:


Ex-Supreme Court Justice Says Constitutional Amendment Doesn't Apply to it.


Another Lawyer Thinks Gun Carrying Will Be Easier
Because Juries Instead of Judges Will Try Cases.

Former Judge Roger A. Pryor in an interview yesterday, supported the new Sullivan antiweapon law, which makes it a misdemeanor for any one to have in his possession without a permit a pistol, revolver, blackjack or bludgeon and a felony for any one to have such a weapon concealed upon his person.

"Articles and interviews in the news papers in reference to the Sullivan law have, as far as I see, unanimously ___ credited that law as being invalid." ___ said, speaking in the library of his home at 3 West Fifty-ninth Street. "In support of their contention they rely upon Article II of the amendments to the Federal Constitution, which says "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

"But it is settled by uniform adjudication's that this amendment is a limitation on the authority and power of the Federal Government only. The exemptions to this general statement are only those few cases in which the States are named, and the exercise of certain powers by them expressly prohibited. For example, when Articles I and IX of the Federal Constitution declares that a bill of attainder or ex post facto __shall be passed, it is still necessary in order to extend the prohibition to the States, to provide as is done in the __section that "no State" shall pass a law.

"In short, the restrictions imposed upon Government by the Constitution and the amendments are to be understood as restrictions only on the Government of the Union, except where the States are expressly mentioned. But nowhere in the Constitution is this restriction made applicable to the States. It results, therefore, that Senator Sullivan is entirely right and his critics are all wrong."

"Are there any State laws on the statute books that are made possible because of the lack of such prohibitions in the wording of the Federal Constitution?" Judge Pryor was asked.

"Yes," he said. "Articles V., VII., and VIII. of the Amendments regulate the procedure of criminal trials in the United States Courts, but the States have without question exercised the privilege of prescribing their own method of procedure in such cases."

In making this answer, Judge Pryor referred to the case of Walker vs. Sa_vinet, 692 U.S. Reports ???.

One very simple illustration of the point raised by Judge Pryor can be seen in Article VI of the Amendments. The Article begins with this provision:
"In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial in the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed."

Yet in this State scores of people are tried for crime every day without a jury. For misdemeanors, in New York the Court of Special Sessions has exclusive jurisdiction in the first instance, whereas a defendant may often ask General Sessions to assume jurisdiction, which would move the case from Special sessions and insure a trial by jury. General Sessions need not make such removal and frequently refuses to do so.

One lawyer who discussed the case yesterday agreed with Judge Pryor's argument. He pointed out that the practical administration of the law will depend largely upon the courts interpretation of "jurisdiction." He called to mind no Constitutional reason why the courts should not give the statute full effect by saying that it is a misdemeanor even to have a pistol in one's house without a permit, but he was willing to predict that the courts would make a restrictive interpretation upholding the Constitutionality of the law, but holding that it does not apply to the possession of arms in the home.

"I think it is quite possible that the law was designed to make it easier rather than harder for the weapons carriers" he said. "I am not sure it will not work that way. Most of the prosecutions will probably be for the carrying of weapons concealed upon the person. This is now made a felony, whereas it used to be a misdemeanor, or, in other words, the offense now goes to the General Sessions for trial and sentence, whereas it used to go to Special Sessions. Now in such cases it is harder to get a verdict from a jury than from three Justices. The Justices on the bench are far better able to estimate the value of witnesses and to understand and appreciate police testimony. Concealed weapons cases depend largely on police testimony, and in Special Sessions the proportion of convictions for carrying concealed weapons is very large. A jury would be more inclined to say "what's the use?" or to act on the conviction that there was no real harm for what the prisoner had done. There is always that danger with juries in cases of "maia prohibita." Then too, the General Sessions Judges have a reputation for greater leniency in sentencing. No one shouldn't be staggered with surprise to learn that some such idea was woven into the motives that led to the passage of the law."

The following articles by courtesy of George W. Rogero

New York Times,
Sep 10, 1931; pg. 6
‘Sale or Possession" Barred in Drastic Dunnigan-Sullivan Measure
All Proposals to Curb Crime Will Be Considered by Codes Committee Next Week.
Special to The New York Times.
Albany, Sept. 9.- Sale, use or possession of a machine gun in this State, except by police, peace officers or military and naval organizations, are made felonies in a bill introduced today by Senator John J. Dunigan of Brons, Democratic leader in the Upper House. A companion measure was introduced in the Lower House By Assemblyman Patrick H. Sullivan of the Eleventh New York District, a nephew of the late "Big Tim" Sullivan, who sponsored the Sullivan law in the Senate during the late 1911 session of the Legislature.
The bill carries out recommendations made by Commissioner Mulrooney, besides having the approval of Governor Roosevelt.
In addition to providing drastically toward elimination of the machine gun as a weapon in gangsters’ hands, it makes elaborate provision and radical reform in the issuance of pistol permits.
Soon after these measures and another sponsored by Senator Cosmo A. Cilano, Monroe County Republican, which more briefly outlaws the machine gun, it was announced that a public hearing would be held next Wednesday before the codes committees of the Senate and Assembly on crime prevention bills.
The Dunnigan-Sullivan bill makes this new provision in Section 1.896 of the penal law against unauthorized possession, sale or use of machine guns:
"A person who sells or keeps for sale or offers or gives or disposes of any firearm of the kind usually known as a machine gun to any person is guilty of a felony, except that manufactures of machine guns as merchandise and the sale and shipment thereof direct to police departments, sheriffs, policemen and other peace officers and to military and naval organizations shall be unlawful."
Through an amendment to the next section, "the presence of a machine un in a room or vehicle owned or occupied by a person or persons shall be presumptive evidence of illegal possession within the meaning of the law."
Again exemption is made for manufactures and for transportation companies carrying such weapons for delivery direct ot police departments and others authorized to posses this deadly weapon.
The issuance of pistol permits under other provisions of the Dunnigan-Sullivan bill is limited to police in cities and sheriffs of counties outside of cities.
The bill provides that householders, merchants, storekeepers and messengers of banking institutions and express companies shall be entitled upon proper application to receive permits to carry pistols, provided they are persons of good moral character.

New York Times, 1931
All 185,000 Pistol Permits Lapse Thursday; State enforcing Strict Rules for Renewals, Sep 29, 1931
By The Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. Sept. 28.- New York State was preparing to-day to deal gangland a sweeping blow with the nullification on Thursday of all of the 1850,000 pistol permits now in force within the Commonwealth.
The renewals will be under stringent rules. Persons wishing to carry firearms will be required to leave their photographs and fingerprints on record. There will be no all-time permits, even in cases where pistols are kept in homes for protection. The renewals must be made annually.
The new rules governing pistol obsession and carrying are part of the anti-crime legislation enacted during the recent special session of the Legislature.
From the Department of State Police today came the suggestion that persons having a legitimate use for firearms make application for renewals of permits at once the county judges who issued them. The new forms will not be ready for several weeks, but applications will be accepted by the State police as evidence of good faith.
Major John A. Warner, Superintendent of the department, sent Captain Albert B. Moore the New York City to assure starting of the new pistol permit system on a uniform basis there as well as up-state.
Supreme Court Justice Selah D. Strong, sitting in the Richmond County Court at St. George, S.I declared yesterday that the Sullivan law should be repealed as soon as possible as a protection to citizens.
He expressed the opinion while hearing a motion to set aside the four-to eight-year sentences of Henry J. Kupiedolowski and Stephen Dienovitch, each 19 years old, for attempted burglary.
"The Sullivan law is all wrong, and should be repealed at once," he said. "A person convicted of a crime should not be permitted to carry a gun, but I believe all citizens should be, in order to protect themselves against criminals."
"Our armories should be opened to teach our store keepers how to use a gun against the bandit."