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Recapture the passing of the Sullivan law as the New York Times documented the unfolding story and even promoted its passage. The following articles by supplied by Howard W. Offen

NY Times Editorial from Jan. 27, 1905 supporting gun control.


NY Times Editorial from January, 27, 1905

Among the best british traditions perpetuated and cherished in America is that of using natures weapons in the act of self-defense. That it is sincerely cherished is shown in the recent introduction at Albany of a bill by Assemblyman Tompkins to amend the Penal Code of this State relative to the carrying of loaded firearms concealed about the person. The amending section reads as follows:

Sec. 411-A Any person other than a peace officer who shall in any public street, highway or place in any city in this State having a population of upward of 100,000 persons by the last State census have or carry concealed upon his person any loaded pistol, revolver, or other firearm, without thereto fore, in the manner now provided by law, having been authorized to carry the same, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Such a measure would prove corrective and salutary in a city filled with immigrants and evil communications, floating from the shores of Italy and Austria-Hungary. New York police reports frequently testify to the fact that the Italian and other south Continental gentry here are acquainted with the pocket pistol, and while drunk or merrymaking will use it quite as handily as the stiletto, and with more deadly effect. It is hoped that this treacherous and distinctly outlandish mode of settling disputes may not spread to corrupt the native good manners of the community. The case of a Columbia student who flourished and fired a pistol at his persecutors instead of using his "bare fist", as his presumably British-American descent would prescribe, is fresh in the public memory. The act now proposed and championed by Mr. Tompkins will diminish the number of homicides.

New York Times,
March 15, 1905
Special to to The New York Times.

Albany. March 14.- The Armstrong bill prohibiting foreigners from carrying firearms under any circumstances unless specially licensed by local authorities passed the Assembly to-day. Arms of any description may not be sold to minors under sixteen years of age, according to bill's provisions.

The infamous Sullivan Bill passed the NYS Senate on 10 MAY 1911 and the NYS Assembly on 15 MAY 1911 and was signed into New York State law 29 MAY 1911.


Dix Signs Bill Compelling Licenses and Registry of All Sales

Special to The New York Times
May 30, 1911. pg. 1, 1 pgs
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.

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'Connnor 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 im 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.

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."