Monthly Archives: September 2014

NY SAFE Act Supporter Gets Slap On Wrist After Violating The Gun Laws He Championed

Posted by Bob Owens on September 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm

One definition of tyranny is arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power.

New Yorkers, you live under tyranny:

An anti-violence activist caught carrying a firearm into an elementary school in February has been given a conditional discharge.

A judge says if Dwayne Ferguson completes 100 hours of community service and stays out of trouble, he will not face more serious charges possessing a firearm on schools grounds.

Last February, Ferguson sparked a scare at Harvey Austin Elementary School (Buffalo, NY) when a man noticed his weapon and called police. Students were held on lockdown for around three hours while police swept the school. It was during a second search that Ferguson was found with a weapon.

We noted at the time of his arrest that:

These activists can’t seem to get it through their thick skulls that the restrictive laws they champion have zero effect on the criminal behavior of career criminals and gang-bangers that are responsible for the vast majority of gun crime, but only affect good a decent people like Dwayne Ferguson always imagined himself to be.

Sadly, the only thing that Ferguson learned from his experience was that those who do the bidding of those who make the rules are all too often exempt from those rules.

Bob Owens is the Editor of A long-time shooting enthusiast, he began blogging as a North Carolina native in New York at the politics-focused Confederate Yankee in 2004. In 2007 Bob began writing about firearms, gun rights, and crime at Pajamas Media, and added gun and gear reviews for Shooting Illustrated in 2010. He is a volunteer in the Appleseed Project, where he shares stories of our shared American heritage and teaches traditional rifle marksmanship. He is an alumni of Gunsite Academy (250 Pistol). His personal blog is, and he can be found on Twitter at bob_owens.

New Jersey, New York Gun Control Demonstrates Glaring Double Standard

Added by Graham Noble on September 24, 2014.
Liberty Voice

New Jersey – along with its neighbor-state, New York – has rapidly become ground zero for the trampling of constitutional rights and two recent gun-related incidents demonstrate the glaring double standard exercised in those states. In the first incident, a single mother of two small boys is facing the prospect of up to three and a half years in prison for unknowingly carrying a firearm in a state – New Jersey – that does not honor her Pennsylvania concealed carry permit. In the second case, a New York man gets a slap on the wrist for knowingly carrying a concealed firearm inside a public elementary school.

The double standard, in this case? The man who knowingly broke a New York gun law was none other than a vocal supporter of stricter gun control measures. It is hard not to consider the possibility that the leniency shown this man may be influenced by the politics behind the anti-gun movement. Taking the entire comparison of these two cases to an even higher level of mind-numbing hypocrisy is the fact that community activist Dwayne Ferguson – the man arrested for possession of a firearm on school property – is a long-time proponent of the hilariously titled SAFE act, a draconian and entirely unconstitutional set of gun-control measures enacted in the state of New York. As stated on The SAFE act web pages, “The new law cracks down on possession of a gun on school grounds…”

Shaneen Allen, 27, is a working single mother who lives in Philadelphia. She has no criminal record and possesses a Pennsylvania concealed-carry permit. Unaware that her permit was not honored in New Jersey, Allen is currently awaiting trial because, during a “routine” traffic stop in Atlantic City last year, she voluntarily informed a law enforcement officer that she was carrying a handgun and produced her permit for inspection. She was immediately arrested and charged with “unlawful” possession of a firearm. Allen’s trial has been delayed until October 20, at the request of Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain, who – just possibly – may have come to his senses and has decided to review the circumstances of Allen’s arrest.

Father of three Dwayne Ferguson, of Buffalo, NY, is a man who believed that the carrying of a firearm on school grounds was a crime too serious to be treated as a misdemeanor; he supported the SAFE act, which made it a felony. Apparently, however, he doesn’t believe that such laws apply to him. On February 6, 2014, Ferguson entered the city’s Harvey Austin Elementary School, carrying a concealed handgun. Ferguson works there on an after-school program – one of his many roles in the local community. He holds a concealed carry permit. It can be assumed that Ferguson is unaware of the meaning of the word “concealed” as someone at the school placed a 911 call to police, prompting a massive response from law enforcement. Initially, Ferguson – as a result of the law which he, himself, advocated – was looking at a felony gun possession charge. Instead, Judge John L. Michalek sentenced him to 100 hours of community service.

Two individuals; both legal gun-owners with permits to carry and both arrested for exercising their constitutional right. One, however, committed an offence worthy of a simple citation, if anything; yet, she faces jail time with no parole. In the other case, a man commits a serious and deliberate breach of a law which he, himself, advocated and gets off with little more than a slap on the wrist. Granted; these are two separate states, but the two cases, when compared, clearly demonstrate the glaring double standard of the anti-gun lobby – a double standard which is evident, not only in New Jersey and New York, but across the country. The very people who push for increased gun-control are the ones who believe it is fine for them to flout the law. Ferguson insists that he “forgot” he was carrying his gun. The question needs to be asked; what is the point of carrying a weapon for self-defense if one “forgets” that they are carrying it? As any trained and responsible gun-owner will testify, one does not “forget” when one is carrying a firearm; it may – and should – become second-nature, to the point where one does not consciously think about it, but one is never unaware that the firearm is there, in the holster. Thus, Ferguson’s claim of temporary ignorance demonstrated that he is either not telling the truth or that he is, clearly, not responsible enough to be carrying a gun at all.

No doubt, the two cases highlight a number of conclusions: The first, of course, is that neither one of these individuals should be facing any criminal charges; neither one actually posed a danger to anyone and both are protected by the 2nd Amendment, the supreme firearms law of the land. The second conclusion – drawing from the Shaneen Allen case – is that the entire system of reciprocity, by which different states can choose to honor – or not to honor – the validity of gun permits issued in other states, is completely unfair, unconstitutional and impractical.

One of the few legitimate duties of the federal government is to mediate disputes between states and impose federal laws, by which every state must abide. Since the 2nd Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights and, therefore, an element of the United States Constitution, no state should have the authority to pass any law which contravenes it. In the absence of nullifying all laws requiring a law-abiding citizen to obtain any firearms permit, the federal government should impose a requirement on all states to honor any permit issued in another state.

Evan Nappen, Allen’s attorney, appears to concur and believes that reciprocity should be mandated at the federal level. “People believe that your gun license should be treated like your driver’s license.” says Nappen. “Right now, there’s a national law being proposed that would mandate that all states recognize other states licenses…I’m calling that bill Shaneen’s law.” Nappen intends to request a dismissal of the charges against Allen, when she goes on trial.

As for Dwayne Ferguson; he is, clearly, not being honest when he claims that he forgot he was carrying his gun. Evidently, he understands that the safety of our children is more certain when there are responsible, armed citizens around them. Why he, himself, supported a law which strips away that safety can only be explained by looking at the political motivations behind the push for more gun-control; those on the Left have a basic belief that government has the right to control the behavior of ordinary citizens and such control cannot be fully implemented whilst citizens possess the means to defend themselves.

New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California lead the way among anti-gun states, although several other states – all Democrat-controlled – are not far behind. The laughable double standard of the anti-gun movement, however, is that its most vocal figures continue to demonstrate that they, themselves, believe that owning and carrying a firearm is not only their right, but a necessity.

It conjures up a disturbing vision of the future, to know that one section of the population believes that they are entitled to arm themselves but that everyone else is not.

Opinion by Graham J Noble

NBC Philadelphia
The Daily Caller
The Buffalo News
The Washington Post

Injustice Department? Telephone call reveals Holder’s lawless agency

Jim Kouri –
September 14, 2014

A news story that should have — or would have — garnered more coverage by major news organizations failed to achieve its proper attention thanks to the frenzy over the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s murderous rampage, the media’s obsession with football star Ray Rice’s domestic violence story, and the media’s knee-jerk protection of a failed President Barack Obama. In fact, not one Sunday morning news show even mentioned how the Justice Department attempted to conspires with a Democrat lawmaker to allegedly sabotage the probe of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative nonprofit organizations.

According to a letter from the House Oversight Committee’s leader Darrell Issa, R-California, a top member of Attorney General Eric Holder’s staff, Brian Fallon, is accused of accidentally telephoning House Oversight Committee chairman’s office to ask for help leaking fabricated stories about the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups to news outlets. Fallon allegedly thought he had telephoned the office of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, who is also on that same committee and who has been extremely vocal on behalf of the IRS and Justice Department claiming there is no scandal.

The details in Issa’s letter are just more evidence that the Obama-Holder Justice Department’s investigation into IRS targeting is a political farse, and the Obama administration head honchos are more concerned with a political agenda and not performing their duties for the American people.

“Instead of conducting an investigation seeking the truth about allegations of the IRS targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, the folks at Holder’s own version of a Justice Department are actually working with the Democrat lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee in order to obstruct investigations, rather than uncovering facts,” said former police detective, Jason Katz, who also served as a senior investigator for an agency that probes government and political criminal activity.

“Do those people in the news media realize we may have a Justice Department that actually obstructs justice?” Katz asked.

Issa’s accusation and Fallon’s admission appears to highlight how politically-motivated Eric Holder’s Justice Department has become. It also proves what many conservatives and libertarians have claimed: The federal government is out-of-control thanks to Obama’s accelerated attack on the U.S. Constitution, according to political consultant Mike Baker.

“The telephone call’s purpose was to help the Democrats spin the story about the IRS’s suspected criminality perpetrated to help Obama win re-election,” Baker alleges.

According to The Washington Post, a Democratic staffer from the Oversight Committee responded to Fallon’s assertion, stating, “We never received any call like this, and we never took any action. Apparently, this individual (Fallon) doesn’t know our staff that well because he didn’t know who he was talking to, and he didn’t even know the right phone number.”

Sadly, this isn’t the first time Rep. Cummings’ name popped up during the IRS probe. According to an April Examiner news story:

After Cummings and his staff pressured the IRS to go after True the Vote, the conservative group received an email message to submit information to IRS agents such as registration forms used to enlist volunteers, the group’s protocols for handing out assignments to those volunteers, training documents, and other information that is never asked from left-wing groups.

“Now we see why [Rep. Elijah] Cummings was so shrill and angry during Lois Lerner’s appearance in front of his committee. Cummings should be the one being investigated based on his politicizing the IRS in a conspiracy to silence a vocal organization,” said political strategist Mike Baker.

‘Disconnect’ and ‘discontent’ seen in Democratic primary results

By Maury Thompson  9/10/14

The local results of Tuesday’s Democratic primary for governor and lieutenant governor were puzzling to Warren County Democratic Chairwoman Lynne Boecher.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his lieutenant governor running mate Kathy Hochul, political moderates, won the state, but did not carry counties in the Glens Falls region, generally considered a moderate area.

Zephyr Teachout and running mate Timothy Wu, liberals from the New York City area, had the most votes in Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Essex and Hamilton counties, and many other northern New York counties, although they lost their respective primaries statewide.

“Obviously there is a disconnect and a discontent. Those are markers that must be addressed. And I am confident they will be,” Boecher said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Boecher said she was still attempting to figure out the source of the discontent, but she did not think it was because Cuomo refused to debate Teachout or because of the SAFE Act, the controversial gun control legislation the governor championed.

“I’m disappointed, I am taking a serious look at a message that gives, as I am sure Gov. Cuomo and lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul are,” she said.

Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader said even though Teachout lost, her strong showing in the Glens Falls region and her receiving about one-third of the vote statewide is a sign that change is afoot.

“I hear a rumble from the people getting under way,” said Nader, who will campaign with Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins and Green Party congressional candidate Matt Funiciello at noon Sunday at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls.

“This is a pretty stunning performance by someone (Teachout) who had virtually no ad budget and only a couple of union endorsements — didn’t get all that much press,” Nader said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

The results of the Democratic primary have increased optimism for supporters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, said Ron Jackson, regional vice chairman of the state Republican Committee.

“I think it reflects that it’s not going to be quite the runaway in November that people were predicting just a few days ago — a least upstate. Now I don’t know if upstate can make up for downstate,” he said.

Jackson suggested the SAFE Act was the major factor in the Democratic primary results locally.

“Cuomo spent a lot of time in Essex County, And he certainly spent a lot of money helping repair the infrastructure,” said Jackson, who also is Essex County Republican chairman. “And people, while I’m sure they like that, both the attention and money, they can’t get past the SAFE Act.”

“In trying to think about what happened in Saratoga (County), part of it’s got to be anti-casino backlash,” said Robert Turner, a political science professor at Skidmore College.

Turner said Cuomo’s and Hochul’s failure to carry area counties may have been because Democrats are not as organized as their New York City counterparts.

“There’s not going to be party pressure the way there is going to be downstate. And if you’re a liberal up there, you’re probably really liberal,” he said.

Local Democrats will continue emphasizing Cuomo’s economic development initiatives, his on-time budgets and his being willing to work with Republicans such as state Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, said Boecher, the Warren County Democratic chairwoman.

“I don’t take the (primary) results lightly,” she said.

Dem, Breaks From Party, Supports SAFE Act Repeal

September 09, 2014

In a rare move in these partisan times, Democratic State Senate candidate, Johnny Destino, broke the goose-stepping party line and signed the SCOPE pledge to repeal the SAFE Act.

Democratic State Senate candidate Johnny Destino bucked his own party line last week and signed the Shooter’s Committee on Political Education (SCOPE) pledge to back the repeal of the New York SAFE Act, a strident gun control law pushed through the state legislature by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The SAFE Act was signed into law in January 2013, a direct response to the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut. While none of the law’s provisions is likely to prevent such tragedies in the future, the SAFE Act certainly curtails law-abiding New York gun owners’ rights in the present.

Prior to the law’s passage, New York already had some of the strictest gun laws in the United States.

Under the law, magazines capable of accepting more than 10 rounds of ammunition are banned, and anyone buying ammunition is subject to a background check, much like as if they were buying a gun.

More than 200 municipalities across the state have passed resolutions calling for the repeal of the law.

At just 54 words, the SCOPE pledge gets right to the point: “As a candidate for office in the state of New York, I pledge to support the Second Amendment and the rights of gun owners, hunters, and sportsmen in our state. I pledge to support the repeal of the NY SAFE Act and oppose any similar gun-ban legislation at the local, state, and federal level.”

Destino was unavailable for comment, but in the past has pointed out that the SAFE Act would never have passed had Republicans in the Senate including State Sen. George Maziarz, at the time the third leading Senate leader, not allowed the SAFE Act to come to a vote.

As North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt, State Sen. George Maziarz’s hand-picked successor, said, “The SAFE Act was a bad law because it was rammed through in the middle of the night, before the ink was dry on the printed copies, with no debate. But it was more fundamentally a bad law because it flew in the face of the Bill of Rights.”

As Destino pointed out to the Reporter on numerous occasions, the Senate Republicans, who controlled the Senate at the time of the SAFE Act’s passage in January, 2013, had only to not permit it to go to the floor for a vote, as Democrats always do when they oppose a law.

He has a point.

The fact that the Senate Republican leadership allowed it, showed clearly they were not 2nd Amendment watchdogs. That some of these same senators cynically voted against the SAFE Act, while, at the same time, allowing the SAFE Act to come to the floor for a vote in the first place, shows the hypocrisy of these Republicans.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would never allow a bill he disbelieves in to come to the Assembly floor for a vote.

Today, we have the SAFE Act not only because of a liberal anti-Aecond Amendment governor and an uber-liberal Manhattan-centric State Assembly, but also because Senate Republicans allowed the SAFE Act to, precisely, “go to the floor in the middle of the night, before the ink was dry on printed copies, and with no debate.”

For them to say now, the SAFE Act is an infringement of rights, is about the near height of hypocrisy.

It took all three – governor, assembly and Republican -controlled senate – to do this anti-freedom SAFE Act tango.

He’s right.

“George (Maziarz) and the Republican leadership sold out their constituents,” Destino said.

At least one Democrat, Johnny Destino, had the guts and political courage to break free from the Democrats and other constitutional hypocrites to support the SAFE Act’s repeal.



Companies run by Andrew Cuomo’s biggest donors have won millions in state grants: records

EXCLUSIVE: At least seven companies that received a total of $15.25 million in grants from state Regional Economic Development Councils are linked to $1.25 million in donations to Cuomo’s campaign treasury since 2010, the records show.

Thursday, September 4, 2014,
AUG. 13, 2014, FILE PHOTOSebastian Scheiner/APAt least seven companies that received a total of $15.25 million in grants from state Regional Economic Development Councils are linked to $1.25 million in donations to Andrew Cuomo’s campaign treasury since 2010, state records show.

ALBANY — Several companies run by big-time donors to Gov. Cuomo have won millions of dollars in state economic development grants since he took office, state records show.

At least seven companies that received a total of $15.25 million in grants from state Regional Economic Development Councils are linked to $1.25 million in donations to Cuomo’s campaign treasury since 2010, the records show.

One of those companies, Taylor Biomass LLC in Orange County, was awarded $1 million in 2013 to build a waste-to-energy facility.

Its president, James Taylor, gave Cuomo’s campaign more than $100,000 since 2010, including $34,000 this year, campaign finance records show. And the company and its affiliates gave Cuomo another $50,000, including $12,500 this year.

In another case, BFC Partners, of Brooklyn, won $3.5 million in 2013 to construct Empire Outlets, a planned development on Staten Island featuring 100 designer outlets and a posh hotel just steps from the ferry terminal.

BFC donated $25,000 to Cuomo’s campaign in 2014, the year following the grant. And three of the company’s partners, Donald Capoccia, Joseph Ferrara, and Brandon Baron, have ponied up a combined $81,500 since 2010.

Campaign contributions to Mayor Andrew CuomoNew York Daily News; Photo by Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Cuomo aides said the grants cited by the Daily News represent a fraction of the more than 2,600 projects awarded $2.2 billion in funding since2011 under the Regional Economic Development Council program.

The aides also said the governor’s office has no formal role in selecting who receives the awards. The projects, they pointed out, are recommended by the 10 regional councils, under a system Cuomo established in 2011 to create competition for the hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding distributed each year.

The Cuomo-controlled Empire State Development Corp. scores the recommendations and picks the winners, which Cuomo typically announces in a public ceremony.

Cuomo aides said the process is far better than the old “member item” system in which state legislators picked projects in their districts to fund, without much vetting. The aides also argued that some donors to the governor applied for project funding but did not receive grant money.

“To suggest any conflict or connection here is absurd as the recommendations for all of these projects are made by local community representatives,” said Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa.

In another case, BFC Partners, of Brooklyn, won $3.5 million in 2013 to construct Empire Outlets, a planned development on Staten Island featuring 100 designer outlets and a posh hotel just steps from the ferry terminal.In another case, BFC Partners, of Brooklyn, won $3.5 million in 2013 to construct Empire Outlets, a planned development on Staten Island featuring 100 designer outlets and a posh hotel just steps from the ferry terminal.


Cuomo aides said several of the companies cited by The News, including Taylor Biomass, received state and federal funding for other projects in the past. Some of the grants, they said, funded projects that already were under way before Cuomo even became governor.

In one case cited by The News, a $2 million grant for the Dover Knolls Development, a plan to renovate an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Dutchess County, was withdrawn when the developer sold the project.

The company, its parent, Benjamin Millennium Group, and assorted affiliates contributed a combined $271,700 to Cuomo, and the company’s president at the time, Alvin Benjamin, gave $25,000 in 2011.

Bill Mahoney, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said the awarding of grants tied to donors raises questions. “Businesses rarely contribute to candidates for purely altruistic reasons – in most cases, they’re hoping to help their bottom lines,” Mahoney said.

“If Gov. Cuomo had fulfilled his promises to overhaul the campaign finance system, perhaps there wouldn’t be concerns over decisions like these.”

The Dumb Line In New York’s Constitution That Could Elect A Governor Most Of The State Doesn’t Want

by Ian Millhiser Posted on September 2, 2014

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is heavily favored to win reelection this November. Indeed, Real Clear Politics‘ polling average shows him nearly 29 points ahead of Republican Rob Astorino. Yet, due to a bizarre quirk in New York’s constitution, Cuomo could win a landslide popular vote victory over Astorino this fall — and yet still wind up having to give up the governor’s mansion to a candidate that the majority of his state’s voters did not want as their governor.

The problem arises from a provision of the state constitution which governs how the governor and lieutenant governor of the state shall be elected. Under that constitution, the occupants of both offices “shall be chosen jointly, by the casting by each voter of a single vote applicable to both offices.” Moreover, “[t]he respective persons having the highest number of votes cast jointly for them for governor and lieutenant-governor respectively shall be elected.”
New York is unusual in that it allows candidates to simultaneously run as the candidate of multiple political parties for the same office at the same time. Cuomo, for example, plans to run for reelection as a Democrat, but also as the candidate of the Working Families Party, the Independence Party, and the Women’s Equality Party. For these later three parties, Cuomo’s running mate will be former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (D), the woman he hand-picked to be his #2 if he is reelected. In the Democratic Party’s primary, however, Hochul faces a challenge from law professor Tim Wu.

So here’s the nightmare scenario for Cuomo: if Wu wins the Democratic primary, then Cuomo/Wu will be the Democratic ticket while Cuomo/Hochul will remain the ticket for the three minor parties that also back Cuomo. Yet, because the winners of the gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial races must be “chosen jointly,” and because the winner of both races is the two candidates who have “the highest number of votes cast jointly,” Cuomo could conceivably win a solid majority and still lose his reelection bid.

Suppose, for example, that the Democratic Party’s Cuomo/Wu ticket receives 30 percent of the vote, the three minor parties backing the Cuomo/Hochul ticket receive a total of 30 percent of the vote, and the Republican candidate Rob Astorino receives a total of 40 percent of the vote. In this scenario, 60 percent of New York voters would have cast their ballot for Cuomo, but the two candidates who had “the highest number of votes cast jointly,” would be Astorino and his running mate. Cuomo/Wu and Cuomo/Hochul would each count as entirely different tickets, even though both featured the same person at the top of the ticket.

These kinds of scenarios, where a candidate that a majority of the electorate opposes winds up winning election, are inevitable in what is known as a “first-past-the-post” voting system — a system where the candidate who wins a plurality of the votes is declared the winner even if they do not achieve a majority. Think of what happened in 2000, when Vice President Al Gore split the left-of-center vote with Ralph Nader, allowing conservative candidate George W. Bush to win the election (albeit with big assist from the Supreme Court). Similarly, Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage owes his current job to the fact that Democratic voters in 2010 split their vote between the Democratic nominee and another candidate who was a former Carter Administration official. LaPage only received 38 percent of the statewide vote, but that was enough to win thanks to Maine’s first-past-the-post system.

Nevertheless, the situation in New York is unusual in that it would actually allow a candidate who won the popular vote in a landslide to be declared the loser of an election.

As the New York Post explains, there may be a way out for Cuomo. If Wu wins the Democratic primary, Cuomo may be able to swap out Hochul on his other ballot lines if she is nominated instead for a judgeship. Yet, even if this tactic works, it presents its own problems. The candidates for judgeships in New York should be selected because they will make good judges, not because a black robe may be the only way to avoid an absurd election rule that could place the state in the hands of a governor most New Yorkers don’t want.

Cuomo challenger Zephyr Teachout talks SAFE Act, public corruption, upstate economy and legalizing marijuana


WATERTOWN — A few days after skipping the north country on her “Whistleblower Tour” of the state, Fordham law professor and upstart political challenger Zephyr Teachout promised to visit the area after she wins the Democratic primary against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“You have to understand, I grew up as a cross-country skier and I’m a big hiker and I just love the whole area,” Ms. Teachout said. “It just, we couldn’t make it work, but I have an on-the-record commitment to be there within a week after winning on September 9th.”

Ms. Teachout and her running mate, Columbia law professor Timothy Wu, have taken a break from the halls of academia to represent a significant challenge to the notion that Mr. Cuomo will automatically win the endorsement of the Democratic Party.

Their campaign, which is based largely on attacking what they view as Mr. Cuomo’s failure to address longstanding corruption in Albany, has picked up momentum of late, with media outlets providing a much-needed boost to a duo still largely unknown in the state.

In a poll released Aug. 20, Quinnipiac University reported that 88 percent of voters don’t know enough about Ms. Teachout to form an opinion of her. But in a New York Times editorial about the race, the paper endorsed Mr. Wu over Mr. Cuomo’s running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul — a signal that popular sentiment may be shifting.

In a phone interview with the Watertown Daily Times on Tuesday, Ms. Teachout discussed her positions on the NY SAFE Act, campaign finance reform, revitalizing upstate New York’s flagging economy and legalizing marijuana.:

■ On the SAFE Act:

Ms. Teachout said she disagreed with the way Gov. Cuomo’s gun-control legislation was passed but she agreed with many of its provisions. However, she said, she would have listened to gun owners before crafting the law.

“It was done in a deeply disrespectful way. We should have held hearings, listened to gun owners. … The key is just listening. Holding hearings and (the SAFE Act) being done in such a rushed way, there’s serious question as to its constitutionality. … I don’t think that’s a trivial issue. I think that’s a matter of respect. You can disagree with people, but you should at least hear their perspective first. What I’d want to do is hold hearings and then we’d actually have the full public discussion about each of the features of the act. Again, we may not come down on the same side, but your job as an executive is not to just govern by fiat.”

■ On the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, which Gov. Cuomo disbanded in March:

“We’ve had Moreland Commissions that have been independent in the past. The (1987 Moreland Commission empaneled by Gov. Cuomo’s father, Mario M. Cuomo) was truly independent of Mario Cuomo and it said things that Mario Cuomo didn’t want to hear, but they genuinely investigated and went wherever they wanted to go. Andrew Cuomo made a mockery out of the independence of the Moreland Commission. If you create a commission, you have an obligation to maintain its independence.”

■ On public campaign financing:

“It changes what you do when you wake up in the morning as a politician. Right now my job is to wake up and think about the richest people I know and what they’re interested in and see if I can call them and ask them for $10,000, $60,000, in New York it’s up to $120,000 essentially, if they’re married. So we’re talking extreme wealth, and I have nothing against rich people, but I can tell you their concerns are not the concerns of middle- and working-class New Yorkers. … The problem is, at a very basic psychological level, our current campaign finance system encourages politicians to be servants of the oligarchs in our society, even the nice ones.”

■ On the upstate economy:

“I think we need to move toward public works. We have a desperate need for jobs. Startup New York isn’t working, so we need to actually be directly investing in hiring people, hiring teachers. … I’m very excited about hiring people directly to do renewable energy public works programs and then also building out broadband where we need it. You know, we built the Erie Canal; we can actually do public works projects in this state and connect ourselves to each other but in a better way. … Medium size dairy is my focus. … Basically, building off some of the co-op models, how can we get upstate dairy to downstate restaurants but cheaper and faster with some state support.”

■ On legalizing marijuana:

“We ought to be studying the Colorado model. Not only is it just a cruel way to treat kids who are smoking a joint, but there is a potential for our economy. Look at the jobs that have been created in Colorado.”

■ About the campaign:

“It’s been an extraordinary three weeks. At first people were unhappy with Cuomo for different reasons, and that’s why they came to us. Now there’s genuine excitement about the possibilities. Because we just see this state through different glasses. We see this state as being really abundant, full of resources; we’ve just got to invest in it. … It’s all about passion; it’s all about people getting excited, and we have a lot of that.”

Mr. Cuomo also is being challenged on the Democratic line by comedian and activist Randy Credico. The winner of the primary will face Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss, his running mate, in the November general election.

Ms. Teachout declined to name a favorite in the race for New York’s 21st Congressional District, which pits Democrat and Working Families Party candidate Aaron G. Woolf against Republican and Conservative Party nominee Elise M. Stefanik and Green Party candidate Matthew J. Funiciello. Mr. Woolf declined to name a favorite in the governor’s race last week.

Ms. Teachout did, however, identify Lake Placid as one of her favorite skiing destinations.