NY SAFE Act denounced by County Legislature

The New York State Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act) has brought several people together to fight the law proposed by Republican Sen. Martin Golden, from Brooklyn, in January.

People on both sides of the argument see the positives and negatives to this law. Since its passing on Jan. 15 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 34 counties have passed resolutions against the law as of March 3, according to NY SAFE Resolutions. The website tracks county and town resolutions against the NY SAFE Act.

Oswego County legislator Terry Wilbur, who represents the 21st district in Hannibal, sponsored a bill that was passed by the legislature calling for the repeal of the new law. The resolution passed 25-0 last month. Wilbur said that the legislature is simply standing up for its constituents.

“The county constituents came to us and this is what we feel,” Wilbur said.

While this, at its basic level appears to be a down state versus upstate argument, Wilbur argues that is not the case.

“This is not about upstate versus downstate, it’s about what’s right,” Wilbur said.

Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, says that gun death rates are higher upstate than they are downstate.

“This is because upstate gun ownership is higher,” Gunn Barrett said.

Gunn Barrett cited a study conducted by the Violence Policy Center based on 2010 data. The study shows that Alaska has the highest gun death rate per 100,000 people with 20.28. Alaska’s gun ownership is 60.6 percent, but not the highest of those with high gun death rates. In the top five highest gun death rates listed, Wyoming leads the ownership rates with 62.8 percent. They have 16.32 deaths per 100,000, placing them at number five on the list. New York, on the other hand, ranked 46th with 5.22 deaths per 100,000 and an 18.1 percent gun ownership rate.

Overall, the U.S. leads the world in gun ownership with approximately 89 civilian firearms out every 100 residents, according to a 2011 Small Firearms Survey study. The next closest on the list was Yemen with approximately 55 civilian firearms out of every 100 residents.

The new law has been hailed as the strictest of gun laws in the country and calls for universal background checks. According to Cuomo’s webpage on the law, this closes a loophole in private sales and requires all transactions with guns to be conducted through a federal firearms licensee except when the transaction is between family members. Wilbur agrees with this provision.

“I’m all for background checks,” Wilbur said. “I’m OK with that.”

Wilbur claims that the law hurts law-abiding citizens.

“We don’t want the government telling law abiding citizens not to [bear arms],” Wilbur said.

Jenny Lando of the New York City chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said that they are “not attempting to repeal the 2nd Amendment.”

“It’s about removing guns that belong in the theater of war, not in the hands of criminals,” Lando said. She said that her organization has a visual campaign right now that invites their supporters to cut out eight paper dolls that represent the eight children who are shot and killed each day.

Part of the problem for Wilbur is that the law was rushed. He argues that the rushed legislation took away the people’s opportunity to speak up about the law, which is key to democracy.

“I was a poli-sci major here at Oswego and I don’t want to see the democratic system go down the tubes,” Wilbur said. “That’s not how government is supposed to run.”

Oswego County Legislator Jacob Mulcahey, who represents the City of Oswego, said that the law was passed “too fast at the state level.” He also noted that the state legislature is now scrambling to make changes to the law.

Mulcahey is the only member of the Democrat party who is on the Government, Courts and Consumer Affairs Committee who voted on the resolution against NY SAFE Act. He said that he “thought a lot about it” and after receiving phone calls from his constituents,. he voted for the resolution.

“There’s lots of sportsmen and gun owners in the constituents opposing Gov. Cuomo’s law,” Mulcahey said. “It was an issue for me.”

All representatives of Oswego in the State Assembly and Senate voted against the NY SAFE Act. Both passed by considerable amounts in both groups of state Congress. The resolution passed in the Assembly 104-43 and the Senate 43-18.

While the argument is already almost two months old, there appears to be no end in sight for the battle over gun control laws. Lando said that the Moms Take the Hill event will happen in Washington D.C. on March 13. Lando said that the group will meet with representatives from their districts throughout the day campaigning for gun controls in the U.S.

“It’s not about politics,” Wilbur said. “It’s about what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Gunn Barrett would like for more people to look at the facts rather than jumping to conclusions too quickly.

“I wish people would pay attention to what the facts are saying,” Gunn Barrett said.

NYSAFEResolutions.com created this graphic that shows which counties condemned the SAFE Act. (Graphic provided by Jason Benner)
NYSAFEResolutions.com created this graphic that shows which counties condemned the SAFE Act. (Graphic provided by Jason Benner)

6 thoughts on “NY SAFE Act denounced by County Legislature

  1. Below are the New York State counties, towns and law enforcement agencies who have passed or are passing resolutions against Cuomo’s SAFE ACT:
    Allegany County, Broome County, Cattaraugus County, Cayuga County, Chautauqua County, Chemung County, Chenango County, Clinton County, Columbia County, Cortland County, Delaware County, Dutchess County, Erie County, Essex County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Genesee County, Greene County, Hamilton County, Herkimer County, Jefferson County, Lewis County, Livingston County, Madison County, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Niagara County, Oneida County, Onondaga County, Ontario County, Orange County, Orleans County, Oswego County, Otsego County, Putnam County, Rensselaer County, Rockland County, Saint Lawrence County, Saratoga County, Schoharie County, Schuyler County, Seneca County, Steuben County, Sullivan County, Tioga County, Ulster County, Warren County, Washington County, Wayne County, Wyoming County, Yates County

    City of Ogdensburg, Town of Argyle, Town of Cambridge, Town of Chester, Town of Clarendon, Town of Colden, Town of Conesus, Town of Deerpark, Town of Elbridge, Town of Grand Island, Town of Harrisburg, Town of Hoosick, Town of Indian Lake, Town of Jackson, Town of Libson, Town of Linclaen, Town of Marathon, Town of Neversink, Town of Palmyra, Town of Riga, Town of Saratoga, Town of Sempronius, Town of Shandaken, Town of Stafford, Town of Thompson, Town of Truxton, Town of Union Vale, Town of Walworth, Town of Warwick, Town of Wawarsing [news]

    Law Enforcement
    Albany Sheriff Craig Apple, Dutchess County Deputy Sheriffs PBA, Erie County Sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association, Greene County Sheriff, New York State Sheriffs’ Association, Saratoga County Sheriff’s Association, Schuyler County Sheriff, Steuben County Deputy Sheriff’s Association

    New York State Association of County Clerks, Association of Erie County Governments, NY Association of Counties, NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, Washington County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs

  2. What the article fails to state is that the UpState legislature members voted down the law by wide margins. The tyranny of the DownState majority is imposing their mega-urban values on the predominately rural and suburban UpState: anti-gun, anti-fracking, pro-gay marriage, etc. They don’t give a crap about UpState, but they never seem to miss an opportunity to push their progressive agenda over anything that that might be important or support economic improvement in UpState. Time to set UpState free.

  3. DAMN right!! Let’s shot down anything that has to do with gun safety. To hell with children who get in the way of a good automatic weapon shootout. F**k a buncha cops that want to take your weapons away. We can’t disarm Americans and especially New Yorkers. There are far too many people to kill. We NEED mega magazines and round barrels. We NEED semi automatic weapons. After all, you never know when the United States government that gave you all of those freedoms and rights will sweep in with muskets. Or or…. or the British will invade again. Yeah, we need to have bazookas too. Morons. Utter morons to believe that this country wants your guns. Who gives a damn about your guns? Me, I give a damn when you’re too stupid to lock them up in a gun safe. I give a damn when your child finds you pistol and either blows away his little sister or himself with it because you showed it to him and then said he could never play with it. Morons. Ignoramus’. If you need a semi automatic weapon to hunt with you need a new hobby. The only purpose behind a semi automatic and high capacity magazines is to kill as many humans as possible before you get killed.

    1. I am extremely proud that I spent 8 years of my life carrying my weapons so that you may live with the right (1st amendment) to say what you just said. It truly saddens me that you choose to use that right to call me a moron and to inform me that I am not entitled to the rights I served to protect. Thank you also for informing me that I am so stupid that I can not possibly handle responsible ownership of my firearms.

      Pete Lounsbury

    2. Well, Dave, a couple of points regarding your thoughtful reply: First and foremost, the 2nd Amendment is not and has never been predicated upon need nor has any other of the amendments that comprise our Bill of Rights.

      Secondly, your comment “If you need a semi-automatic weapon to hunt with you need a new hobby” is indicative of someone who knows little to nothing (I’d chance on the latter) about guns. I’m guessing what you meant to say was that anyone who needs an AUTOMATIC weapon to hunt with needs a new hobby. Unfortunately for your argument, automatic weapons have been generally illegal since the 1934 National Firearms Act. So, if one chooses to use a SEMI-AUTOMATIC rifle to hunt with – which fires one round at a time – I see no problem with this, nor does present NY law (EnCon).

      I really find your rhetoric at the end of your post distrubing to put it mildly. To say “The only purpose behind a semi automatic and high capacity magazines is to kill as many humans as possible before you get killed” shows a complete disconnect from reality. It is offensive to me personally and as a police officer in this state who enjoys shooting on his off time and is a state certified firearms instructor for police, and is an insult to the vast majority of citizens of our nation who lawfully use and possess firearms on a regular basis.

      I value the right of every American to have and voice an opinion. Indeed, it is guaranteed by another amendment to our Bill of Rights – the 1st Amendment – which is, coincidentally, also not predicated by need. What I do object to is someone who obviously has nothing constructive to add to the discussion and who, by evidence of his complete lack of knowldge on the subject, rants like a lunatic and hurls insult and invective towards those who do nothing but lawfully exercise their rights under the Second Amendment.

  4. Dave,

    The most disturbing point in your post is your misinterpretation (or perhaps intentional adulteration) of the premise of government from the American perspective.

    The following excerpt from your post is fundamentally incorrect:

    “…you never know when the United States government that gave you all of those freedoms and rights …”

    The US government does not grant its citizens any rights. Americans believe that an individual’s rights exist without regard to any form of government. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The US government was formed by the citizens of this country, in order to perform the functions described in the Constitution and to protect the Rights of each individual citizen as enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

    This is important to keep in perspective, especially when any legislation is introduced that limits an individuals lawful rights.

    Frank Vallone

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