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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Steuben lawmakers: Repeal gun law

  • Steuben County has joined the movement to repeal New York’s new gun law, and Chemung and Schuyler counties appear poised to follow suit after lawmaking committees in both municipalities voted to condemn the legislation.

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  • Steuben County has joined the movement to repeal New York’s new gun law, and Chemung and Schuyler counties appear poised to follow suit after lawmaking committees in both municipalities voted to condemn the legislation.
    The full Steuben County Legislature voted last Monday to oppose the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, which was enacted in the wake of the December mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Also Monday, the law enforcement committees of the Chemung and Schuyler legislatures passed similar resolutions.
    Each nonbinding resolution calls for the state to repeal the law. They say it infringes on constitutional rights, was hastily implemented and forces fiscal burdens onto municipalities.
    The resolutions received broad approval from lawmakers across the three counties last Monday.
    The full Steuben County Legislature voted 15-2 to ask for a repeal. Legislators Hilda Lando and George Welch Jr. voted against the resolution.
    “The Steuben County Legislature opposes the NYS SAFE Act, as it infringes upon citizens’ Second Amendment rights and places operational responsibilities upon counties for enforcement,” the resolution reads in part.
    Before lawmakers voted, nearly a dozen residents urged them to pass the resolution.
    “Sadly, this culture of violence will continue to endanger the lives of our children and grandchildren because we do not have the political will to clean up the TV, the movies, the video games, and enforce existing laws,” Addison resident Doug Mitchell said. “Trampling on the Second Amendment rights of thousands of law-abiding New Yorkers will not solve the problem.”
    Bath resident Terrie Pakkala said her son, a 12-year military veteran, was recently arrested in Jefferson County for possessing 30-round magazines he purchased at an Army surplus store.
    “The NY SAFE Act threatens not only my son’s right to bear arms, his job and his reputation, but that of every other law-abiding citizen who chooses to exercise the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, thus reinstating class privilege,” Pakkala said.
    In a unanimous vote, the Chemung County Legislature’s Corrections and Law Enforcement Committee approved a resolution that was adopted Feb. 6 at a meeting of the Inter-County Association of Western New York and the Inter-County Legislative Committee of the Adirondacks.
    “This legislation is viewed by many citizens of the state of New York as being extremely controversial as those citizens view this legislation as infringing upon their rights guaranteed to them under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the resolution reads. “The state of New York has a tradition and long history of conducting its deliberations and debates in the public view, and that in the enactment of the NY SAFE Act, the New York State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo acted in contradiction of this time, time-honored tradition of open government.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The full Chemung County Legislature will consider the resolution at a March 11 meeting, where it is expected to be strongly supported.
    In Schuyler County, the four-member Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously to send a condemning resolution to the full board, which will meet March 11.
    “This Legislature hereby calls upon the New York State Legislature and governor to set aside and annul this ill-conceived and poorly drafted statute, which abridges the rights of law-abiding citizens of the state of New York,” the resolution reads in part.
    More than two dozen of New York’s 62 counties have passed resolutions in opposition of the SAFE Act, and about two dozen more are considering such measures, according to nysaferesolutions.com.

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