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March 1, 2013

County: Gun-law has flaws

MALONE — Franklin County legislators oppose the state’s new gun law but want to hear from residents before taking an official stance.

Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill plans to organize and then announce the dates and times of the meetings, which will be held at each end of the county.

Unofficially, the seven-member panel opposes some sections of the state’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE Act), saying Gov. Andrew Cuomo rushed to sign it in reaction to the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

They called the law another unfunded mandate, even though it says all program costs will be covered within the State Police budget.

Legislators invited Mulverhill, Acting County Clerk Kip Cassavaw, Community Services Director Suzanne Goolden and District Attorney Derek Champagne to their regular meeting to gauge their opinions, since their departments are impacted the most by the law. The DA was unable to attend.

STAFFING CONCERNS

Cassavaw said that implementing the law could mean he has to add more staff because the two people dedicated to the job now are overwhelmed.

Since the legislation was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Cassavaw said, gun owners adding new weapons to their permits, people obtaining permits for the first time and those seeking clarification of the new law have caused an eight-fold increase in the paperwork his office must process.

“I can’t take staff away from other work with two people all day doing pistol permits. That’s a lot of man hours, and that’s why I’m against it.”

SUGGESTED CHANGES

Mulverhill said he agrees with the position paper the New York State Sheriff’s Association sent to Cuomo in January that calls for changes in the law — he also thinks no personal information on a pistol permit should be publicly released, wants a clarification of the definition of an assault rifle, funding awarded for local law enforcement to oversee school-safety plans and clarification about ammunition sales over the Internet, among others. 

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