June 30, 2013

Crossbow legislation again misses target date

How is it that our state’s political system allows the actions of one politician to have a sweeping effect over the entire sporting community?

This is the situation with crossbow legislation and Long Island Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney, who is the chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee (Encon). His inactions, actually, have again left crossbow legislation stalled.

The legislative session ended June 21 without the crossbow bill A283B, which would’ve put crossbow management in the hands of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, even making it to the floor. This task is the responsibility of Sweeney. The companion bill S1699 passed the Senate on June 12 by a margin of 49-12 and most sportsmen believe it would see similar success in the Assembly, if it could just get there.

This now leaves New York without any crossbow season at all as a two-year package that allowed its use during rifle and late muzzleloading seasons expired in 2012. Unless the Assembly reconvenes and the bill is brought to the floor, crossbow hunters in New York are helpless.

This is not the first time Sweeney, who tends to side with southern zone bowhunters who oppose crossbow usage, has brick-walled crossbow legislation.

In 2012, a bill that would’ve offered very limited opportunities would also have made it illegal to have an open hunting season prior to or during an early archery season that allowed usage of crossbows or firearms. If passed, this bill would have prevented last year’s inaugural youth hunting season.

You can’t blame Sweeney for serving his Long Island bowhunting constituents. But as Encon chair, Sweeney’s constituents are all the sportsmen and women of New York state. With the exception of New York Bowhunters Inc., numerous sportsmen’s groups support crossbow usage in New York.

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