“Penal law is very strictly construed by the courts in that you don’t have the option of satisfying one or the other,” Davis said. “So, we decided that’s just too great a risk. Until we can affect a legislative change, we hope in the next session, we’re simply going to have to prohibit firearms on the properties.”
Davis also pointed out that even prior to the SAFE Act wording in the law would’ve made firearms usage on these lands a misdemeanor. However, it was overlooked. “That law has always been there and we never read it correctly. It appears that no one should ever have been carrying a firearm. I guess everyone figured that the intent was for those properties to be exempt and perhaps it was overlooked for that reason. When the penalty was elevated to a Class E felony, and it was brought to our attention by the folks over at DEC, we took a real close look at it and realized that there is a problem here,” Davis said.
Davis reminds the public that, “These properties are not state forests, they’re college campuses. They’re private lands held in trust for a state agency. So, they are considered college campuses under the law.
“We really don’t want to post the properties to ‘no hunting,’” he continued. “We certainly hope to correct this situation as quickly as possible and don’t want people to feel that we’re posting the property against hunting. But we’re trying to come up with some language that says ‘no firearms.’ We feel the legislators clearly intended to exempt these properties but the language was poorly chosen. It didn’t consider the fact that we don’t own these properties, they’re just held in trust for us.”