Press-Republican

March 8, 2013

Legislators oppose SAFE Act

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — Franklin County legislators have taken a stand against the state’s new gun law and may spell out the changes they’d like to see in a future resolution.

Legislators voted unanimously Thursday to oppose the Safe Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE Act) and to assure the hundreds of people who have called them in the past two weeks that they would take action.

Residents will have more chances to comment in the coming days.

Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill is hosting an informational session on the gun law at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Malone Middle School, and the Franklin County Federation of Fish and Game Clubs will discuss it at its next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, at Paul Smith’s College.

Mulverhill plans to hold a second session in Harrietstown, but the place and time had not been confirmed Thursday.

And Sunday, a community rally is set for 1 to 5 p.m. outside the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake, organized by fledgling group the Sons and Daughters of Liberty.

‘CONFUSING’

The resolution legislators adopted states the SAFE Act infringes upon a person’s right to keep and bear arms and that it was not discussed openly by the State Legislature before Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it into law.

It states lawful ownership of firearms “is and has been a valued tradition in Franklin County” and the region and state “derive economic and environmental benefits from all safe forms of recreation involving firearms, including but not limited to, hunting and target shooting.”

The county feels “this law is

detrimental and infringes upon the North Country way of life in hunting and sporting activities which have occurred in Franklin County for generations.”  

Legislators said the law caused policy changes that “have been left up to interpretation and are confusing” and “fails to offer any meaningful solutions to gun violence and places increased burdens where they do not belong, squarely on the backs of law-abiding citizens.”

‘A START’

Legislator Paul Maroun (R-Tupper Lake) wanted the resolution to include suggested changes to the law before the vote, but a compromise worked out among legislators may lead to the draft of a second resolution.

The possible changes may include opposition to the ammunition-clip limit and more discussion on mental-health issues and may ask for “the real reason for the five-year (pistol-permit) renewal,” he said.

“This is a start, to say we’re opposed, and he’ll just say, ‘I’m not going to repeal it’,” Maroun said of the governor. “But if we’ve got eight or nine reasons from our county people, we could really demonstrate it.”

He said 37 proposed amendments to the SAFE Act already exist at the state level.

Legislators may meet Thursday, March 14, to talk about details for a second resolution.

Email Denise A. Raymo: draymo@pressrepublican.com