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April 19, 2014

Locals react to NY SAFE Act ruling

PLATTSBURGH — State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara has dismissed a challenge to the New York SAFE Act that, in part, argued that the measure was rushed through the State Legislature.

Mary Vann, who owns Vann’s Guns & Reloads in Plattsburgh, agrees with the assertion that the decision was too hasty.

“I think that’s why half the legislators stood up and had such a fit the day it passed because it was hoisted on people by surprise,” she said.

The challenge, which had been filed by attorney Robert Schulz and more than 1,000 co-plaintiffs, also said the gun-control measure clashed with state and federal constitutional protections of gun rights. 

The decision, handed down earlier this week, is expected to be appealed. 

‘RISK OF CONFISCATION

In his ruling, McNamara noted that gun rights have limits and are open to “reasonable government restrictions.”

Malone resident Michael Fournier said he wasn’t surprised by the ruling, given what he called the vindictive nature of the state government under Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But Fournier warned that the risk of those government restrictions changing from reasonable to dangerous was still present.

The act, in part, requires owners of various semi-automatic firearms to register them with state authorities. 

Fournier said the registry has the potential to cause conflict if legislators should ever allow authorities to confiscate those weapons.

“What do you think is going to happen if they decide, ‘Okay, we know where these guns are, and if they don’t turn them in, we’re going to kick down doors?’”

That concept is “nuts,” said Paul Johnson of Peru, who applauded the judge’s ruling.

“When the anti-SAFE Act lobby argues that citizens need sufficient arms to do battle with their own government, beginning with our local law-enforcement officers, then they recognize no limits of any kind,” he said.

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