March 14, 2013

Legislators call for repeal on gun law

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County legislators listened to constituents and unanimously supported a resolution calling for the state’s new gun law to be repealed.

“I think we have a greater chance of being heard if this gets unanimous support,” Legislator Harry McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain) told his fellow legislators before Wednesday night’s vote.

The resolution the legislature approved called for a repeal of the law known as the NY SAFE Act of 2013, and or amending some provisions of it.

The law was quickly approved by the State Legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 15. It calls for much stricter definitions of assault weapons and a ban on those firearms; requires mental-health professionals to report to local officials when they suspect a person may engage in conduct that could cause serious harm to themselves or others; and limits the capacity of gun magazines, among other provisions.

The law has since sparked wide debate across the state, especially in Upstate where many are opposed.

As of Tuesday, 51 of 62 counties passed resolutions opposing the law or asking for revisions.

On Monday, about 40 people attended the legislature’s Public Safety Committee meeting and strongly asked legislators to support repeal of the law.

The committee agreed, changing their initial resolution from asking for reconsideration to asking for repeal and or an amendment to some provisions.

More than 100 showed up Wednesday night at the legislature’s regular meeting to once again voice opposition. In about 90 minutes, two dozen people spoke against the law and two spoke in favor of it.

Gary Barrett of Plattsburgh said cars and alcohol kill more people than guns do each year, and yet no background investigation is required to purchase those items.

“Maybe we’ll need to do background checks to buy gasoline,” he said.

Ed Duda of Champlain said the new law is far too prohibitive for law-abiding gun owners.

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