Press-Republican

Wednesday

March 13, 2013

Residents oppose new state gun law

About 40 turn out for Clinton County Committee meeting

PLATTSBURGH — If Monday’s Public Safety Committee meeting is any indication, many people in Clinton County are opposed to the state’s new gun law.

County legislators are ready to back them up by sending a strongly worded resolution to Albany.

“The way it was done was manipulative,” Public Safety Committee Chairman Robert Butler (R-Area 6, Saranac) said about the new law, known as the NY SAFE Act of 2013.

“You can’t take input away from the citizens.”

FAST PASSAGE

The law was quickly approved by the State Legislature and signed into law Jan. 15 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A Marist poll done soon after the law passed found that 41 percent of New Yorkers thought it was “about right,” 30 percent said it went too far, and 19 percent felt it didn’t go far enough. 

As of Tuesday, according to www.nysaferesolutions.com, 51 of 62 counties had passed resolutions either opposing the legislation or asking for changes to its provisions. 

The bill imposes a much stricter definition 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.

ALLOWING INPUT

About 40 people packed the Legislative Chambers to let the committee know how they felt.

Normally, members of the public do not attend committee meetings or address legislators at them. But Butler said he felt it was important for those on hand Monday night to be heard.

“This is exactly what they are upset about; there was no public input for this law, and they want to be heard, and they should be,” he said.

Over about an hour, 16 people spoke strongly against the law, asking the committee to forward a resolution to the full County Legislature that asks Albany to repeal the SAFE Act.

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