Lawmakers, Gov. Cuomo Disagree On SAFE Act

ALBANY – The Empire State is still in flux when it comes to the NY SAFE Act and a subsequent cleanup bill.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Senate Republicans are under pressure from outraged upstate gun owners, and are working to scale back parts of the gun control regulations that were put into law in January.

However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have said they are not open to drastic changes in the law. Rather, they are looking for amendments.

“Everything is still in flux right now,” said Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean. “There are a lot of ideas being tossed around in the public arena. Many people want the entire law repealed, while the Governor says he just wants currently undefined amendments.”

Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County, have both been very vocal with their feelings regarding the gun law.

“The bill went too far in penalizing law-abiding firearms owners who aren’t causing the problem, and doesn’t go far enough to address the root causes of violent crimes,” Young said.

Goodell agrees, saying that the bill was rushed forward.

“It was rushed in an effort to take political advantage of public anger over the recent tragic events at the Sandy Hook (Elementary School) and Webster, and to ensure that New York state was the first state to address gun control following these tragic events,” Goodell said. “It was driven by political opportunism, rather than any real emergency.”

Since the act was passed in January, 34 counties throughout New York state have passed resolutions opposing the NY SAFE Act. An additional 17 counties have resolutions pending.

In Chautauqua County, a motion opposing the act was passed by legislators Feb. 27.

“Our liberty is being taken away one drop at a time, not as a ploy, but a little bit at a time,” said George Borrello, R-Irving. “At the end of the day, the constitution needs to be upheld and our rights need to be preserved, and that’s why I’m voting in favor of this.”

Already, two legal actions have begun, which challenge the law on constitutional grounds. And, because of errors in the original legislation, if no changes are made, police officers’ guns would be illegal. Additionally, written permission would be necessary for police to go on school grounds with a loaded weapon. And, the law could stop the production of violent television shows and movies from being made in New York.

For now, though, Young said the law is still being discussed.

“I strongly believe that responsible, law-abiding firearms owners should not be penalized,” Young said. “We will have to see what the governor would agree to.”