Over 200 people attend gun law meeting
PENN YAN—Over 200 people attended an informational meeting about the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act at the Penn Yan Elks Lodge, Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The event was sponsored by the Yates County chapter of Shooter’s Committee on Political Education. The presenters were opposed to various parts, if not all, of the SAFE Act. Sheriff Ron Spike spoke about how the law affects ownership of firearms. Assemblymen Tom O-Mara (R,C-Big Flats), Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning), and Bill Nojay (R,I-Pittsford) talked about how the legislation passed. SCOPE is also organizing a trip to Albany, Thursday, Feb. 28, in protest of the new gun law.
“We do not have a firearm safety problem,” said Keith Kappel, SCOPE board member.
According to Federal Bureau of Investigations, there were 774 homicides in New York state in 2011. Of those, Kappel said 445 involved guns. He added only five deaths involved rifles.
He also said the media focus is on the 2.5 percent of people that commit crimes with guns and not on the vast majority of people who responsibly use firearms.
“It’s totally infringing on the Second Amendment,” said Palmesano. “Nothing (in the bill) will keep guns out of the hands of criminals. To take an issue like that and turn it around for a political purpose is appalling.”
Palmesano added the best way to fight against the law now is through lawsuits. Spike explained there are at least two lawsuits filed, Jan. 30 and Feb. 1, in the state against the SAFE Act.
“I hope this thing has awoken a sleeping giant,” said Spike.
The speakers addressed the speed in which the state bill was passed. O’Mara said, “it didn’t even give us a chance to get your input.” He added they first received a hard copy of the legislation half an hour before it was presented on the floor of the state senate.
O’Mara commented on some of the provisions of the new bill, including limiting the number of rounds in a magazine from 10 to seven. He said the only reason Gov. Andrew Cuomo went with seven is because “it’s a little further than anyone else.” He added even President Barack Obama is in favor of 10 rounds.
“If a high capacity clip is such a problem, why is it OK to go over the border and sell it to our neighbors?” said O’Mara.
Spike presented a summary of how the new law affects gun owners, including the ban on future assault weapon ownership. He discussed how the definition of an assault weapon was changed to a one-feature test. He added the definition is different for rifles, shotguns and pistols.
“Many of us have this type of weapon,” said Spike. The definition is one change he said the New York State Sheriffs Association wants. Spike explained it is too broad.
He also said the law should not require the state to inspect school safety plans. Spike explained the sheriff’s department already does this on the local level.
“I believe based on my years of law enforcement experience that this will not decrease gun violence,” said Spike. “It will unfairly limit the ability of law abiding people, which we all are here, to purchase firearms.”