Taking aim at the Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent attempt at gun control, a multipartisan group of Erie County Legislators introduced a bill Monday calling on state leaders to repeal the NY SAFE Act. If the measure can gain enough attention, it may help reset the stage for this debate.
Independence member Lynne Dixon joined her Republican colleagues Ed Rath, Kevin Hardwick and John Mills and Conservative member Joe Lorigo in proposing the call for repeal. If it passes, Erie County will join legislative colleagues in Jefferson, Oswego and Ulster counties in a growing chorus of lawmakers asking Albany to repeal and re-consider the New York SAFE Act of 2013.
So far, this choir is the only hope for Second Amendment enthusiasts to roll back Cuomo's gun law.
The legislation appears crafted to represent the various interests of its sponsors while carefully avoiding upsetting pragmatic constituents. The bill opens criticizing the lack of transparency and abundance of speed in the passage process of the NY SAFE Act, then quickly gets to the meat and potatoes of what has it's authors so annoyed: "[The Law appears] to be knee jerk reactions made without the benefit of appropriate contemplation at best, or, at worst, disingenuous fee grabs cloaked as security measures."
Still, the bill gives credit to where it is due and gives the impression that the legislators don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. They are complimentary and supportive of the "Webster Provision," which establishes stiffer penalties for those who commit violent crimes against first responders. Legislators also back efforts to protect the privacy of gun owners, keep guns from the mental ill, and ensure safe weapon storage. However, they dismiss most of the provisions as regulations that won't take guns away from criminals nor reduce the number of people who commit gun crimes while still burdening law abiding gun owners.
The bill closes with a firm commitment to the principles of the Second Amendment and calls on state leaders to repeal and reform the law: "the New York SAFE Act should be repealed, revisited, carefully considered, revised and implemented in a manner that is respectful of the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers." No mincing words there.
Even though action on this will not change anything, it will definitely be the most interesting action of the Erie County Legislature thus far this year. Democrats in the body have a difficult decision to make: Do they toe the party line or vote to make Erie the first major county to tell Albany's elite they failed and should go back to the drawing board?
Sources in the legislature tell us the bill currently needs just one more vote to pass. Legislators will have their first opportunity to vote on the bill at their next session, scheduled for Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2pm in their chambers in Old County Hall. The meeting is open to the public.