HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Local towns and counties are protesting New York’s latest gun control law with non-binding resolutions in support of the Second Amendment.
Both Washington and Rensselaer counties have joined a growing list of municipalities, mostly rural and upstate, to make official proclamations against the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (NY SAFE Act), passed Jan. 15.
In a written release last week from the Rensselaer County Legislature, local Rep. Lester Goodermote said the new law "impacts law-abiding citizens and does little to disarm dangerous criminals or deal with the problems of the dangerously mentally ill."
The majority press release said the positive vote, which passed 14 to 4, was "in support of the Second Amendment and to state opposition to the NY SAFE Act." Legislators in the release said they had heard from constituents "outraged" by the state law and the impact on their constitutional rights.
The Hoosick Town Board unanimously passed a similar resolution last week, based on a bill from the Republican-controlled state Assembly. Both local state Assemblymen Tony Jordan and Steven McLaughlin have spoken out in opposition to the law, with McLaughlin apologizing earlier this month after saying Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini would "be proud" of the way the gun control measure was passed.
Hoosick’s resolution called the state law "rash [and] confusing" and an infringement on the constitutional right to bear arms, and called for less restrictive measures like better mental health, anti-bullying and enforcement of existing laws. The resolution ended by stating there’s "no proven corollary between firearm control and a reduction in crime."
According to the governor’s office, the NY SAFE Act’s key provisions include a requirement for mental health professionals to report when there’s reason to believe a patient is likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others, a stricter definition and ban on "assault weapons," regulations on ammunition clips and a limit of their capacity to seven rounds (down from a previous limit of 10), a requirement for re-certifying handgun permits every five years, and mandatory background checks, including on private sales.
The state law also stiffened the penalty for murder of a first responder, extended and strengthened Kendra’s Law (requiring mandatory outpatient treatment), a requirement for the surrender of weapons after an order of protection and the finding of a substantial risk by a court judge, and a requirement for "safe storage" of firearms in households where individuals live who have been convicted of a crime, involuntarily committed, or are subject to an order of protection.
The NY SAFE Act also increased the penalty for possession of a firearm on school grounds or a school bus and other prohibited acts under state law. After the law was passed, a frequently asked questions page was created online at www.governor.ny.gov
/2013/gun-reforms-faq, and a phone hotline was set up at 1-855-LAW-GUNS.