County Legislature opposes proposal to ban gun raffles for fire departments
‘This could be devastating if they are not allowed,’ Dale Banker, Orleans County emergency management coordinator
ALBION – Orleans County legislators passed a formal resolution this afternoon opposing a proposal in the State Assembly to ban gun raffles as fundraisers.
Those gun raffles typically raise $10,000 or more for fire departments. Eight of the 11 departments in Orleans County do gun raffles each year. Shelby and Ridgeway do two of them a year.
Those raffles help pay for turn-out gear and other equipment for the fire departments, and also mean less money is needed in property taxes to support the fire departments.
“This could be very devastating if they are not allowed,” said Dale Banker, Orleans County emergency management coordinator and an Albion firefighter. “Without them it would raise taxes.”
Howard Watts, a member of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, said the gun raffles are an important fundraiser for the fire company.
“Tens of thousands of dollars would be lost if this goes through,” Watts said at the Legislature meeting.
Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, D-Brooklyn, has proposed a ban on using guns as a prize for games of chance. About 25 Assembly members, mostly from the New York City area, have signed on as co-sponsors of Bill A1413. The bill doesn’t have a sponsor yet in the Senate.
The bill’s memorandum says the legislation is appropriate because “firearm related violence is a significant public health and safety problem and weapons should not be given away in games of chance.”
Orleans County legislators said Bill A1413 is “tyranny” and “amounts to anecdotal grandstanding at the expense of real people carrying out real service to the community.”
Legislators said the State Legislature, with both the Assembly and Senate now under Democrat control, have joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo on an “assault on the rights and culture of upstate New York” at a “breakneck pace.”
Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson, R-Lyndonville, said she believes Orleans County is the first county to formally oppose Bill A1413.
“We want our firemen to know we support them 100 percent,” she said.