Hawley not happy to see SAFE Act repeal shot down in committee

Posted 23 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Assemblyman says Assembly majority holding other key legislation in committee

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said the Assembly Majority Codes Committee killed two bills that would have repealed the unconstitutional SAFE Act.

Despite an impressive showing from pro-Second Amendment sportsmen, members of the Assembly Majority killed two bills sponsored by Hawley, A.2651 and A.3350, that would have repealed the NY SAFE Act, which was passed controversially in 2013, Hawley said.

The SAFE Act continues to violate New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights, Hawley said, and was irresponsibly jammed though the Legislature in the middle of the night as a political stunt by Gov. Cuomo.

“I have, and always will be, a supporter of the Second Amendment,” Hawley said. “Any legislation that takes away a law-abiding citizen’s ability to possess firearms is an unconstitutional act of government tyranny. I am from a rural district in Western New York and my experience with gun owners has been exemplary.

“Most gun owners are responsible hunters or firearm enthusiasts, and to prohibit them from adequately protecting themselves or their families is indefensible and governmentally oppressive. New Yorkers, in no way wanted this bill to become law, that is why it was rushed through the process in the middle of the night using a message of necessity. A truly fair and transparent government would allow this bill to come to the floor for a vote, but apparently that is not how New York functions.”

Hawley also criticized Assembly Majority members of the Governmental Operations Committee for voting to reject Assembly Bill 520 rather than sending it to the floor for a vote. This legislation, championed by Assembly Minority Leader Brain M. Kolb (R-Canandaigua), would establish lifetime mandatory supervision requirements and prohibit good behavior sentence reductions for those convicted of certain violent crimes.

Hawley said this law is necessary to protect New York’s women from violent predators who have a high propensity to commit serious crimes even after completing their prison sentences.

“It is a mistake for this legislation to be held in committee,” Hawley said. “Unfortunately, there have been numerous tragic cases where women have been victimized because their assailants were released from prison unsupervised. Each day that this legislation sits dormant we run the risk of another sister, mother, wife or daughter becoming a victim of a violent crime. That is a risk we should not be willing to take. It is disgraceful that members of the Assembly Majority do not have the same regard for the safety of women as I do.”

Hawley also blamed Assembly Majority members for keeping legislation on higher education in the committee rather than bringing it to the floor for a vote. In 2009, Hawley introduced Assembly Bill 3093, which seeks to provide free college tuition and expenses for dependent family members of military personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Assembly Majority has never allowed this bill to leave committee and come before the entire house for a vote.

“I am discouraged by today’s committee vote,” Hawley said. “As a veteran, I know the personal and financial struggles of children who lose their parents in the line of duty. This legislation would lift some of the financial burden that comes with attending college and allow military families more freedom in pursuing their educational aspirations. We owe it to those who have paid the ultimate price to assist their loved ones in any way we can. It is disappointing that Assembly Majority members do not feel the same urgency to support those who sacrificed their lives for us.”