SAFE Act should be amended to be consistent with Constitution

Posted 1 October 2013 at 12:00 am


The New York S.A.F.E. Law underscores the divide between upstate and downstate.In our area we generally view the clearly Constitutional right to own arms from a different perspective than many living in more densely populated areas. Led by S.C.O.P.E. and The New York Revolution, strong opposition to the S.A.F.E. Act has been voiced.

This is as it should be.The citizens of a democracy have an obligation to make their casesand a right to do so. It is particularly important before politicians act. Spirited opposition to the S.A.F.E. Act suggests that there is still some life left in a democracy where 20 percent voter turnout is common.

Nonetheless, though people differ widely on many issues, the United States is a democracy. We have Constitutionally-protected recourse through elections, as well as the courts. Our Founders had fewer peaceful options in Revolutionary America.

Yard signs make it clear that many Orleans residents want the S.A.F.E. Act repealed. In order to do so, a reversal would have to be so thorough that the Governor’s veto of a repeal measure would be overridden.That would require a 2/3 vote of both the State Senate and the State Assembly.

I have read all 39 pages of the S.A.F.E Law. In my view, it should be amended to be consistent with the U.S. Constitution. Some of its biggest problems relate to Amendments 4, 5, and 9. These relate to such things as privacy, due process, just compensation, inheritance, and possession of arms. The law, itself, appears to anticipate successful court challenges.

In times when we are tempted to trade liberty for security, we need to be doubly vigilant.Defending the entire Constitution consistently is something that is in the interests of all Americans.As a famous American patriot once noted, “Those who would sacrifice liberty for security, in the end will have neither.”

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

(Kent is a candidate for Orleans County Legislature, running under the Democratic Party and “Save Our Nursing Home” lines.)