Orleans Legislature backs resolution for state to limit SAFE Act to NYC

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2017 at 9:01 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Robert Ortt speaks against the SAFE Act during a rally in Albion on Sept. 8, 2014. About 200 people attended that event outside a gun shop on Hamilton Street.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature went on the record Wednesday in support of partially repealing the SAFE Act and limiting the gun control legislation to New York City.

The SAFE Act was passed in January 2013 and remains bitterly opposed by many in Orleans County, who see the law as an infringement on Second Amendment rights.

The law, however, has been upheld in court and remains very popular in New York City. (Courts did find the seven-round firearm magazine limit to be unconstitutional.)

State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, is sponsoring legislation that would be a partial repeal.

“This bill seeks to reestablish the rights of law abiding citizens’ in rural and suburban areas of the state by limiting the application of the SAFE Act to Kings, Queens, Richmond, New York, and the Bronx,” according to the legislation. Click here to see Senate bill S879B.

County legislators passed a resolution that was critical of the governor and the State Legislature for rushing the SAFE Act into passage in January 2013, and for approving legislation that county legislators say infringes on the right to bear arms.

The SAFE Act also has a detrimental impact on recreational benefits of gun ownership for people who enjoy hunting and target shooting, county legislators said in the resolution.

Legislators said the SAFE Act has resulted in additional costs on Sheriff Departments, County Clerk’s Offices and County Judges.

There are about 5,000 pistol permit holders in Orleans County. The law-abiding gun owners have to verify ownership of certain types of firearms every five years, in addition to registering them on permits, which is “unnecessarily burdensome,” legislators said.

County legislators also stated they support removing state funds for enforcement of the SAFE Act.

Legislators did say the SAFE Act has some good points, such as the strengthening Kendra’s Law and Marks’s Law, as well as privacy protections for lawful permit holders.

However, “we find the legislation fails to offer little meaningful solutions to gun violence and places undue burdens where they don’t belong, squarely on the backs of law-abiding citizens,” the resolution states.

County Legislator Don Allport, R-Gaines, said the partial repeal of the SAFE Act would be “a step in the right direction.”

Because New York City strongly supports the SAFE Act, Allport said that part of the state should be able to keep the legislation.

David Thom, chairman of the Orleans County Chapter of the Scope Committee On Political Education (SCOPE), told county legislators that SCOPE’s ultimate goal would be a total repeal of the SAFE Act for all of New York.

County legislators approved two other resolutions about state issues on Wednesday:

• One resolution called for the state to increase the share of revenue for county DMVs. Right now local Department of Motor Vehicles provide customer service and process many no-fee transactions for the state. The current law gives the state 87.3 percent of all fees collected by county-operated DMVs, with 12.7 percent going to the counties. That percentage hasn’t changed since 1999.

• The County Legislature also approved a resolution urging the state to fully fund the costs for probation and other county departments associated with raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18. Gov. Cuomo wants to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. That would require more work for probation to provide diversion services. Other county departments could see an increase in juvenile detention and community support services, according to the County Legislature.

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