Ortt takes heat from gun rights group for supporting state budget

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Rob Ortt speaks at a gun rights rally in Albion on Sept. 8.

Rob Ortt made fighting the SAFE Act a rallying cry while he was campaigning for State Senate last year.

Ortt was elected to his first term in November. He voted for his first state budget on Tuesday and his “yes” vote has angered Second Amendment Rights advocates because the budget includes money to enforce the SAFE Act.

“Words cannot fully describe how infuriated I am with your budget vote,” Mattie Zarpentine, New York Revolution Regional Director, writes to Ortt today.

Zarpentine, in her letter to Ortt, said he has met with members of SCOPE and issued many statements about opposition to the SAFE Act.

“Now, we have this disaster of a budget of which you say you are ‘pleased with the finished product,'” Zarpentine said in her letter.

“Mr. Ortt, you lied to your constituents. More importantly, and shamefully, you violated the Constitution by voting to fund the unconstitutional SAFE Act in both the capital projects bill and state operations bill,” said Zarpentine of Holley.

Ortt acknowledged the criticism in a Facebook post today, explaining his decision to support the budget.

“As a new State Senator, my first piece of legislation was signing on to a bill to repeal the SAFE Act,” Ortt writes. “In this budget, the Senate eliminated $7 million in the executive budget that was dedicated to establishing a pistol registration database. I am currently signed on to seven bills to roll back or outright repeal the SAFE Act, because as I’ve said, the SAFE Act was an unconstitutional infringement upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. I’m a combat veteran who fought for our rights abroad and I intend to defend them here at home as well.

“I disagree with the sentiment that we should have shut down government and defunded State Police, counterterrorism, and emergency services. The effects of such a drastic action would have been incomprehensible. I simply wasn’t willing to put people’s lives at risk in order to score political points with the governor.

“I will continue to fight the Governor and liberal New York City efforts to take away our guns and restrict our rights. There’s currently legislation to require gunowners to be tested. There’s a serious push to force ineffective micro-stamping requirements onto manufacturers and gunowners. And there are several bill mandating storage, which will financially burden gun owners while threatening their family’s safety. There’s even a bill that adds to the CoBIS ballistics database – the same CoBIS database that the state abandoned three years ago! These are the measures that the Governor and Assembly are trying to get passed. So in addition to fighting to repeal the SAFE Act, we need to also remain focused on these – and similar – dangerous pieces of legislation.”

Zarpentine, in her letter, said she would encourage other candidates to run against the Republican state senators who voted for the budget.

“You not only lied to the people in writing, but also in person…face-to-face,” Zarpentine writes to Ortt. “You, and the Senate, have done nothing but further entrench the distrust of politicians and Albany politics. I was active in encouraging people to be a part of the process – to vote and engage with their lawmakers. I no longer know what to tell people other than to start looking for candidates to run against those who betrayed us.”