Town of Wilton resolution opposing the NY SAFE Act

Passed unanimously March 7th


March 7, 2013

Supervisor Johnson asked if anyone signed up for public comment.

Rob Arrigo said he is here tonight to encourage the Town Board to adopt the Saratoga County Resolution in regards to the New York SAFE Act that was passed at the last County Board meeting. It is important when dealing with the situation that we not allow emotions to rule the day but instead have rational coherent thought be triumphant over an emotional reaction or response. When you look at the statistics on gun crime and what the New York State Act is trying to accomplish, the fact is a majority of gun crimes are not committed with AR-15 rifles; they are committed with other types of firearms. In 2011, according to the FBI, less than five homicides in New York State were a result of an AR-15 style rifle. If the intention is to reduce gun violence, please explain how, statistically, it is possible to reduce gun violence by banning AR-15. People think this is about guns and gun rights. It is not. There is no such thing as gun rights, only individual rights. We have individual rights, the right to speak, the right to publish what we speak, the right to a trial by jury and also the right to self-defense. It is incumbent upon the board to protect the people of Wilton and their individual rights at all time. Governor Cuomo and the press will tell you that the majority of people support this legislation in New York State therefore it was the right thing to do. That would be true in a democracy but we don’t live in a democracy. We live in a republic. When I pledge allegiance it isn’t to any democracy. It is to the Republic of the United States of America. In a republic, the majority cannot take away the rights of the minority whether the majority is 99% or 51%. It is again, incumbent upon the board and the people to stand up against a majority trying to take away the rights of a minority.

Nancy Gatland said she is asking the board not to pass the resolution for the SAFE Act. How many of our children have to die? How many of our innocent sons, daughter, husbands, wives and people in the street have to be shot and killed in the name of an amendment that was never meant that everyone should have guns, assault rifles and etc.? Since when do hunters use assault rifles to kill a deer? If I am in the minority about this, I don’t care. I only care that we can be safe in our homes, we can safe on the streets and we can be safe in our own neighborhoods. We do not need everyone to have a gun. How many times do you read in the paper that somebody shot a wife, a husband or a child was killed because someone picked up a gun in the house? We don’t need these guns.


Deputy Supervisor Rice said he receive a lot of feedback, some of the most meaningful was from the Saratoga County PBA and the Sheriffs, themselves. Sheriff Bowen spoke of his opposition, as Chief Law Enforcement of Saratoga County, to the Act but as he will uphold it but doesn’t have the manpower or the resources to do it. Sheriff Bowen said he wouldn’t oppose the New York State Police coming in and enforcing the Act. The PBA was strongly opposed on several levels. Deputy Supervisor Rice said he the town usually isn’t the level to deal with this issue. It is not something the town votes on and any vote taken on a resolution is more symbolic than anything. The reaction across the state on town, village and city levels is amazing. It seems to be getting the attention of the legislature. Governor Cuomo is going to meet with the legislature on Monday to begin dialog about some changes that can happen to the law. He said he felt it was appropriate and there has been a lot of feedback from both sides but the majority is from people that oppose the act. The opposition was the process was flawed by having a midnight meeting where it was settled without public input and dialog. Even supporters of the bill would argue the process. He said this is why he felt compelled to have this on the agenda.

On a motion introduced by Deputy Supervisor Rice, the board adopted the following resolution:


WHEREAS, the Wilton Town Board endorses and upholds the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 (A.2388/S.2230) was rushed to passage in the State Legislature through a flawed process that excluded input from concerned citizens; and

WHEREAS, implementation of the SAFE Act will also require investment of state resources that could otherwise be used to promote other criminal justice initiatives that keep our residents safe and

WHEREAS, the SAFE Act would criminalize law-abiding citizens, including police officers, who are the responsible owners of certain firearms and magazines that were included in the law; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Wilton Town Board opposes the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 and the flawed process by which it was enacted, including Governor Cuomo’s Message of Necessity which limited debate and input from concerned citizens; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Wilton Town Board requests that the SAFE Act be repealed and replaced with more sensible legislation that does not infringe upon Second Amendment rights, does not create unfunded mandates on county governments, addresses issues including mental illness and deterring violent crime, and includes full input from the public; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Wilton Town Board forward a certified copy of this Resolution to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Temporary Presidents of the Senate Jeffrey D. Klein and Dean G. Skelos, Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the county’s representatives in the New York State
Senate and Assembly.

The adoption of the resolution was seconded by Councilman Pulsifer, duly put to a vote, all in favor.

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