Tag Archives: TompkinsCounty

SAFE Act resolution to get full Tompkins Legislature vote

 County lawmakers seeking amendments to N.Y. gun control law

At a special meeting Wednesday night, the lawmakers in attendance from the Public Safety Committee voted to send a resolution introduced by Mike Lane, D-Dryden, to the full legislature.

Lane’s resolution asks the state to solicit concerns about the gun control law from the public, analyze recommendations they receive and consider changes to the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act to eliminate provisions that are unlikely to decrease gun violence and likely to burden law-abiding gun owners.

Like other county meetings on the topic, Wednesday’s event was packed beyond capacity. During public comments, more speakers came out against the NY SAFE Act than in favor of it, but there were a range of opinions expressed.

County lawmakers spent the rest of the meeting discussing different positions the municipality could take on the law.

Though the legislature is controlled by a strong Democratic majority, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have discussed amendments they would like to see.

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Highlights of the March 19, 2013 meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature

Citizens Speak Out on New York SAFE Act; Legislators Call Special Public Safety Meeting Next Week to Examine the Issue

The Tompkins County Legislature listened to nearly three hours of public comment regarding the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (more commonly known as the SAFE Act), and decided to examine the issue at a special meeting of its Public Safety Committee next week before weighing in on the new law, which prompted comments both against and in support before Legislators tonight.

At what may have been a record in recent history for public turnout and comment before the Legislature, more than 200 citizens turned out, filling the Legislature Chambers and overflowing into the Main Courtroom at the County Courthouse. Of them, 59 people spoke—about two thirds (37) urging repeal of the Act and about one-third (22) in support. Opponents faulted both the new law itself—which they maintained is a misguided attempt that infringes upon law-abiding citizens’ rights—and the way it was rushed through to passage without public input. They said it’s time for Tompkins County to join nearly every other upstate county in opposing the law. Supporters said reasonable gun control measures are needed in New York State to reduce gun violence and, while the SAFE Act may not be perfect, it is a start. Legislator after legislator thanked those who turned out for their reasoned, passionate, and mutually respectful comments. Legislators praised it as a valuable and impressive educational session, and said they learned a lot.

A member-filed resolution from Legislator Dave McKenna, would put the Legislature on record opposing both the SAFE Act, which has imposed new regulations on gun possession and sales in New York State, and what it calls “the flawed process by which it was enacted and urges that it be replaced with “more sensible legislation.” With Mr. McKenna’s resolution and perhaps as many as four alternates in process advanced as potential alternatives and the volume of concerned public comment, Legislator Peter Stein, vice chair of the Public Safety Committee noted that “this is a very complicated issue, and I think it’s very important for us to get it right,” and he urged that the matter be referred to the Public Safety Committee to go through Legislature’s normal committee process. Others agreed that’s important for the sake of transparency and thorough examination, which many critics of the law said did not happen at the State level. The proposal to refer to committee was approved by a 10-3 vote, with Legislators McKenna, Frank Proto, and Public Safety Chair Brian Robison voting no, and Legislator Pam Mackesey excused.

Committee Chair Robison said it’s important to move forward without delay so that the matter could come before the full Legislature at its next meeting. The special meeting is scheduled Wednesday, March 27, beginning at 4:00 p.m., location to be announced. Robison said, “I am hopeful that this does not in the end turn out to be a partisan issue, because this is not a partisan issue. We are going to vote on this issue, one way or another.”

Contact: Legislator David McKenna, 564-7243; Brian Robison, Chair, Public Safety Committee, 351-3601.

PDF: Highlights of the March 19, 2013 meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature

Tompkins Lawmakers Delay Vote on Gun Law Repeal After Packed Public Hearing

Tompkins County lawmakers have tabled action on vote calling on State Lawmakers to repeal the New York Safe Act which established tighter gun restrictions Statewide.

More than 200 people packed the Tompkins County legislative session last night, many of those individuals were there in support of the repeal. The overflow crowd spilled out of the legislative chambers and into the County courtroom one floor below.

59 people spoke during the nearly 3 hour public comment period, 37 speakers urged the County Legislature to endorse the resolution to repeal the revised gun laws, while 22 people spoke in support of the new gun laws adopted back in January.

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Guest Viewpoint: N.Y. infringes on gun owners, mentally ill

As the executive director of The Mental Health Association in Tompkins County, a concealed-carry pistol permit license holder in New York, a lifelong resident of New York, a lifetime member of the North American Hunting Club, and a lifetime sportsman license holder in New York, I am appalled by the NY SAFE Act.

My official position as the executive director is that this new law has effectively removed many of the rights of the mentally ill. Thousands of people now must consider risking revocation or suspension of civil liberties in regard to gun ownership/hunting and mental health treatment. A veteran of the U.S. military who returns from overseas with PTSD or some other mental illness will be told that he or she can no longer possess weapons or ammunition? This new law suggests that all individuals who suffer from mental illness are criminals. The truth is that persons with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of crime than they are to perpetrate it.

Extending Kendra’s Law increased the amount of time that individuals can be forced into treatment for their mental illness. Many clinicians are reluctant to hospitalize or force treatment of individuals against their will because they’re sensitive to the individual’s rights. By extending that time period to a year, clinicians could be wearier[sic] than they were before.

This new law is so immoral, unethical and discriminating that I’m ashamed to say I live here.

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