Legislature poised to call for repeal of Cuomo’s gun control law | The Batavian

| February 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

Legislature poised to call for repeal of Cuomo's gun control law | The Batavian.

Submitted by Howard Owens on February 20, 2013 – 2:40pm

There is growing opposition in Upstate New York to the hastily passed SAFE Act and the Genesee County Legislature is about to join the growing course of jeers.

The Legislature will vote on a resolution next week calling for repeal of the law, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed through with little public notice following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

“This has tremendous implications for those of us who are gun owners and support the Second Amendment, so I hope somebody is listening to us,” said Legislature Ray Cianfrini, who chaired the Public Service Committee meeting last night, where the resolution was introduced.

County Clerk Don Read (top photo) spoke in favor of the resolution and noted that since the first of the year his office has been flooded with requests for hand gun permits and that over the past few days, people have been lining up to opt-out of public disclosure of permit information.

Typically, Read said, his office can expect about 20 applications in winter months for pistol permits. In January, his office received 65 applications.

“I don’t see how we can continue to keep up the pace,” Read said. “It is already wearing down the staff. The tension and stress of having lines go out the door has really been difficult.”

Robert Kowalski (inset photo) said he came to the Legislature as a concerned citizen and asked that local lawmakers bring political pressure to get the SAFE Act revised or repealed.

“I feel it’s unconstitutional and will do nothing to deter crime,” Kowalski said.

Cianfrini said he found three problems with the legislation: First, it was rushed through (the 25,000 word bill was given to legislators for the first time an hour before the vote); second, the normal minimum three-day review period for a bill was wavied (which Cianfrini thinks will be challenged in court); and, the law could be unconstitutional.

“I don’t know how else to say it: It was shoved down our throats,” Cianfrini said.

(For an explanation of the SAFE Act, click here).

Read agreed that the new law was rushed through.

“The law was put together in a haphazard, over-the-weekend process,” Read said. “(Sen.) Mike Ranzenhofer and (Assemblyman) Steve Hawley both said how upset they were that all they could do was vote no. They had no say over the law, no ability to amend, nothing to do with the process.”

Assuming the Legislature passes the resolution calling for repeal of the SAFE Act, Genesee County would become at least the 22nd county to oppose the legislation.

Sheriffs, county clerks and even public health officials across the state have taken stands against the bill.

One thing the SAFE Act did do that many gun owners support is create the ability for citizens to ask that their pistol permit information be kept confidential.

Currently, pistol permits are public record. For the next 120 days, people can file requests with county clerks to opt-out of disclosure of their permit data.

Those who fail to meet the deadline will still have their records made public upon request through the Freedom of Information Law.

Read said he’s already received a FOIL request for permit holders names and addresses from one anti-gun web site. He said he plans to oppose the request, which he believes will be supported by County Attorney.

Read believes he can withhold the information under FOIL exemptions for “an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” and “if disclosed could endanger the life or safety of any person.”

If Read does oppose the release, he said he would expect the matter to be taken to court.

Pistol permits should not be public record, Read said.

“I don’t see why these people should be singled out any more than, say, give me a list of all the motor vehicle owned who have SUVs,” Read said. “Motor vehicle records are considered confidential. We can’t give you any information on the number of vehicles resisted in New York State or the names and addresses of motor vehicle registrants. I don’t see why (gun owners) should be singled out.”

NOTE: Kowalski has created a petiton for people to sign and be included with the resolution and sent to Albany. To download a PDF of the petition, click here. Download the petition, get people to sign it and then deliver it to the Old Courthouse.

Category: NY & CT Firearm News

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