Big Onondaga County crowd turns out against SAFE Act | syracuse.com

| March 5, 2013 | 0 Comments

 

At 6:45 p.m., the last few dozen people were still waiting to get
through security to attend a 6 p.m. meeting at the Onondaga County
Courthouse about the new New York law that restricts certain types of
gun ownership.

More than 400 people — most of whom clearly opposed the SAFE Act —
packed the county Legislature chamber tonight for a public hearing to
discuss a proposed county resolution opposing the law. “I’ve never
seen so many people in the chamber,” said Ryan McMahon, chairman of
the Legislature.

John Balloni, chief deputy from the sheriff’s office, received a long
and thunderous applause from the crowd when he finishing speaking
against the law. Scott Armstrong, a certified firearms instructor
from East Syracuse, said the law is a “direct infringement on civil
rights and common sense.” He, too, received long applause, prompting
McMahon to ask the crowd to hold down the noise.

Several legislators and other speakers said they were concerned that
the law could impose new costs on localities. Armstrong, the firearms
instructor, noted that the sheriff’s office already has a 14- to
15-month delay in processing pistol permits. Under the new law,
permits will expire in five years rather than lasting a lifetime,
vastly increasing the manpower costs of processing, he said.

The new law, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Jan. 15, sets a
seven-bullet limit on magazines, tightens the definition of illegal
“assault weapons” and requires owners of formerly legal
semi-automatic guns to register them.

While waiting outside the building to get in, Angelo Abboud, of
DeWitt, said his family shoots together at a firing range. “It’s a
family activity. It’s a good way to bond,” he said. All the guns
they use — including his 8-year-old daughter’s .22-caliber rifle —
have been outlawed under the SAFE Act. Abboud said his daughter’s gun
has a pistol grip for her small hand and a 10-round magazine, and she
uses a bipod to aim — all accessories that qualify the gun as an
illegal military-style assault weapon under the law.

The mood in the chamber was anti-government. Several people said most
gun owners will not comply with the law. They recalled previous times
in history when citizens resisted unjust government. Speaker David
Gay, addressing the legislators, urged Onondaga County officials not
to enforce the law if it remains on the books.

After one speaker mentioned attending a meeting with Assemblyman Al
Stirpe, D-Cicero, the room erupted in booing. Stirpe voted for the SAFE Act.

Rachel Newpert, of North Syracuse, echoed a concern expressed by many
that the law was passed without sufficient public debate. She
received a standing ovation when she reminded lawmakers: “We will not
forget when Election Day comes.”

Among the public officials in attendance: Former U.S. Rep. Ann Marie
Buerkle, R-Onondaga Hill, and Helen Hudson, Syracuse
councilor-at-large and a Democrat.

Nearly two hours into the meeting, the first speaker to support
greater gun control went to the podium. Bill Andrews, of Syracuse, a
former city councilor and county legislator, was received with
murmurs and heckling when he said “We need to do everything we can to
restrict the sale of guns.” Only after Andrews said he had served in
the Army infantry during World War II did he receive applause.
Andrews said he has long been a gun owner, but he advised those who
wish to protect their homes to get a burglar alarm or “a good dog.”

The county Legislature is expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution
opposing the law. More than 30 other counties have passed similar resolutions.

Big Onondaga County crowd turns out against SAFE Act | syracuse.com.

Category: NY & CT Firearm News

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