Capitol Confidential » Assembly after dark, jousting over SAFE Act

| March 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

As expected, the state Assembly’s debate on the Education, Labor and Family Assistance bill turned out to be one of the most heated in the daylong vote on the fiscal plan. The debate stretched for more than two and a half hours and featured references to Orwell’s “1984,” Santa Claus, Henry Ford and The Who.

As in the state Senate on Wednesday morning — when the same bill kicked off kumquatmania — the tweaks to the SAFE Act prompted some of the sharpest exchanges, beginning with Republican Steve McLaughlin fencing with Joe Lentol, who had defended the gun control law in the chamber when it was passed in January.

McLaughlin scoffed at the idea that the law allows 10 rounds in a magazine at a pistol range but not at home.

“I can practice defending my family with 10 rounds … but I can actually defend my family for real with seven rounds?,” he asked.

Lentol noted that his brother, an NRA member, was able to quickly replace empty magazines in his weapon, and suggested that anyone who worries about a lack of firepower might want to think about getting more guns.

“The lunacy of this thing has unraveled before our eyes,” McLaughlin said of the SAFE Act.

Lentol said that scores of bills had been passed by the chamber with the speed allowed by a message of necessity, which waives the three-day aging period for legislation. He added that chapter amendments had been made numerous times during his tenure — and the SAFE Act was no different.

“A mistake was made; the bill should have been clearer,” Lentol said of explicit exemption of law enforcement from the magazine limit.

As the debate ground on, McLaughlin’s office issued two press releases: one knocking the SAFE Act and another praising the increased school aid in the same budget measure — a sure sign that despite his desire to see the gun law repealed, he would vote aye for the ELFA bill.

Assemblyman Bill Nojay used his radio-ready tones to knock “the so-callled SAFE Act” and said that “despite the apparent ignorance of the Constitution displayed by the governor when he described these laws in the State of the State address, and despite the demagoguery of an increasingly erratic billionaire who could not be elected dog catcher north of the Bronx, the Second Amendment is not about hunting” — a reference to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has plunged millions into gun control campaigns.

“They may not teach this much anymore in many of our public schools, but the shots that were heard ’round the world at Lexington and Concord were fired because of the actions of an arrogant and disdainful government that attempted to confiscate and make illegal the firearms of the citizenry,” Nojay said.

The ELFA bill passed before midnight, 97-36, clearing the way for rapid approval of the TED bill 10 minutes later and the final Legislature & Judiciary bill immediately thereafter.

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Category: NY & CT Firearm News

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