State officials came to Oswego Wednesday to talk about the nuts and bolts of the state’s new gun laws, but some people came to the meeting to complain about the law itself.
A large crowd at the Armory in Oswego came with questions about the law, which was passed quickly by the state Legislature as a reaction to the shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. A panel of state officials had some of the answers, but referred to a new hotline questions about whether specific guns will be legal under the new law.
But the audience saved its applause for protests against the law, called the SAFE Act.
Under the new law, the state will create a gun registration database, check to insure that people with mental problems do not own guns, ban certain types of weapons, restrict the number of bullets that can be in the clips that feed guns, close a loophole that makes it easy to sell weapons through private sales, and more.
Gun rights groups have argued that the law, which Governor Andrew Cuomo says is the toughest in the nation, is an unconstitutional overreaction to Sandy Hook. The Governor is sending state officials — not the political leaders who approved the bill, but the managers who will implement it — across the state to meet with angry gun owners.
“I’m going to assume there’s an overwhelming majority of people here who have displeasure to voice with the statute, but the statute is what it is,” said Mike Green, executive deputy commissioner of Criminal Justice Services, who said that he was there to answer questions about how the law will work.
“Should 80 percent of us just get up and leave, because that’s the reason why we came here,” said one audience member to loud applause. “You just made New York safer for criminals and not for law abiding citizens. If they go to break the law, they’re going to go shoot 20 people in the school….the least of his concern is how many bullets he has in his clip.”
“We’re trampling all over the second amendment,” said another man, to applause. “It’s wrong what you’re doing here.”
“If you or anybody else feels the law is unconstitutional, you challenge it through the court system and if a court rules it’s unconstitutional, we will go forward on that basis,” said the official.
“There were a whole lot of Nazis who said, ‘We were just following orders’.” the audience member replied. “You guys are supposed to do the right thing. You’re supposed to know the difference between right and wrong.”
Another man, echoing complaints heard around the state about the measure, said that no matter what the officials told him, he felt the state was creating a database of guns so they could be seized someday.