OSWEGO, NY – At a special meeting Thursday afternoon, the Oswego County Legislature’s Government Courts and Consumer Affairs Committee voted unanimously to send a resolution calling for the repeal of the NY SAFE Act to the full legislature for consideration next week.
The resolution was sponsored by Legislator Terry Wilbur, committee chairman.
It begins: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms is guaranteed as an individual right under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and the right of the people to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people of Oswego County.”
Wilbur said legislators object to the manner in which the new law was created.
“Somebody has to take a stand. A good time for the County Legislature to stand up for taxpayers’ rights,” the committee chairman said.
There are parts of the act they can go along with; such as Mark’s Law, to punish those who kill first responders, and Kendra’s law, he said.
But, “”They lumped it all together and passed it,” he pointed out.
“This resolution (by the county) means a lot to the people of Oswego County,” said Legislator Louella LeClair. “I have had numerous phone calls from residents who are very upset about (the new law). This entire bill was put together way to fast, without any input from law enforcement. I think that with the help of counties, we should force the legislature, the senate and the assembly, to look at this bill again.”
She said they need to come back with something that doesn’t take away people’s constitutional rights.
The resolution was amended to include language from the New York State Sheriffs’ Association and some information from the County Clerks’ Association and other information, Wilbur explained.
Wilbur said he is sponsoring the resolution because the people of Oswego County “are crying out for people to stand up for them.”
“I feel some people tried to make some hay,” he said referring to how the law was done so quickly. “It really hurts Oswego County people, especially in the rural areas we represent.”
“They just circumvented the whole process (of making laws in public),” Wilbur said. “That’s just a slap in the whole process’s face. Shameful.”
“This is a good way to show some support for our state senator and our assemblyman who are doing good work for the people of our county,” he continued. “We strongly encourage the New York State Legislature to hold public hearings to address the issue of gun violence in a way that will produce meaningful results for all residents of New York State.”
Among other things, the new law requires criminal background checks on the sale of ammunition, requires five-year renewals on pistol permits, and changes mental health reporting requirements. All of those mandates, Wilbur said, will cost Oswego County more time and money.
“What’s the cost going to be for the clerk’s office, personnel, what’s the cost going to be for the sheriff’s office and the other county departments as well,” he said. “That guy who goes up here for hunting season, he pays for a room and it’s gonna hurt us (if they don’t come), I believe.”
“It’s not just the weapons part (of the new law) that is receiving the most attention from the public,” Legislator Jim Oldenburg pointed out. “But it is the mental health part. There are a lot of mental health provisions in there. It gives them 60 days to comply in certain areas; and some mental health experts say that is just not enough time to implement a program.”
“If we collectively say, ‘no,’ maybe we can get something that’s not a knee-jerk reaction to a horrific accident,” Wilbur said. “If it means scrapping it and starting over, so be it.”