OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Legislature voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to approve a resolution calling for the repeal of the NY SAFE Act.
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 will cost Oswego County more time and money, legislators said.
Prior to the vote, three people, including the Oswego County Sheriff, spoke out against the new law and urged legislators to seek its repeal.
Rick McDermott of Pulaski, a representative “of many sportsman organizations throughout the state and county,” said he fully supports the county’s efforts.
“The Constitution allows us the right to keep and bear arms for many more reasons than what was stated by the governor in his State of the State speech. It is not about hunting. It is not about target shooting. It is about defending our rights and a free America,” he told the legislators.
New York Civil Rights Law reads almost identical to the Constitution regarding the right to keep and bear arms, he said.
“The governor has violated the constitution of the state of New York,” McDermott said.
At the time of the founding of this nation, there were three types of militias, he pointed out. One became the US military and another became today’s National Guard, he said.
“The third militia is the people. The people need to be there to defend the state and themselves when all the rest of forces are gone. The state is actually negligent in providing that service to us – but they are very negligent in that they are eliminating that with the current law,” he continued. “This law that was passed; passed in the dark of night (referring to the governor not waiting three days to allow state lawmakers a chance to review the proposed law and get public input).”
Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd said as a citizen of the county, that he is also a gun owner.
“The Constitution itself was not written in three days; there is no reason overnight to trample it,” he said. “As it is right now, the way that bill is written and passed, my guys could have seven bullets in their magazines to fight against a guy that was heavily armed with 50 in his. The ordinary citizens of this country deserve the right to be able to protect themselves. The criminals are not going to bring in nor register their guns.”
He admitted there are some things in the new law that are good.
“I have no objections to more background checks, let them go through the mental health records, I don’t care. But, to prevent ordinary citizens from being able to protect themselves, not one aspect of that law would have changed what happened in Sandy Hook (Elementary School) or in Rochester where lost a fire chief and a police officer,” he said. “There are things (in the law) that I support. But to take it away from the good people, so only bad people will have it, I am deadly against the law and for this resolution.”
Joel Graham, an Oswego County resident, pointed out that only a handful of the murders in the state were committed “with long guns or those being attacked and labeled as assault weapons.”
He questioned why the governor was so hasty with his decision to disarm law-abiding citizens.
“Look at the woman in Georgia when the guy invaded her house, going after her two kids. She went running into her closet and she unloaded five rounds into him. He still got up and walked away. She gets one more (and he doesn’t get away),” he said.
If someone were to ask him why he should be able to own (an assault rifle), “I’d say because that is my freedoms and liberties to own something like that and my forefathers gave it to me for self defense and nobody should be able to infringe on my rights,” he said. “I just hope this meeting overturns the laws that are in effect so law-abiding citizens aren’t under attack and making us criminals.”
“This entire (law) was put together way too 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,” Legislator Terry Wilbur said last week in proposing the resolution at the committee level.
The resolution, which will be sent to the governor and other state officials, “strongly encourages members of 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.”