By Assemblyman Will Barclay
Sportsmen from all over the state will gather in Albany this week. This is an important day in Albany, as this group draws attention to hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and all terrain vehicles that are significant to our Upstate economy.
I am pleased to meet with local residents who have come to Albany to raise awareness and also have the opportunity to work to protect our Second Amendment rights by showing unity.
Hunting, fishing and trapping activities contribute more than $1.8 billion to our economy annually. This year, we sportsmen face a unique challenge from the Assembly Majority. There is language in an Assembly budget bill that would govern gun manufacturers in this state by requiring something called microstamping. Microstamping would force manufacturers to produce a unique alpha-numeric or geometric code on the firing pin identifying the make, model, and serial number of the pistol. Manufacturers would bear the cost of implementing this new regulation.
The problem is, the success of this technology is unproven. Further, gun manufacturers have yet to devise technology that can ensure the make, model, and serial number of the pistol is coded into an expended cartridge.
This is exactly the kind of regulation that puts unnecessary mandates on businesses and could force firearms manufacturers out of New York.
Microstamping should not be included in a budget bill. Last year I voted against the same measure in the Assembly when it was brought to the floor as a stand-alone bill.
Unfortunately, it passed the Assembly but, thankfully, not the Senate.
Rather than creating more regulations for gun manufacturers, we need to create legislation that will better support the interests of our Upstate residents. Snowmobiling alone is a $476 million-dollar industry for the state, with over 130,000 registered snowmobiles on trails each year. There are also roughly 1.9 million New Yorkers who participate in ATV recreation but their economic impact is not known.
We need to have a better understanding of ATVs economic impact on the state, which would help open up new venues for ATVs.
I sponsor legislation that would require the commissioner of motor vehicles to conduct a study that measures the economic impact ATV use has on the state. If we account for the number of ATV participants, the amount of times they go riding, and measure how much money riders spend on equipment, hotels, restaurants, lodges, camps and stores, we could have a good idea of the direct impact ATV’s have on our economy. This would be beneficial when making ATV-related decisions. I also sponsor legislation that would raise the defined weight of an ATV and utility terrain vehicle (UTV) from 1,000 lbs. to 1,500 lbs.
Another bill I sponsor would exempt snowmobiles that are used primarily on frozen bodies of water from contributing to the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. These vehicles are often used to access hunting or trapping lands. They rarely travel on a trail and therefore, should be exempt from paying into the maintenance fund.
We need to raise better awareness about hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports within our schools.
I sponsor legislation that would require the Commission of the Department of Environmental Conservation to promote these sports in high school physical education classes (A4345). This is a perfect opportunity to expose kids who haven’t had a chance to participate before in some of Upstate New York’s pastimes. In these lessons, our youth could learn about the food chain, protected species, native fish and game, ways to live off the land, and the importance of protecting our environment, as well as how important these sports are to our local and state economies.
In recent years, we expanded hunting for our youth.
Those under age 14 can now hunt big game, as long as they are supervised by an adult. A hunter education course is required for all new hunters applying for a license. All courses are free.
In Onondaga County, the next hunter education course will be at the Skaneateles Rod and Gun Club starting March 27.
In Oswego County, the next hunting education course will be held March 28 at Sandy Pond Sportsman Club.
Each course is comprised of three classes and participants must attend all three.
To register or to find additional information or other course times, call 1-888-486-8332 or visit www.dec.ny.gov
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185. You may also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.