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NY County Legislatures React to SAFE Act

Karen DeWitt

County legislatures around New York state have been mulling over the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act - or SAFE act - some taking up resolutions against it.
The NY SAFE Act, the gun control legislation fast-tracked by Governor Andrew Cuomo and passed by the state legislature last month, has local governments trying to figure out how to implement it and how they're going to pay for the roll-out.

Public meetings and information sessions have been standing-room-only in communities from Gloversville to Salisbury to Harpersfield.

Republican Assemblyman Marc Butler represents Herkimer County, and Ilion, the hometown of Remington Arms. Since the SAFE act was passed, several states have been trying to lure the gunmaker out of New York. Butler tells WAMC News he has drafted legislation to repeal what he calls the "most onerous" parts of the bill.

Last Friday, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted 15-1 to pass a resolution opposing the SAFE Act. On Wednesday, the Greene County Legislature voted 13-1 to adopt a resolution opposing the law. Board Chairman Wayne Speenburgh says the Legislature also unanimously adopted a resolution opposing a state Assembly bill authored by Democrat Felix Ortiz that calls for requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance of no less than $1 million as a condition of gun ownership. That bill has been referred to the Assembly’s Insurance Committee. It has not yet picked up a companion piece in the state Senate.

In Columbia County, officials worry the new law may force the hiring of an additional employee or two to process paperwork. Lawmakers in Sullivan County are looking closely at their options. Republican Assemblyman Pete Lopez, who represents Schoharie County and portions of Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Ulster counties, says the gun conversation is "far from over."

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors will vote on an anti-SAFE Act resolution at their next regular monthly meeting, Wednesday, February 27. Chairman Jim Eisel, supervisor of Harpersfield, told the Watershed Post that the resolution would be sent out to supervisors for review on Friday.

Eisel expects the bill will pass.

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