Resolutions are pending in 17 other counties. Greene County's Committee on Public Safety endorsed two separate gun resolutions last night. "I, and probably most of you, am always wary of laws that take away freedom for the sake of safety when, essentially, we can have both,” said Public Safety Committee Chairman William Lawrence, R-Cairo.
The first resolution is to oppose the SAFE Act. The second Greene County resolution is rejecting the bill introduced by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) that would require all NY gun owners to carry $1 million in liability insurance.
The Greene County legislature is voting on their SAFE Act resolution tonight and it is expected to pass easily. Chautauqua and Rockland Counties meet on Thursday and St. Lawrence County debates their resolution in committee on Monday.
St. Lawrence County is also holding a public forum beginning at 5:30pm on the resolution before the legislators vote in committee. The board was to take up the bill on Feb 18, but the forum was delayed to allow the legislators more time to review the proposal. As Legislator Joe Lightfoot explained, "we didn't want to rush this through like they pushed the bill through."
In addition to the county resolutions, municipalities are also taking up resolutions in opposition to the new state law. As of Feb 20, thirteen cities and towns have passed resolutions condemning the governor's gun control plan. The City of Ogdensburg and the Town of Lisbon were the latest jurisdictions to pass their local resolutions.
The outcry on the SAFE Act is as much about how the bill was passed as it is about the specific provisions of the law. In pushing the bill through the state legislative process, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated a "message of necessity" which sidesteps the otherwise mandatory minimum 72-hour period before a bill can be voted on.
This three day period is defined in Article III, Section 14 of the New York State Constitution, which reads:
“No bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have been printed and upon the desks of the members, in its final form, at least three calendar legislative days prior to its final passage, unless the governor, or the acting governor, shall have certified, under his or her hand and the seal of the state, the facts which in his or her opinion necessitate an immediate vote thereon."
The governor justified his message of necessity by stating he didn't want the citizens to rush out to buy assault weapons and large capacity magazines while the bill was still pending. The state senate and assembly had only hours or even minutes to review and debate the bill before it was brought to a vote.
There are at least two legal challenges to the SAFE Act. One is a class action lawsuit brought by New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, along with the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association, and the Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education.
The second suit was initiated by constitutional activist Bob Schultz on his website wethepeopleofny.org . His lawsuit and online petition calls into question the governor's message of necessity.
According to his website, the suit's argument states "there was no need for the Senate to waive the three day rule, which they did by approving the bill within 20 minutes of receiving it. There was no need for the Assembly to approve the bill within hours of receiving it, which they did. There was no need for speed. The legislature was not scheduled to adjourn for the year, we were not under attack and there was no natural or man-made disaster."
As of Feb 20, there were 1.713 signatures to this petition.
On Thursday, February 28th , there is going to be a "Civil Rights – 2nd Amendment Rally" at noon at the Legislative Building, 80 Swan Street, in Albany. This rally, sponsored by: National Rifle Association, NSRPA, activist JJ Johnson–Smith and the Second Amendment Foundation.
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