Most Americans would agree with the following Jan. 24 statement made by the New York State Sheriffs Association in response to the NY SAFE Act: It is the view of the Sheriffs Association that any time government decides it is necessary or desirable to test the boundaries of a constitutional right that it should only be done with caution and with great respect for those constitutional boundaries.
Unfortunately, rather than proceeding with caution and respect for the rights of U.S. citizens under the Second Amendment, Gov. Andrew Cuomo used a political maneuver called a message of necessity to sidestep his Open NY policy and his promise to promote transparency, improve government performance, and enhance citizen engagement.
Many state legislators had less than an hour to read the proposed legislation. It is unlikely that any legislator could read, understand and digest the full implications of this legislation prior to voting on it.
Nor were state legislators given the time to request, and receive, the input of their constituents regarding this matter before taking a vote.
Assemblywoman Addie Russell did ask questions on the floor of the Assembly about the proposed gun control legislation during a Jan. 16 Assembly meeting; however, her questions were limited to requests for clarification on the kind of guns/magazines that might have to be surrendered. She never questioned the validity of the legislation or the method of passage; she never defended the Second Amendment rights of her constituents.
Commenting further on the method of bill passage, the sheriffs association also stated, Unfortunately, the process used in adoption of this act did not permit the mature development of the arguments on either side of the debate, and thus many of the stakeholders in this important issue are left feeling ignored by their government. Even those thrilled with the passage of this legislation should be concerned about the process used to secure its passage, for the next time they may find themselves the victim of that same process.
It has been said that an armed man is a citizen; an unarmed man is a subject. Our ancestors did not fight a Revolutionary War so that their descendents could become subjects of the state of New York.
Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature should recognize the folly of their actions in proposing and passing the SAFE Act legislation without caution and with great respect for those constitutional boundaries of New York citizens and immediately repeal the SAFE Act.
Nancy W. Foster