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St. Lawrence County okays resolution opposing NY SAFE Act

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators unanimously went on record Monday opposing parts of the NY SAFE Act during a sometimes raucous meeting attended by more than 150 gun enthusiasts.

“What the bill does not do is make anyone safer,” said Assemblyman Marc W. Butler, R-Newport, who attended the meeting that had to be moved from the Board of Legislators chambers to the state Supreme Court room because of the crowd. “We’re getting a great deal of push-back on this. I think the bill is flawed.”

Legislators changed the format of their committee meeting into a forum during which more than 30 people railed against the strict gun-control law and the rapid manner of its passage.

After the public comment period had ended, the crowd at times interrupted lawmakers as they debated the language of their resolution and often rooted for comments that proved popular.

Most of the discussion among legislators was on how strongly to word the measure.

“My aim is to get a resolution passed here that has the possibility of influencing Albany,” said Legislator Stephen M. Putman, D-Canton. “I think the odds of getting the entire bill revoked is between slim and none.”

Other legislators said Albany needs to hear what people really think.

“These folks don’t want it,” said Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg. “They want it gone.”

In the end, after a series of proposed amendments, legislators agreed on a resolution that opposes parts of the law that infringe on the Second Amendment and asks for a new bill that includes provisions considered to have merit, such as an increased penalty for killing emergency responders, safe storage requirements and mental health record reviews.

“We did come up with a message, and they will get it,” Mr. Lightfoot said.

Those who voted in favor of the law, including Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, will face the wrath of gun lovers.

“We’re going to do everything we can to see the legislators who voted against us are out of office,” said Lawrence I. Kring, a retired state Department of Environmental Conservation lieutenant.

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