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Massena Town Council asks state to ‘repair flaws’ in SAFE Act

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MASSENA — Massena councilmen have approved a resolution that asks Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other lawmakers to “immediately convene public hearings to discuss, amend, replace and repair the flaws in the SAFE Act to protect the Second Amendment rights of New York State gun owners.”

But Councilman John F. Macaulay — who voted in favor of the resolution after some discussion — said he was concerned about the inclusion of the statement about protecting the Second Amendment rights.

Mr. Macaulay said his concern was that it wasn’t up to the Massena Town Council to say that Second Amendment rights were being infringed upon when state lawmakers passed the SAFE Act.

“I think it should be struck. The resolution infers it doesn’t protect the Second Amendment rights of New York state gun owners. The law’s already in place. It is up to the federal Supreme Court to decide if constitutional rights are being infringed upon, not ours,” Mr. Macaulay said.

“I’m 100 percent in favor of everything else,” he said.

Other councilmen, however, didn’t share Mr. Macaulay’s sentiments and suggested that portion should remain in the resolution. “I am in favor of leaving that in,” Albert N. Nicola said, noting that he didn’t believe it was an opinion.

They did, however, remove one part of a sentence that suggested any changes to the SAFE Act “might not actually prevent gun violence from taking place.” Mr. Macaulay had suggested striking that because he felt that was also more opinion than fact. “I don’t want opinions in a resolution,” he said.

The one-page resolution passed by councilmen was shorter than a similar version passed by St. Lawrence County legislators, according to Supervisor Joseph D. Gray.

“Will Gray was here last month. He asked the board to support the resolution. I have drafted a much more direct (resolution). It doesn’t go as far as the county’s,” he said, noting some portions of the SAFE Act were positive, while others were “dramatically flawed.”

Will Gray, Norwood, has been traveling around St. Lawrence County asking municipalities to pass resolutions opposed to the law. He agreed some portions of the SAFE Act were valid. “Nobody wants mentally impaired or violent criminals to have a gun,” he said.

The council’s resolution calls for “the discussion, amendment and repair of the flaws in the so-called SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act) of the state of New York.”

It notes that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the majority of the state Legislature “hastily passed legislation known as the SAFE Act in a stated attempt to combat violent behavior of individuals.” The resolution also suggests that legislation was passed without allowing time for public review or comment “with the intent to avoid such review and comment.”

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