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St. Lawrence County reaches agreement on SAFE Act opposition

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators reached a bipartisan agreement Tuesday opposing the use of the county seal on pistol permit recertifications and other paperwork related to the New York SAFE Act and calling for the repeal of the law.

A resolution offered last week by Legislative Chairman Jonathan S. Putney, D-Waddington, that was viewed as inadequate by opponents of the SAFE Act and Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, was put to bed permanently and a replacement offered by Mr. Lightfoot was approved, with an unexpected addition from Legislator Vernon D. “Sam” Burns, D-Ogdensburg.

Mr. Lightfoot had been upset with Mr. Putney’s resolution, which he thought usurped one he was working on and which did not fully represent the county’s antipathy to the act because it contained too much boilerplate language.

“It certainly wasn’t my intention to cause a lot of consternation with this,” Mr. Lightfoot said. “I think it is a resolution that is a heck of a lot more comprehensive than the one Jon did. I think this sets out a better format why we’re against this.”

The session was attended by about two dozen opponents of the SAFE Act but there was no place for public comment because it was a committee meeting.

Use of the county’s logo implies that the county agrees with the SAFE Act but most of its residents do not, Legislator Alex A. MacKinnon, R-Fowler, said.

“I don’t know if we’re ever going to get it repealed because New York City likes it,” he said.

Mr. Lightfoot welcomed an amendment to his resolution from Mr. Burns requesting the repeal of the SAFE Act in its entirety, a stance that the majority of legislators had shied away from before.

“It’s been a year,” Mr. Burns said. “I think a majority of us thought amendments would be offered and that hasn’t happened.”

However, an amendment to the local resolution suggested by Legislator Kevin D. Acres, R-Madrid, thanking Republican Assembly and Senate members who represent the area for their “no” votes on the SAFE Act and asking Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell to renounce her vote in favor was rejected.

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