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Rod, Gun & Game: Discussing Andrew Cuomo’s New York SAFE Act

SPRINGVILLE — Many people have educated themselves about the gun control issue, since the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn. Americans everywhere are engaged in discussions with lawmakers, to find real solutions that will help make our children and our communities safer, by reducing violence in our society.

On Jan. 15, New York adopted the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, as a legislative priority of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This bill was followed by legislation by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, another proposal that is not focused on the real problem or solution. The entire NY SAFE Act can be found at open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2230-2013.

Given the haste in which the new law was adopted, as well as its range, many questions have already risen about how the legislation will apply to private firearm owners, dealers, distributors, manufacturers and the law enforcement community.

For example, the new bans on magazines did not allow for exemptions for police officers, manufacturers and licensed dealers. The new law prohibits an officer from entering a school, carrying his or her service pistol, without prior, written permission from the school.

There are many other drafting inconsistencies in the SAFE Act, but several organizations are working to educate legislators about these errors, seeking the immediate introduction of legislation, to fix these problems and find a real solution.

American citizens who live by the letter of the law are careful about how they handle and store their firearms, but they fear that the direction of the SAFE Act is an act of oppressive government, the very thing that the Bill of Rights protects from.

The purpose of that Bill of Rights is to protect individual citizen rights. The First Amendment is about freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press and the right to petition the government.

The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms and says nothing about hunting. The Fourth Amendment protects from unlawful search and seizure. The Fifth Amendment is written to oppose self-incrimination and protects from double jeopardy and guarantees due process of law.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy trial and the right to council. The Seventh Amendment establishes common law, for civil proceedings. The Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment. The Ninth Amendment provides Americans with rights not otherwise enumerated in the Constitution. The 10th Amendment defines states’ rights and limits the federal government to the content of the Constitution.

The Third Amendment provides protection from having to quarter troops in homes. While most Americans believe this provision is no longer applicable, that may not be true.

When British soldiers arrived in American towns, they moved into civilian homes, took crops, supplies and belongings and consumed precious food stuffs.

Our forefathers believed that this treatment went against our God-given rights as humans, because it affected life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Second Amendment protects the right of the people to form militias and own firearms, protecting against a repeat of that treatment. Self-defense is critical, in enforcing the U.S. Constitution.

Adolf Hitler disarmed his people, for the same reason. The emperor of Japan did not invade the United States, after his country’s success at Pearl Harbor, for the same reason. Having an armed country is a major deterrent to foreign invasion.

Approximately 90 million Americans own 310 million firearms, today. It will be hard to imprison that many people. There must be a revision to the NYS SAFE Act and the newly-proposed federal law of similar intention.

Today’s media places blame on guns, but I believe that the real problem is the criminal behind the gun. There is a serious social problem at work.

The modern criminal may not live in squalor; he or she may attend college and be protected under the guise of a special medical condition.

The recent mass shootings occurred in areas that are largely designated as gun-free zones. How did guns get there? We must remember that criminals do not follow laws. If this legislation has its way, only criminals will have firearms, in the end.

We need to study this issue more seriously and not make snap judgments, to blame guns. How about a form of better control for mental health treatment?

More than 1,300 people have attended ongoing, bipartisan task force hearings in Connecticut. Mark Mattioli, whose son James, 6, was killed at Sandy Hook, asked the committee what gun laws have done to ensure safer cities. He also condemned liberals for using the attack on Newtown to “spread fear on gun issues.”

The Second Amendment is not about hunting and sportsmen. It is about national defense. The forefathers wanted their country’s citizens to be protected from an oppressive government.

Once gun-control and gun-surrender is established the very basis of the Bill of Rights will be dissolved. It is easy to see the domino effect and why so many groups oppose this new law.

We all share the grief of the people affected in the recent incidents, but the real question is, how do we control those who were involved in these crimes? The answer is not the knee-jerk, midnight bill that now exists in New York. The public was not given a chance to provide input. This new law will do little, to solve the real issue.

On Feb. 28, a public rally for more effective discussion to the SAFE Act will be held, in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Thousands of people are expected to attend.

The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen is offering bus transportation to this event, departing from exit 49, in Depew. To make reservations, visit www.eriectyfsc.org/events/2013/gunrally.htm, call 510-7952 or email rich@weloveoutdoors.org.

Other groups, including the Shooters’ Committee on Political Education, are also organizing transportation from Southgate Plaza. Visit www.donationpages.com/directory/EventEcard/1610, for more information.

Even the New York State Sheriffs’ Department has expressed its opposition to the act. That organization has pointed out what should be changed in the SAFE Act, to preserve the United States Constitution’s guarantees.

To review a summary of the sheriffs’ statement, visit www.madisoncountycourier.com/?p=41481.

New York state troopers are responsible to enforce and explain this new law. People with additional questions may contact a hotline number staffed by state police, at 1-855-529-4261, or visit www.governor.ny.gov/2013/gun-reforms-faq.
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