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Jefferson County passes anti-SAFE Act Resolution


It was standing room only in the Historic Courthouse when the Jefferson County Board of Legislators unanimously passed a resolution opposing the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act to a round of raucous applause and a standing ovation.

Seven members of the audience took to the podium during the board’s privilege of the floor period to voice their support of the resolution and legislators also weighed in on the resolution during the discussion period.

Chairwoman of the Board Carolyn D. Fitzpatrick made the passage of the resolution a roll call vote to give legislators a chance to be individually heard. All voted yes. One or two took the opportunity to make their passion felt by the crowd.

Michael F. Astafan, D-Carthage, voted emphatically in the affirmative, saying “On my life, yes.”

Anthony J. Doldo, R-Watertown, said “Absolutely,” and Mrs. Fitzpatrick closed out the vote with an “Absolutely, yes.”

The passage of the resolution by the full board marks the end of a monthlong process initiated by legislator Robert D. Ferris, R-Watertown, after fielding concerns about the new law from his constituents.

Bringing the idea to his fellow legislators, Mr. Ferris said that he was determined to see the resolution work its way through the board’s committee process so that it could be fully vetted before coming before the full board.

“I said, ‘Well, why don’t we do the right thing?’ which is what I don’t believe the governor did, which is take out time and look through it and see which parts of it really need to be repealed and rethought,” Mr. Ferris said on Feb. 5.

At the Feb. 12 board meeting, Legislator John D. Peck, R-Great Bend, introduced a resolution he had crafted himself. That resolution was reworked by Mr. Ferris and Deputy County Administrator Michael E. Kaskan and was passed by the board’s General Services Committee on Feb. 19.

The SAFE Act, which was passed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Jan. 15, enacted broad and sweeping changes to New York state’s already tough gun-control laws that many north country residents felt unfairly restricted their Second Amendment rights.

Jefferson County has joined 36 counties that have passed similar resolutions.

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