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Dawson suggests new start to NY SAFE Act

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BRASHER FALLS - Count Brasher Town Supervisor M. James Dawson among those disenchanted with the state’s NY SAFE (New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement) Act.

“I would respectfully suggest the Legislature and administration revoke the law and start with a clean sheet of paper,” he told town board members.

The law has been criticized because of its speedy passage and inclusion of more restrictive provisions related to firearms.

Key provisions of the law include a tougher assault weapons ban, stricter regulations on ammunition, more serious penalties for those who facilitate the acquisition of a rifle for someone who is unqualified, harsher sentences for those who murder first responders and screening designed to keep firearms away from the mentally ill.

“There are several things in that law that are very good,” Mr. Dawson said.

But at the same time, he suggested state lawmakers may have overreacted to the Dec. 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. by passing the law too quickly and without debate on Jan. 15.

“I say what law would have prevented that? Would an armed security officer in the school have saved them? How do you deal with the bad guy,” he wondered.

“There are certain things that we need to take a look at,” Mr. Dawson suggested, noting the “bottom line” was the infringement on the U.S. Constitution.

“If you’re going to break up the 2nd Amendment, then eliminate it. You can’t take people’s constitutional rights away just by ramming a law through,” he said.

The 2nd Amendment reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

But the law changes that, not necessarily for the better, according to the town supervisor, who said those who wanted weapons would find a way to get them - including those who shouldn’t have them in the first place.

He noted that at least 20 states do not have a requirement for people with psychiatric problems to register, meaning they could have access to weapons.

“Crooks and bad guys are going to get guns anyway,” he said.

On the reverse side, he said, “As it stands, law enforcement can’t carry more than seven rounds.”

While other government entities have passed resolutions opposing the law, Mr. Dawson said he didn’t want to do that. However, he said, “I’m very concerned.”

He instead suggested that residents call their legislators “and let them know how they feel about this law” and request that they take “another hard look at this law.”

“We have to go back and do some common-sense stuff on this,” Mr. Dawson said.

Addresses and telephone numbers of Assembly members can be found at http://assembly.state.ny.us, while Senate members are listed at http://www.nysenate.gov.

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