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"Oneida County Legislator Michael B. Waterman wants his colleagues to join in sending a message to Albany resisting gun laws enacted nearly a month ago. He’s seeking their signatures on a petition expressing opposition to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s SAFE Act, which gives New York the toughest state gun laws in the country.
"I feel that we should call upon Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to repeal this legislation as it is written and allow time for the normal progression of the legislative process," said the legislator, R-5, Camden. "Let both sides of the debate be heard and come together with legislation that best serves the people of the State of New York."
The petition, which was being circulated at today’s Board of Legislators meeting, will be sent to the governor and state lawmakers who represent Oneida County.
All five Assembly members who together represent the county voted against the measure. The county’s two state senators split their votes.
With speed seldom seen in the state capital, the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 was passed by the state Legislation and signed by Cuomo last month. Cuomo became the first governor to sign new gun laws in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown Conn., and a Christmas Eve shooting in Webster, a suburb of Rochester. New York already had some of the strictest gun-control laws in the nation and was one of only seven states with an assault-weapons ban in place.
"The effects on legitimate gun owners, such as hunters, sportsmen and target shooters, have not been properly considered, nor have the budgetary effects this legislation will have in several areas," said Waterman. "This legislation denies the Second Amendment right of law abiding citizens and fails to address the problem of acts of violence perpetrated by criminals and those that are dangerously mentally ill."
Waterman is an occasional hunter. "The deer population has little to fear from me," he said.
The legislator is by no means alone in his opposition to the new laws. Gun control continues to be a hot button issue.
Several counties, including Oswego, Herkimer and Ulster, have gone on record opposing the measure’s enactment. The Ulster County resolution asks the state Legislature to hold public hearings "to address the issue of gun violence in a way that will produce meaningful results" and faults Cuomo for not giving state legislators enough time to examine the act or to solicit feedback from their constituents. The governor used a message of necessity to bring the bill to a vote immediately, bypassing the standard three-day maturation process for all legislation.
Additionally, at least one protest rally is planned later this month at the state Capitol. "