The year ending Tuesday has been a tough one for proponents of gun rights and advocates for public nursing homes across New York.
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo heralded the passage of the New York SAFE Act in January, sportsmen groups railed at the legislation, arguing it unfairly limited the rights of law-abiding citizens to weapons that had never been defined as assault rifles.
Some counties — including Otsego and Schoharie — went so far as to tell state government in no uncertain terms that their county seals were not to be used in connection with a SAFE Act web site created by the New York State Police to facilitate the recertification of handgun permits.
Cuomo proclaimed the measure New York’s response to the massacre of school children and teachers at a Newtown, Conn., public school in December 2012. His press release announced that the state’s new ban on assault weapons was the nation’s first response to the shooting rampage, coming even before the Obama administration could muster its own federal legislation.
Critics of the legislation — such as the New York State Sheriffs Association and organizations representing New Yorkers who obtained their firearms through legal channels — said they were not given ample time to review the bill before it was hurried through the Legislature.
In February, scores of gun owners crowded into three buses parked in Oneonta for a trip to Albany where they and thousands of other Second Amendment proponents demonstrated outside the state Capitol against the SAFE Act.
“Why do we have to give up our guns that we enjoy?” Jim Losie, owner of Losie’s Gun Shop and one of the organizers of the rally, told The Daily Star.
As the year winds to a close, there are five pending lawsuits challenging varying facets of the SAFE Act. Two are filed in U.S. District Court, and the other three are awaiting action in state Supreme Court.