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February 14, 2013

Local ire for gun law crosses aisle

County lawmakers from throughout the region are preparing to take issue with what Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called groundbreaking legislation to restrict access to certain firearms and ammunition magazines.

In an extraordinary break with a new policy that has been ballyhooed by Cuomo, a wing of the governor's own party — the Otsego County Democratic Committee — has registered its disagreement with significant aspects of the so-called assault weapon legislation.

A resolution adopted by the committee states that it is "not necessarily apparent that the prohibition of such firearms and magazines will, in fact, enhance pubic safety." It also states that provisions requiring owners to register weapons that did not previously have to be registered also fails to enhance public safety.

Meanwhile, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors is poised to pass a resolution Friday that takes exception to the legislation and suggests it violates the constitutional rights of gun owners, said the resolution's author, Carlisle Town Supervisor Larry Bradt.

"There was no public input on this law from the people," said Bradt. "That's not democracy."

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors plans to consider a similar resolution Feb. 27, said its chairman, Harpersfield Town Supervisor James Eisel.

"This happened in the dead of night in Albany, and I believe it is an abuse of power," Eisel told The Daily Star. "Our law enforcement community is very upset with this. There are a lot of people up in arms. They are taking away our rights under the Second Amendment."

Eisel said many of the nationally publicized massacres involving the use of guns resulted from the actions of "people who are schizophrenic or have other mental problems. I strongly believe we have to set dollars aside for mental health clinics. That is where we should go if we want to resolve this issue."

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