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July 22, 2013

Area residents sound off on gun law

A local assemblyman called New York’s recent gun restrictions “insane” at a forum in Walton and listened to the frustration of area residents struggling to comply with its restrictions.  

Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford, hosted an educational forum on the NY SAFE Act on Saturday at Walton Central School to answer questions from area residents about the law, which sets limits on magazine size and increases sellers’ responsibility for conducting background checks. 

Crouch sat on a panel with Delaware County Sheriff Thomas E. Mills, Delaware County Clerk Sharon O’Dell, Delaware County Pistol Clerk Marilyn Olson and Steve Altstadt, president of the Shooters’ Committee On Public Education, a statewide organization devoted to supporting Second Amendment rights. 

Dick Gifford, owner of Gifford’s Sports Supply in Walton, was among the speakers voicing frustrations with the law. 

“As a gun seller, I want to help people, but the act places so many restrictions on gun owners or potential gun owners, that I can’t afford to help in certain cases,” Gifford said, noting that he has already opted out of providing background checks for gun exchanges outside of his shop. “Between the time it takes to do a background check, enter all the transfer information in a federal bound book, and file electronically, I’ve spent more than the $10 I can charge,” explained Gifford. “I can’t recover the costs.” 

“We need to stay focused, we need to stay mad about the NY SAFE Act,” Gifford said.  “The law overturns the Second Amendment. It infringes on our rights as tax-paying Americans.” 

Assemblyman Crouch agreed, calling the law “insane,” noting that it was passed late at night on Jan. 14 with only five hours of debate. 

O’Dell called the paperwork associated with the act “a nightmare,” reminding those in attendance that “If gun owners don’t fill out an opt-out form, the county can give out their name and address to any person who is requesting the information within the scope of the Freedom of Information Law.”

Crouch closed by encouraging those opposed to the act to continue fighting against it. 

“There have been 52 counties in the state that have passed resolutions opposing the SAFE Act,” Crouch noted. “Those of us who oppose this law are not the fringe minority. But, we need to do more and that is to get people registered and to vote out the officials who are seriously out of touch with our rights.”

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