The fierce backlash by gun owners against the new firearms law pushed through by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January is expected to spill into the Otsego County courthouse in Cooperstown on Wednesday morning, when the Board of Representatives takes up a proposal to support repeal of the statute, known as the New York SAFE Act.
As demonstrated by the impassioned rally held in Albany on Thursday, an event that was thoroughly covered by my colleague, Richard Whitby, in this newspaper Friday, this is not only an emotion-packed issue but one that also carries significant political ramifications.
If Republicans stay unified, it would appear that a resolution calling for repeal — one that has been teed up by Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts — would likely be approved by the board, because the GOP members hold the most weighted votes.
Rep. Rich Murphy, D-town of Oneonta, noting that he is opposed to the SAFE Act, said he thinks a better strategy would be to call for the legislation to be amended, because there is widespread support for certain elements of the multifaceted legislation. Murphy noted the governor has already signaled that he is open to amendments.
The Democrat, who is the vice chairman of the county board, said Cuomo would have better served to have first assembled a blue ribbon panel of public safety experts to develop recommendations before rushing his legislation through the state Legislature.
Cuomo said this week that one amendment he wants to approve would allow fake assault weapons to be carried in New York when they are used in the production of movies.
“Should you be able to use these types of guns in movies?” Cuomo said in Albany. “The answer is yes.”
Powers, who participated in the gun rights rally in Albany, said that statement by Cuomo shows the governor just doesn’t get it.
“That’s such a farce, because violent films are half the reason why some of these massacres go on,” Powers said. “He’s willing to excuse that, and then he wants to come out here and take your 10-round clips away from you.”
JOE MAHONEY is a staff writer for The Daily Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.