Delaware County supporters of the right to keep and bear arms will host a 5:30 p.m. meeting Saturday at the American Legion in Delhi to discuss designating the county as a Second Amendment sanctuary.
According to the Delaware County 2A Sanctuary group on Facebook: “Second Amendment sanctuary refers to resolutions adopted by some jurisdictions in the United States to not expend resources to enforce certain gun control measures perceived as violative of the Second Amendment. The resolutions oppose enforcement of universal gun background checks, high capacity magazine bans, assault weapon bans, red flag laws, and more.”
In the crosshairs of Second Amendment sanctuary groups is New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, otherwise known as the SAFE Act.
Signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013, the SAFE Act broadened the legal definition of assault weapon, created a universal background check provision for firearms and ammunition dealers, added a new reporting requirement for mental health professionals caring for patients believed to be “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others,” and established “tougher penalties for those who use illegal guns as well as measures to help combat gang violence.”
A media release from 2AWNY, a gun ownership advocacy group based in western New York, criticized the SAFE Act and the state’s pistol permit policy as “the primary tools used by the state to forcefully disarm and punish New York gun owners.”
“Both unconstitutional edicts have been and continue to be abused by county judges to erase Second Amendment civil rights as punishment for disfavored free speech,” the release said.
The group contends that county leaders may invoke the Tenth Amendment, which defers powers not delegated to the federal government or prohibited by the Constitution to “the States respectively, or to the people,” to opt out of gun control enforcement.
Delaware County District Attorney John Hubbard warned that local governments have no legal grounds to pre-empt, or supersede, state law.
“If the state has acted, local jurisdictions cannot change or contradict it,” Hubbard said. “We have to follow the law here.”
“To attempt to preempt the SAFE Act — which was determined to be constitutional — is a problem,” he continued. “These are laudable efforts to protect the Second Amendment, but I don’t think this is the way to do it.”
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.