Changes proposed for NY Safe Act

Several proposals made to amend Safe Act

The New York Safe Act has not been forgotten!

A number of state legislators are submitting bills amending the “pushed through in the middle of the night” Safe Act.

I recently received a press release from former Erie County state trooper/sheriff, now Sen. Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I) who has introduced a series of seven proposals reforming the Safe Act. Here is his brief description of his bills.

u Allow a person to pass their legally possessed and validly registered weapons to an immediate family member in their estate.

u Allow possession of certain large-capacity ammunition-feeding devices if they were legally possessed and validly registered before the Safe Act.

u An omnibus bill eliminating the registration of ammunition retailers and background checks for the purchase of ammunition. This also asks for the repeal of the seven-round limit of ammunition in loaded magazines which was struck down by a federal judge in December 2013.

u Repeal of the definition of an assault weapon in relation to suspension of firearms licenses.

u Expand the definition of immediate family to include siblings, grandparents and grandchildren in relation to the private sale of certain firearms.

u Amendment of the law to state that pistol permit applications are not public records and not subject to the Freedom of Information Law.

u The elimination of the recertification requirement for firearms licenses.

In addition to these, Gallivan has co-sponsored several bills to modify or repeal the Safe Act.

One organization that’s continuing to call for the repeal of the NY Safe Act is the Shooters Committee On Political Education, known as SCOPE. Check them out at www.scope­

fishing regulations

The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently released new freshwater fishing regulations that will go into effect April 1.

DEC said the modifications are necessary to maintain the great freshwater sport fishing and related activities to address management needs in specific waters. They’re also needed to accommodate anglers and other stakeholder desires.

The changes focus on consolidation of regulations where possible, and elimination of special regulations that no longer are warranted and/or outdated. These modifications are a result of a two-year process, discussion with anglers and 45 public comment sessions.

The release was rather lengthy, and all will be defined in the 2015-16 Freshwater

Fishing Regulations Guide. The guide will be available this month at license sales vendors and on the DEC website. Here are a few of the changes that I found affecting some of our popularly fished waters.

There will be a modification statewide for muskellunge, increasing the minimum size limit to 40 inches and adjusting the season opener from the third Saturday in June to the last Saturday in May. Modifying the statewide muskellunge regulation changes and existing muskellunge regulations for specific waters that include Lake Champlain, St. Lawrence County rivers and streams, as well as for both muskellunge and tiger muskellunge at Chautauqua Lake, will increase the minimum size for muskellunge in the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River to 54 inches.

The new regulations will include establishing year-round trout seasons with catch-and-release fishing only from

Oct. 16-March 31 at streams in western New York. There will also be a catch and release season for trout in sections of the Salmon River, Ninemile Creek and extend the catch-and-release season at Fall Creek (Cayuga Lake).

There are also some 12- and 15-inch minimum size limits and daily creel limits, depending on where the fishing will be done.

I strongly suggest all trout and salmon anglers check these regulations very carefully before wetting a line.

There are now several waters in Franklin and Washington counties in which the use of fish as bait is prohibited and even some new gear and angling method regulations. They’ve streamlined what devices may be used for ice fishing by modifying the statewide regulation to allow for a total of seven devices that may be used to fish through the ice at Lake Champlain.

For Lake Ontario and its tributaries, there’s a new definition of floating lures.

“A floating lure is a lure that floats while at rest in water with or without any weight attached to the line, leader or lure.

For the complete list of sportfishing regulation changes, go to DEC’s website at If you are interested in the “Assessment of Public Comment” go to

Anglers, get the guide and read it before you go fishing.


Not in New York, but Ark­ansas. Last month, Calvin Johnston of Kansas was fishing for trout on the White River near Cotter, Ark., during a snowstorm and 17-degree weather and caught a couple of two- to five-pound brown trout and then headed for a warm cabin.

About an hour before sundown, he thought he would give it one more try. His lure choice was a Mepps Comet Mino No. 5 with a silver blade, which he thought was a bit big for this type of fishing, but he believed “bigger bait catch bigger fish.”

He was absolutely right because after a few long casts, he was fighting a good battle, but when he saw the fish roll, he yelled for a net. It was a 20-minute fight that Calvin won.

On the hand scale, it read around 40 pounds and they headed for the Arkansas Game Commission. The official weight was 38 pounds, seven ounces, which set the new brown trout state record.

Deer seminar

The Hudson Valley Branch of Quality Deer Management Association will host an educational seminar on “The Wild and Wacky World of Whitetail Deer,” presented by former DEC biologist Dick Henry at 7 p.m. March 26 at Columbia-Greene Community College, Main Building, Room 105, 4400 NY Route 23, Hudson.

QDMA’s mission is to ensure the future of white-tail deer, wildlife habits and our hunting heritage. For further details call, Dick Henry at (845) 802-3166.

Reach Gazette oudoors columnist Ed Noonan at [email protected].

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