The state’s new gun-control law is causing such a stir in Schoharie County that the Board of Supervisors took up a resolution out of order Friday assailing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tactics and his plans to spend nearly $40 million implementing the law.
Supervisor Larry Bradt, R-Carlisle, spoke with anger in his voice as he read the county’s resolution word by word.
The measure, opposing the process of the law’s enactment and some of its provisions, reads in part: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people of Schoharie County.”
The resolution, supported by all supervisors except for J. Carl Barbic, D-Seward, states the Legislature’s approval of the law “has engendered significant controversy over both the process by which it was enacted and certain provisions contained within it.”
The resolution says there was no possible way all members of the state Legislature could have read the 25,000-word law in less than an hour before voting on it.
Bradt said he believes roughly $40 million is being appropriated for administering the new law, which requires registration to purchase ammunition, periodic relicensing for handgun owners, bans some semiautomatic rifles and restricts magazine capacity to seven rounds.
He said money could be better spent on other things — such as supporting mental health services.
“We’re already stressed out on resources,” Bradt said.
He read the resolution with Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond at his side.
After Bradt was finished, Desmond described the tenor of discussions he had recently at a meeting of the National Sheriffs Association.
He said he couldn’t repeat, in similar words, what sheriffs in Southern states like New Mexico had to say about New York’s new law due to their language.
Desmond, who doesn’t support the law either, read a resolution passed by the National Sheriffs Association into the meeting record.
That resolution reads in part: “Sheriffs strongly support our citizens’ protected right to bear arms under the Second Amendment and the National Sheriffs Association does not support any laws that deprive any citizen of the rights provided under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
During discussion that followed, Esperance Supervisor Earl Van Wormer III said the manner in which the law was passed — overnight and without public comment — is “scary” because it means the state government can apparently make up its own rules and pass laws without public input.
“They can do it on anything they want to,” Van Wormer said, adding that Gov. Cuomo’s pressure on the Legislature makes him a “bully.”
“Law enforcement agencies are opposed to this,” he said.
Residents in Schoharie County are gearing up for a protest of the NY SAFE Act.
A “We the People Rally” is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, March 16, on the lawn of historic Lasell Hall, the Daughters of the American Revolution house, at 350 Main St. in Schoharie. The rally will include a recognition of military veterans.