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What you need to know for 08/20/2017

Foes of gun law to lobby Schenectady County Legislature

Foes of gun law to lobby Schenectady County Legislature

Schenectady County legislators are likely to get an earful tonight from people who believe they shou

Schenectady County legislators are likely to get an earful tonight from people who believe they should take a stance against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recently adopted gun legislation.

More than 50 opponents of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act are planning to attend the Legislature’s regular business meeting at 7 p.m. And while the topic of guns isn’t listed on the agenda, some residents are planning to make it part of the public forum.

Jason Fagel, a Glenville resident organizing the event, said the county legislature remains among the few in New York that has not passed a resolution opposing the new law or even discussed such a measure.

He realizes the county can’t sway policy at the state level, but believes local legislators should send a strong message to Albany, urging a repeal of the law.

“I realize that most of these things are symbolic,” he said Monday. “

But at the same time, I think Schenectady County should take a stand with the other counties.”

Neighboring counties are already considering resolutions against the so-called SAFE Act. Saratoga County’s Board of Supervisors, for instance, passed a resolution urging the state Legislature to reverse the complex gun control law last week.

Opponents of the law also crowded a meeting of the Albany County Legislature on Monday. More than 200 people indicated they planned to attend the meeting on a Facebook page urging opponents to voice their displeasure with the law.

Fagel is hoping to get a similar turnout this evening.

Roughly 75 people indicated they would try to attend the Schenectady County meeting on a Facebook page he set up less than a week ago.

Still, the Schenectady County Legislature hasn’t given any indication that such it would discuss a measure to oppose the law, and it seems somewhat unlikely the heavily weighted Democratic majority would openly criticize a law proposed by Cuomo.

Chairwoman Judith Dagostino could not be reached for comment Monday.

Fagel, who owns guns and shoots target as a hobby, said he even reached out to several county legislators asking them to support such a resolution. Messages he sent to them through email and on Facebook went unreturned.

“I at least expected a canned response and didn’t even get that,” he said.

Federal backlash

Meanwhile, parts of the state law are facing a backlash at the federal level.

On Monday, an official with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said the agency and its facilities won’t comply with provisions of the law because they are superseded by federal regulation.

Spokesman Mark Ballesteros said federal laws safeguarding the confidentiality of veterans’ treatment records do not authorize VA mental-health professionals to comply with the SAFE Act, which requires physicians to alert county health officials when they suspect a patient is apt to engage in conduct that will result in serious injury.

“Under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal laws take precedence over conflicting state and local laws,” he stated in an email Monday.

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