The Glenville Town Board is backing repeal of the New York SAFE Act.
More than 60 people packed Town Hall on Wednesday to request the board approve a resolution asking the state to scrap the law that bans the sale of assault-style weapons, caps the number of rounds a magazine can hold at seven, and requires private gun sellers to conduct background checks on prospective buyers.
Mark Storti, a sportsman who is member of two local fish and game clubs, said the law was passed hastily without any feedback from law enforcement and without the opportunity for legislators to even read the bill.
“We believe the New York SAFE Act violates our constitutional rights, infringes on our property rights. It will do very little to safeguard citizens,” he said.
The law prohibits homeowners from putting more than seven rounds in a magazine, even though any guns he bought in December would have had a 10-round magazine, Storti said. People can load 10 rounds if they are shooting at a club.
“Criminals by definition do not follow existing laws so passing more laws won’t have any effect,” he said.
Also, certain weapons currently carried by active and retired law enforcement personnel are illegal under the new law, Storti said.
He said the law will hurt small businesses, which have to conduct background checks on ammunition purchases. It could also decrease tax revenue to the state on gun purchases, which goes into a conservation fund for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The public is not being treated with respect under this law, according to Storti.
“You have to do these type of things because we don’t trust you any longer. It’s personal because our reputation is being attacked,” he said.
More than 50 counties have passed some sort of resolution opposing the measure, according to Storti.
Resident Ron Pucci said polls showing support for this law were skewed because they sampled more people downstate. He pointed out that more children die every year because of medical malpractice than because of firearms.
“I don’t fear guns. I feel guns have a certain place in our society. I fear people with bad intentions or people who are not rational that have guns,” he said.
Another town resident, Charlie Beers, said the right to own a gun was granted in the Bill of Rights.
“If you can’t stand up for my Second Amendment, what other rights do we stand for?” he said.
All the board members spoke in favor of the resolution. Councilwoman Gina Wierzbowski criticized the hasty manner in which the law was passed and said she supports its repeal.
“The people who are law-abiding citizens are the ones that are going to be hurt, not to mention our fragile economy,” she said.
Board member John Pytlovany, who used to be Scotia’s police chief, said he disagreed with most of the legislation, except for the provisions about making sure mentally disturbed people don’t get access to guns.
Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said it was a sad commentary on government when lawmakers are passing bills without reading them.
“There’s more people in this room commenting on this than the governor had when he passed this on a statewide basis,” he said.
Wednesday’s meeting was only a work session. The board formally will vote on the resolution at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall.