Butler, Tedisco, Local Officials and Supporters Rally for Significant Repeal of Safe Act

March 9, 2017

Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C,I,Ref-Newport) tonight held a rally at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown in support of his bill (A.6140/S.879-C) that would work to significantly repeal the SAFE Act in upstate New York and Long Island. He was joined by fellow bill sponsor Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I, Ref-Glenville); Tom King, President of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA); Supervisor Charlie Potter, City of Gloversville-4th Ward; Fulton County Sheriff Rich Giardino; Paul Catucci, President of the Pine Tree Rifle Club; club members and other advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment.

“Right here, in upstate New York, our values and traditions have been under attack by the governor and other New York city progressives who have worked to suppress our Second Amendment rights through overreaching laws like the SAFE Act,” said Butler. “I spoke as boldly then as I do now, that our regional differences and cultural heritage that respects firearms and outdoor sports must be protected. Our rights as law-abiding New Yorkers must be protected. Our jobs must be protected. We must repeal the un-SAFE Act in upstate New York to restore our Second Amendment Rights. This is why I created this legislation, and with the support of the public, we can urge legislative leaders to negotiate this repeal as part of the state budget. When we respect our differences, we all benefit.”

“I support a full repeal of the unconstitutional so-called SAFE Act for the whole state, but we need to get our foot in the door, and at a minimum, end this law in upstate New York. The reality is the SAFE Act has made New Yorkers less safe by creating a false sense of security and making criminals out of honest, law-abiding citizens by infringing on their constitutional rights. Thanks to Assemblyman Marc Butler, Sheriff Richard Giardino, Supervisor Charlie Potter, Tom King, and the Pine Tree Rifle Club for their strong advocacy for our Second Amendment. I will continue to be a strong voice for our Second Amendment rights,” said Tedisco, a Senate co-sponsor of this legislation. Tedisco is also a sponsor of every piece of legislation he is aware of to repeal the SAFE Act.

"The direct result of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ill-conceived and questionably constitutional NY SAFE Act, is this – law-abiding gun owners are being marginalized for their lawful and respectful engagement with their Second Amendment Rights and participation in heritage outdoor sports and shooting. New Yorkers were given a false sense of security and safety, and there is an exodus of jobs in firearms manufacturing and related industries,” said NYSRPA President King. “This law, which was passed in the dark of the night and without any public comment, must be repealed. I applaud my friend, Marc Butler, for his legislation and his unwavering support of our Second Amendment Rights.”

Butler’s bill would repeal the many top-down provisions which infringe on constitutionally protected rights through the Second Amendment. Additionally, the legislation would lift unfunded mandates such as the processing of thousands of pistol recertification applications, which is being required by the SAFE Act. This includes the enforcement of provisions by law enforcement, which diverts resources and personnel away from more pressing matters in communities, such as fighting heroin and drug trafficking.

“As a lawyer and former judge, my initial concern with the governor’s so-called SAFE Act was with its fraudulent means of passage by using a message of necessity. Time should have been given for lawmakers and the public to study the legislation carefully and to provide input. This law has had lasting repercussions on the lives of many New Yorkers, such as when law-abiding citizens were put into situations where the ownership of certain types of firearms became illegal overnight,” said Sheriff Giardino. “Assemblyman Butler’s legislation, which proposes a distinction between upstate and downstate New York, has a lot of merit. There is a culture and heritage here, passed from generation to generation, that is rich with hunting, target practice and the right to provide protection for oneself and their families. Most gun owners have many years of experience and a deep regard for respectfully and safely handling their firearms. New York must respect our Second Amendment Rights.”

Butler also has been urging the governor and legislative leaders to include the repeal as part of budget negotiations. The governor and downstate progressives have been pushing for Raise the Age, which would threaten public safety and the ability to hold criminals accountable. The assemblyman and his Assembly Minority colleagues have argued that a trade should be made— Butler’s SAFE Act repeal for Raise the Age.

Butler’s legislation includes the following key provisions to apply to all counties excluding those in New York City:

  • Restore the previously-existing definition of the term “assault weapon.” The SAFE Act requires rifles that had just one of several “militarized” cosmetic features to be classified as assault weapons. Previous law allowed up to two features. So-called “assault weapons” are arbitrarily labeled as such and can be found in many hunters’ gun lockers;
  • Remove prohibitions on transferring certain weapons to family members due to death of the gun owner. The governor’s SAFE Act is nothing more than “generational confiscation” of legally-owned firearms;
  • Remove the prohibition on directly purchasing ammunition via the internet as well as the background check requirement for ammunition purchases, although it has yet to be implemented;
  • Repeal excessive storage requirements outlined in the SAFE Act;
  • Repeal the five-year recertification requirement for pistol permits, with the exception of Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties, which already had in place a five-year requirement; and
  • Prohibit the creation of a Statewide License and Record Database, which will save millions in taxpayer dollars.

The legislation, however, does continue to hold those who criminally use firearms accountable for their actions. Many measures addressing criminal use of guns already existed in state law. Responsible gun owners believe criminals must be held accountable.

Recent figures from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) reported there were a total of 11,592 SAFE Act-related arrests and arraignments since the passage of the law, 9,646, or 81 percent of which occurred in New York City. A majority of these charges would have been addressed by already-existing laws. New York City gun crimes are a serious issue, but blanket laws like the SAFE Act fail to make individuals any safer, especially throughout the rest of the state.

More events are being planned where Butler can share his legislation with his constituents and other stakeholders. Details of future events will be announced as they become available.