Smullen Speaks at Sacandaga Sportsmen's Day

Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C-Mohawk Valley and the Adirondacks) spoke during two seminars at the Sacandaga Sportsmen’s Day on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, to go over what proposals, laws and changes regarding hunting and environmental conservation are being discussed in the New York state Legislature. As a member of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation and an avid hunter and outdoorsman, Smullen believes hunting as a tradition is very important, and protecting the Second Amendment rights of lawful gun owners is a top priority for his family and others statewide.

“This sportsmen’s event and others like it remind us of the importance of speaking up for our inherent gun rights and our right to participate in hunting and sportsmen competitions,” said Smullen. “My fellow Minority Conference assemblymembers and I are working very hard in Albany to make our voices heard and safeguard our hunting and Second Amendment rights so they remain for generations.”

During the seminars, Smullen addressed what laws related to hunting, gun rights and environmental stewardship are being discussed in the New York state Legislature. He spoke about several bills that were passed just last year that he sponsored, as well as bills he co-sponsored or multi-sponsored. He also spoke about several bills from last year that are currently impacting hunters, whether negatively or positively, and talked about what we can expect in the future as a result of them. While he opposed some bills, others he was proud to support.

The bills passed in 2023 that Smullen either co-sponsored or multi-sponsored included:

  • Bill A.161, which establishes a forestry stewardship and habitat conservation credit for personal income and business franchise taxes for landowners in New York state to help reduce forest fragmentation, increase the economic contributions of our forests and support private stewardship efforts by individual owners, families and businesses;
  • Bill A.651, which allows persons participating in certain formal ceremonies, including those honoring fallen military personnel and first responders, to possess a firearm, rifle or shotgun as part of the historic tradition;
  • Bill A.2224, which provides that dogs engaged in hunting and training as authorized by the environmental conservation law shall not be deemed “running at large;”
  • Bill A.2350, which allows active service members in New York state, for no longer than thirty days, to get a free fishing, hunting or trapping license so they can enjoy these outdoor activities with loved ones while visiting home;
  • Bill A.2940, which removes restrictions preventing young people, seniors and disabled persons from using crossbows during any season when longbows may be used, fostering recruitment, retention and reactivation of New York hunters;
  • Bill A.3670, which enacts the Come Home to Hunt Act, which allows for the sale of two-day, non-resident hunting licenses, allowing visitors from out-of-state to participate in hunting while visiting without having to pay $100 for a full license; and
  • Bill A.5420, which relates to hunting, fishing and outdoor education in high school physical education courses, promoting instruction in physical education courses for grades nine through twelve in hunting, fishing and outdoor education. 

Two bills that Smullen was proud to sponsor himself were:

  • Bill A.4805, which authorizes reduced cost, a 50% discount to be exact, on a hunting, fishing and big game license for individuals with disabilities; and
  • Bill A.4688, which relates to the definition of assault weapons, redefining the term assault weapons to exclude pistol grips, muzzle breaks, muzzle compensators, thumbhole stock rifles and pistol shrouds.

Recent bills from 2023 have already had an effect on hunting and sportsmen, and of these bills, the ones Smullen supports include:

  • Bill A.1486, which eliminates the requirement that hunters wear back tags during hunting season in the state to prevent confusion surrounding different hunting zones (some zones required back tags while others did not);
  • Bill A.2296, which waives the thirty-day residency requirement for certain hunting licenses for active-duty military members and their families on permanent orders to be stationed within the state;
  • Bill A.2631, which rightfully identifies hunters’ use of a crossbow to be in sync with the privileges afforded to those who hunt with a conventional bow, thereby providing for additional hunting opportunities that will ultimately help properly manage wildlife populations and stimulate the economy of our great state;
  • Bill A.2680, which authorizes special access to hunting and fishing grounds on state land for handicapped individuals;
  • Bill A.4727, which authorizes children 10 years of age or older to load and fire a rifle, shotgun or pistol at a shooting range while under the supervision of a qualified person;
  • Bill A.2492, which provides free hunting, fishing and trapping licenses to residents of the state who are active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces regardless of duty station;
  • Bill A.4372, which removes restrictions on crossbow size and draw weight when used for hunting;
  • Bill A.5805, which eliminates sporting license fees for honorably discharged, disabled veterans; and
  • Bill A.8180, which waives fishing, hunting and trapping license fees for certain first responders.

Bills from 2023 Smullen adamantly opposes include:

  • Bill A.2084A, which prohibits the use of lead ammunition in the taking of wildlife on state-owned land and on land contributing surface water to the New York City water supply;
  • Bill A.2917, which makes contests, competitions, tournaments and derbies to take wildlife unlawful; and
  • Bill A.1355, which relates to the sale of ammunition for assault weapons, limiting the sale of assault weapon ammunition to only twice the capacity of the weapon within a 120-day period.

“While we have gained some ground in Albany fighting for hunters’ rights and the rights of gun owners, there is still work to be done. I will be sure to keep everyone updated in the months ahead as we continue to hash out ideas and laws that make sense, as well as fight back against those that would take hunting and Second Amendment rights away. In the meantime, do not keep quiet. Voice your support when laws in favor of environmental stewardship, responsible hunting, hunter safety and ethical gun ownership are passed. On the other hand, do not be afraid to voice your disagreement or outrage when laws that hurt responsible, law-abiding gun owners and citizens are passed.

“While there are ideas and bills out there that are formulated with the best of intentions, if we don’t hear from you—the people of New York—some perspectives can be missed,” concluded Smullen.