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Dozens seek answers on new gun control law at public forum

Posted at: 01/30/2013 12:03 AM
By: Lynette Adams

Gun owners turned out in force Tuesday night with scores of questions and opinions about New York's new gun laws.

News10NBC received questions from you about it, including one man wondering if the state will really spend more than $30-million dollars to implement it.

The State Police and the State Division of Criminal Justice Services held a public meeting Tuesday night at the Public Safety Building to help people here learn more about the law.

Another concern that was raised was if this law will take police officers away from other emergencies.

News10NBC took your questions to the meeting to find out some answers.

One of the questions from the audience Tuesday night was how much is this new law going to cost the state.

There wasn't an answer. The people on the panel said they simply don't know, but they did have responses for a number of other questions.

“I'd like to know if you can site for me one instance where government mandated registration of firearms hasn't ultimately led to confiscation of firearms,” said one person who attended the meeting.

Dozens of gun owners turned out to this meeting armed with questions about the state's new gun laws.

“We're not here to debate that. We're simply here to tell you what's in the law and what the law says. Obviously the courts are going to make these determinations later, but to the extent that we can tell you how the law pertains to your particular  guns or your situation,” said Mike Green, the Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

News10NBC asked Green if the new law would tie up police officers who should be worried about more serious crimes.

“Again I suppose people could have different opinions, but from my reading of it this law gives police officers a lot of tools that they didn't have before this law was passed to combat drug dealers, to combat gangs, to combat people who commit violent crimes with guns,” said Green

People like Mike Marriam came to the meeting to make sure they understand the new gun laws. This Henrietta resident has been around guns and an owner as long as he can remember, but he's concerned about where this law is going and his right to bear arms. He's particularly concerned about New York's classification of the AR 15 as an illegal weapon.

“I feel that we've kind of missed the mark here tonight talking about hunting and sports shooting. Really the second amendment is about self defense and the AR 15 is a very effective self defense weapon as proved recently right here in Rochester,” said Marriam.

It's these kinds of concerns that brought many of these people out to the meeting.

“Isn't the Constitution the law of all laws that trumps any other laws and what about the oath to protect that. Also, with the Constitution, you don't feel that this SAFE Act is unconstitutional?” asked another person at the meeting.

“I'd be willing to bet there will be challenges to the constitutionality of the law and those will get handled through the courts, but until that happens our role at DCJS and their role at the NYSP doesn't change. We have to operate under the presumption that the law is constitutional until a judge says otherwise,” said Green in response.

Green has been traveling across the state with the State Police to answer questions about the gun laws. This was their fifth stop on the list. On Wednesday they will be in three other counties.

Green says he wants people to know this law toughens the penalties for people who use guns illegally, but also that if you lawfully owned a gun before January 15 that is now illegal, you can keep it as long as it is registered with the State Police within the next 12 months.

If you have questions about the NY SAFE Act you can call 1-855-LAWGUNS (1-800-529-4867) for more information or go to the NY SAFE Act website.