Counties challenge Cuomo's SAFE Act

Posted at: 02/15/2013 5:41 PM
Updated at: 02/15/2013 7:16 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

 CATSKILL--The resolution is Greene County's retaliation.  It maintains that gun ownership is an inalienable right of the people of Greene County.  And infringing on those rights affects a significant population in the towns surrounding the Catskill Mountains: hunters.

"These laws are going to make criminals out of the very decent sportsmen in Greene County," explains Wayne Speenburgh, the legislature Chairman.

Chairman Speenburgh is a Republican.  Sitting to his left during Friday's announcement of the resolution, appropriately, is the Legislature's Minority Leader, a Democrat, who also supports the resolution calling on Albany to repeal the SAFE Act.

"I don't think it's bucking the party.  They can step back and look at it in a mature manner and get this straightened out.  This is not a way to pass laws," explains Jim VanSlyke.

Greene County joins Rensselaer, Warren, Fulton, Washington and Hamilton counties in taking a stand against the SAFE Act.  Even if it's only symbolic, considering New York State law supercedes anything decided on the county level. 

"At least our constituents know where we stand, it gives them our position," explains Speenburgh.

And, their position is, not everything in Cuomo's law is bad.  The Greene County Sheriff, under advisement of the county attorney, isn't granting a recent request from a special interest group in New York City to disclose a list of pistol permit holders in the county.  A provision of the SAFE Act limits the state record law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly.

"We don't need the criminals to know who in Greene County owns firearms--that is just opening a disaster," says Greene County Sheriff Gregory Seeley.

The opt-out forms for gun permit holders are available beginning February 15th.  If a gun owner doesn't fill out the form, their information can become public record.