WNYT.com

Hudson officials explain gun law rumors

Posted at: 02/27/2013 11:55 PM
Updated at: 02/28/2013 12:00 AM
By: Dan Levy

HUDSON - The already emotionally charged issue of gun control was turned up a notch Wednesday night in Hudson. Part of the problem, according to city officials, was that rumors and misinformation had been hijacking the debate in their community.

For more than a year, there has been some discussion in Hudson that perhaps local legislation was being drawn up that prohibits guns inside some city buildings. Some people apparently thought the council was considering a city-wide gun ban. THAT IS NOT TRUE!

Armed with American flags, protest messages, and plenty of gun owner resolve, more than 200 people crowded into the Hudson Fire House, convinced that the legal committee of the city council was about to further erode their Second Amendment rights.

"I'm against banning guns, period," said David Luck, a city resident. "I think where there are guns, there is (crime) prevention."

"It's a feel-good thing that's not helping a darn thing," opined Jim Bertram, the retired sheriff of Columbia County.

"There's just no way to deal with these things without being hijacked," said John Friedman, chair of the city council's legal committee.

As it turns out, the only thing being considered is perhaps banning weapons inside city hall, and city offices, including the Hudson Youth Bureau.

"We want our employees to be safe," Friedman asserts. "City Hall is a place where you go to do business. Some people get told YES and some people are told NO. It's the same reason you can't carry a gun in a courthouse."

According to city attorney Cheryl Roberts, even if that legislation were to pass, the city might not be on solid legal footing.

"If you pass a law like this," Roberts said, "I suspect you would be sued and I suspect we would lose."

Part of the reason why the usually obscure committee meeting was so well attended was because of a series of e-mails that were exchanged earlier in the week between councilman David Marston and Joanna Johnson-Smith, the New York State organizer of Gun Rights Across America.

Johnson-Smith wrote Marston asking him not to impose a "total gun ban in your city."

Marston then responded saying, "It's really neat that all you gun toting tea party psychotards are so interested in the goings on of our little city," going on to say, "You ideologues aren't interested in actual policy, but rather grandstanding on mythical narratives of victimization."

Then Marston invited Johnson-Smith to the meeting, writing: "By all means, come on down, we'll be happy to beat you barbarians back with the clubs or reason and responsibility, radical lunatics that you are."

Johnson-Smith did attend the meeting, where Marston followed up his e-mail apology with a public one.

"I regret it and it's shameful and I realize that," Marston said, "It was my emotional response to a series of incredibly hostile e-mails."

Marston insisted the e-mail was just a draft and that he never intended to send it to anyone.