To the Editor:
To the legislators of St. Lawrence County:
This letter is a follow-up to the public hearing that was held on Monday February 25 regarding a resolution opposing the NY SAFE Act. The crowd in attendance made it very clear that we want it repealed, yet most of you ignored us. As there wasn't time for the public to comment on every aspect of your negotiations, allow me to touch on a few of them here.
First, nearly everyone will concede that there are good points to this law. However, its overreaching nature and the clandestine manner in which it was passed makes the whole thing unacceptable. Let's consider a metaphor: Imagine you go to a restaurant and order a salad. The chef hides in the kitchen and decides that what you really need is a bowl of soup. He dumps trash in it, sends it out, and insists that you eat it. Will you comply? Will you dig through it and pick out the good bits? Or will you throw it out and make him start over?
Second, this resolution is not binding legislation or even a negotiation. It is a statement to the governor that we oppose the gun control measures that he rammed down our throats. There is no need to tip-toe around or be politically correct.
To quote the Saratoga County Deputy Sheriff's Police Benevolent Association as an appropriate example: “Whether one is for or against the new legislation, all citizens should be truly concerned by the manner in which our allegedly representative government behaved and we condemn this in the harshest terms.”
The statement was made that only the courts can say whether this law is unconstitutional or not. Baloney. Anyone who has read and understands it can easily see that it infringes on the right to keep and bear arms. For example, it bans the purchase of every standard-sized pistol (besides the Model 1911) by banning the purchase of the magazines that come with them.
It is unconstitutional.
We, St. Lawrence County, can and should state this fact in our resolution. The courts will come to the same conclusion, but only after we have spent a few years and millions of dollars fighting it.
Finally, in perhaps the most telling exchange of the evening, the concern was expressed that if we upset Addie Russell it may jeopardize the possibility of getting grant money from her.
This is a truly important insight into how government works. If we don't behave the way our elected officials want us to, they might not give us money. It's supposed to be the other way around, people!
This isn't about a few folks who would kind of like it if the law was adjusted a little.
The citizens of St. Lawrence County are absolutely livid at being railroaded, and we demand a repeal, not a half-hearted amendment. Before this resolution is voted on by the full legislature on March 4, I call on you to change it to reflect this sentiment.
A few of you had the guts to speak for the people. The rest of you sold us out as we stood there and watched. As one gentleman stated to those of you who disregarded us, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Dale C. Nicholson, Hopkinton