Blankenbush, Butler decry gun restriction bill passed by Assembly as undemocratic, Russell pleased with increased penalties
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 5:41 pm

The three state Assembly members who represent most of St. Lawrence County voted differently as the gun restriction bill was approved by the state Assembly today.

Ken Blankenbush (R-Black River), who represents much of southern St. Lawrence County, and Marc Butler (R-Newport), who represents primarily the eastern and southern portions of the county, voted against the bill. Addie Russell (D-Theresa), who represents the “River District” that includes northern St. Lawrence County, voted for the measure.

The new gun control bill, now approved by the Assembly today and the Senate yesterday, now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo who is expected to sign it.

Opponents of new gun legislation in the Assembly echoed the response of senators who voted against it in the Senate yesterday, that it was rammed through without sufficient airing.

That was the position of 117th District Assemblyman Blankenbush, who said, “Everything about this bill, especially how it was brought to us for a vote by Gov. Cuomo’s Message of Necessity, smacks of ‘old Albany,’ where secretive deals are hashed out between ‘three men in a room.’

"We were given little time to review this rushed and flawed bill, and the public wasn’t afforded the opportunity to weigh in on this legislation," said Blankenbush.

"Due to the haste in which this bill was forced through the legislature we’ve discovered errors, like how it would be illegal for law enforcement to enter school grounds with a firearm. Such egregious errors will require the governor to submit Chapter Amendments to correct them.

“This matter is too important to rush through without careful consideration. Again, I am reminded of my great responsibility to uphold the rights outlined in our Constitution and to act cautiously in these matters.”

Butler, who represents the 118th District, echoed Blankenbush’s statements, saying “At the opening of the 2013 legislative session, this house, the ‘people’s house,’ patted itself on the back for all its good works and accomplishments, and yet in less than 24 hours we’ve been forced to take up a bill that tramples on New Yorker’s constitutional rights by giving the public no opportunity for input or reasoned deliberation.”

“This bill not only falls short of its most basic objectives to keep people safe from those who wish to harm them, but works to infringe upon our Second Amendment rights and, especially in the Mohawk Valley, threatens the livelihood of families who are employed by Remington Arms,” he continued.

But Russell, 116th District assemblywoman, said she was pleased the measure passed with "my proposed enhancement to Mark’s Law, which increases penalties for persons who kill first responders: our firefighters and EMTs, addressing irresponsible handling of weapons, and requiring limiting access to weapons by the mentally unstable and others that are not permitted to possess guns. The bill also limits pistol permit information available to the public."

Russell added, "I believe that today, in passing the Mark’s Law provisions, we are honoring our commitment to our first responders. By passing measures to keep guns out of the hands of those that tend to target our volunteers and children, we are honoring all our first responders and the memories of those that have died needlessly including Mark Davis," a Cape Vincent EMT who was killed by a gunman.

The law can be viewed here.