St. Lawrence County GOP Assemblyman Butler working on legislation to repeal SAFE Act, votes against funding
Monday, May 11, 2015 - 9:16 am

St. Lawrence County Republican Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R, C-Newport) says he has been working on legislation to repeal SAFE Act and has voted against SAFE Act funding.

Butler, who represents the 118th Assembly District, covering much of southern St. Lawrence County, starting in Madrid and Norfolk and going south into Clifton and Fine, released a column on his view of the SAFE Act and what he is doing for Second Amendment Rights.

St. Lawrence County Legislators called on the state to repeal the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in February. Many politicians and residents of St. Lawrence County have complained that the act was rushed through by the governor, who used the executive powers to pass the bill in less than 24 hours, normally bills undergo a review period prior to passage.

The SAFE Act, which was passed Jan. 15, 2013 by the state legislature and signed into law the same day, has been a hotly debated topic across the state, including St. Lawrence County. The act drew harsh criticism from firearm advocates and outdoor sportsman as many complain it is unconstitutional under the freedoms granted by the second amendment.

Specific criticisms of the act center around the magazine size limits, mandatory background checks, the establishment of an assault weapon registry, tracking of sales, and the ability for police to pre-emptively seize firearms without a warrant when there is probable cause of mental instability.

Butler’s column reads:

“For many of us, it has never been clearer that there are those who do not understand the importance of our Second Amendment Rights. Worse yet, is that there are people like the governor and downstate politicians who flat out wish to curb your freedoms as a law-abiding citizen.

We saw the governor trample on constitutional freedoms when he pushed his so-called SAFE Act on the state. The law treated law-abiding gun owners like criminals and placed an unfair burden and blame on them for gun violence in our state.

My conference and I have been working very hard to advocate for Second Amendment Rights by proposing legislation to repeal the SAFE Act. Additionally, I have voted against funding for the SAFE Act. I encourage you not to relent on your efforts. It is important for legislators to hear your concerns and dissatisfaction with the efforts of some to curb your freedoms.

Passage of the SAFE Act is bad enough and was a major blow to our rights, but some misguided downstate politicians want more. Just this week at the Capitol anti-gun activists and a number of Democrat Assembly members and Senators pushed for even more invasive gun-control laws. For my part, I have suggested to my colleagues on the assembly floor that any such legislation, including the SAFE Act, ought to be divided between upstate and downstate, so upstaters do not have to abandon their Second Amendment rights.

Some of them argued to mandate microstamping, a system that would etch identifying numbers on expelled bullet casings to aid in gunfire-related investigations. Not only would this add to the high cost of firearms in New York, but experts believe that microstamping is less than effective, noting the system could easily be tampered with.

One of the senators pushed for the reclassification of the .50 caliber gun as an assault weapon. The argument by some is that .50 caliber guns are the weapons of terrorists and other criminals, but the crime statistics just don’t prove that this type of gun is regularly used in the commission of crimes. In reality .50 calibers gun are often used in competition target shooting. We have seen that people’s misunderstanding of firearms leads to this type of legislation. I point to the SAFE Act as another example of failing to understand firearms and letting fears override logic.

Additionally, the anti-gun activists pushed for increased inspection of gun dealers and one downstate legislator emphasized this was more important upstate than downstate. Our upstate gun dealers are responsible small-businesses owners who contend with some of the toughest gun-control laws in the country. The fact of the matter is that gun violence is more rampant in downstate inner cities where illegal gun sales are the reason for deadly gun violence. To make broad, baseless statements about upstate gun dealers and then to imply that this is the problem with street gun violence is irresponsible and untrue.

The lack of understanding about firearms and gun violence among some legislators is disturbing and highlights our need to be vigilant. We need to continue to educate others, engaging in meaningful dialogues with citizens and pushing for our Second Amendment Rights.

I always welcome your input. Please share your ideas with me by calling my Herkimer office at 866-1632, my Johnstown Office at 518-762-6486, or by emailing me at [email protected].”