Assemblyman Butler unveils bill that would repeal several portions of SAFE Act in Northern New York
Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 9:09 am

Assemblyman Marc W. Butler, R-Newport, unveiled legislation Wednesday that repeals portions of the controversial SAFE Act throughout Upstate New York and Long Island.

The legislation would limit the SAFE Act’s restrictions only to New York City, while rolling back this attack on the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen throughout the rest of the state.

The repeal legislation was originally crafted for Upstate New York; however, it gained support from sportsmen on Long Island and Westchester, who asked the legislators to add their regions to the bill.

“What has always been one of our greatest strengths as a nation is our tolerance and understanding of our regional differences, New York State needs to learn this same lesson. My legislation is meant to reverse the efforts of New York City liberals through the so-called SAFE Act that have undermined our values, our rights and safety,” said Butler.

Butler’s district includes Clare, Clifton, Colton, Fine, Madrid, Norfolk, Parishville, Pierrepont and Stockholm. The district also includes all of Hamilton and Fulton counties and portions of Oneida and Herkimer counties.

“I am proud to partner with those who support our Second Amendment rights, whether they are at home in my district or any other region throughout the rest of New York State – together we will raise our voices on this issue. When we respect our differences, we all benefit; we project strength and promote freedom.”

The legislation includes the following key provisions to apply to all counties excluding those in New York City:

• Restore the previously-existing definition of the term “assault weapon.” The SAFE Act requires rifles that had just one of several “militarized” cosmetic features to be classified as assault weapons. Previous law allowed up to two features. So-called “assault weapons” are arbitrarily labeled as such and can be found in many hunters’ gun lockers;

• Remove prohibitions on transferring certain weapons to family members due to death of the gun owner. The governor’s SAFE Act is nothing more than “generational confiscation” of legally-owned firearms;

• Remove the prohibition on directly purchasing ammunition via the internet as well as the background check requirement for ammunition purchases, although it has yet to be implemented;

 Repeal excessive storage requirements outlined in the SAFE Act;

 Repeal the five-year recertification requirement for pistol permits, with the exception of Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties, which already had in place a five-year requirement; and

 Prohibit the creation of a Statewide License and Record Database, which will save millions in taxpayer dollars.

Recent figures from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) reported there were a total of 11,592 SAFE Act-related arrests and arraignments since the passage of the law, 9,646, or 81 percent of which occurred in New York City. A majority of these charges would have been addressed by already-existing laws. New York City gun crimes are a serious issue, but blanket laws like the SAFE Act fail to make individuals any safer, especially throughout the rest of the state.

Butler plans to take this legislation to his constituents through several events being planned in his district. He later plans to take this legislation on a listening tour to hold discussions with other stakeholders across the state in partnership with other legislators. Details will be announced at a later date.

“The SAFE Act is the wrong answer to confronting gun violence in our communities, and it will do more to undermine the constitutional rights of the many law-abiding gun owners across our state than it will make us safer,” said Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome. “As I’ve said since the SAFE Act was passed, I will do whatever I can to fight this attack on our Second Amendment rights and I am proud to support this legislation on behalf of all lawful gun owners.”

Griffo represents the 47th District, which encompasses a large portion of central and northern New York, including a swath running through the middle of St. Lawrence County from Massena to Fine, including Potsdam.

Senator Griffo has been a firm and vocal opponent of the SAFE Act from the start.

“What’s best for New York City is not always what’s best for upstate, and this legislation recognizes the need to respect the values and lifestyles of those people who live throughout my district and the rest of our state,” Griffo said. “Once we repeal this flawed and misguided legislation, we must focus our attention on the mental health issues that I believe are truly more to blame for the violent tragedies that we continue to face.”

The bill is also sponsored by Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda.