St. Lawrence County reps criticizing new Assembly gun control restriction
Monday, March 4, 2019 - 6:03 pm

Two local assemblymen are criticizing another gun control measure pushed through the Assembly Monday, March 4 by the Democratic majority.

Assembly Bill 2686A creates penalties for anyone who fails to properly follow the strict firearm storage regulations set by the state, said press releases from Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C,Ref-Meco) whose district includes portions of St. Lawrence County, and River District Assemblyman Mark Walczyk (R,C,I,Ref-Watertown).

Under current law, safe storage of guns is only required if a person living in the household is federally prohibited from owning a gun, but not if there are children in the house, said a press release from the Assembly speaker Carl Heastie.

Bill 2686A will require that in households with children, all guns are safely stored when not in possession of the gun owner.

Failure to do so would be a class A misdemeanor.

Individuals would also be required to follow the restriction when children are present in their homes, even if the children do not reside there.

Smullen called the bill “another unjust gun control bill, forced through the Assembly.”

“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle continued their infringement on our constitutional rights today,” said Smullen. “With the stroke of a pen they have turned my law-abiding friends and relatives into criminals. Downstate politicians who have police on every corner are not accustomed to what response times are like in Upstate New York. Taking a firearm out of a complicated storage process could be a matter of life or death. We already have laws on the books that require storage for firearms; this is outrageous and could cost lives.”

Walczyk agreed.

“Today I watched many of my colleagues uphold the oath they swore to this office, others who didn’t,” said Walczyk. “By continuing to impose restrictions and regulations on those who already follow the law, they continue their degradation of the Second Amendment. Why are we punishing sportsmen and hunters? Something my colleagues tend to neglect is that it is our duty to protect the sanctity of the Constitution, which includes a guarantee of the right to bear arms. My vote will always be one to protect the Constitution.”

Supporters of the bill praised its passage as a step towards ensuring child safety.