Tonawanda News

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January 17, 2013

Locals react to state's sweeping gun control legislation

Locals reactto state's sweeping legislation with skepticism

Tonawanda News — The day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the nation’s strictest gun laws, local sportsmen, hunters and gun owners spoke out against the measure — arguing it won’t be effective and infringes on civilians’ constitutional rights. 

The new law, named the SAFE NY Act, provides for an immediate ban on semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pistols with a “military-style feature,” such as a flash suppressor or a bayonet mount and bans magazines that hold more than seven rounds of ammunition.

It also requires universal background checks for all those applying to buy guns and ammunition, whether from a private seller or from a gun show, and boosts the state’s power to confiscate arms from the mentally ill.

Then, to further vex protesters, President Barack Obama unveiled plans Wednesday for national gun control laws, following much of New York’s example.

But despite the state law’s wide reach, those who legally own guns are questioning if it will do anything to prevent the mass shootings communities all over the county have been experiencing.

“What makes a criminal a criminal is that he doesn’t obey these laws,” said Harold Schroeder, a club member at Mohawk Rifle and Pistol Club in the Town of Tonawanda. “All but one of these incidents occurred in a gun free zone...when you do the math, less than 1/4 of 1 percent of gun owners have been violent.”

Schroeder, the president of Judges & Police Conference of Erie County, has dedicated himself to protecting gun rights for decades. And like many others, he took issue with how the bill was passed — quickly, and without the usual three day discussion period. 

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, a Kenmore Democrat, was one of 43 in his body to vote against the measure, said he also objected to Cuomo’s method.

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