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Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Hawley continues push to repeal SAFE Act

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) continued his fight to restore the Second Amendment rights of his constituents in Albany by pushing for a repeal of the SAFE Act. Hawley helped force a vote on legislation he cosponsors (A.6238) in the Assembly Codes Committee, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. While vowing to continue fighting to repeal the SAFE Act, Hawley noted that his bill was defeated by Downstate, New York City interests.

“I am working hard with my colleagues who cherish the Second Amendment to see the rights enshrined by it restored. We got a vote on legislation that would repeal the SAFE Act, but it was unfortunately voted down by Downstate Assembly liberals,” Hawley said. “They voted to put honest, law-abiding people in jail for exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protect their families. Their actions have only strengthened my resolve to stand up for the good people of Western New York who should be enjoying their full Second Amendment rights.”

As long as the Assembly is controlled by Downstate liberals, Hawley recognizes that repeal through legislative means is likely dead on arrival. However, he is hopeful that a lawsuit working its way through the court system will find the SAFE Act unconstitutional when it arrives at the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Hawley vows to continue doing his part to restore the Second Amendment through outspoken advocacy and organizing fellow Second-Amendment enthusiasts.

Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Protesters turn out on cold morning at State Police barracks to rally against Cuomo, SAFE Act

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 2nd Amendment, Andrew Cuomo, SAFE Act

More than 100 gun rights advocates turned out this morning in 20-degree whether at the NYSP barracks on West Saile Drive to protest the SAFE Act.

As expected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the target of the protest signs and the speakers' rhetoric, but as it turned out, Cuomo gave the protesters a little extra ammunition when, during a radio interview yesterday, the first-term governor said, “If they are extreme conservatives, they have no place in the State of New York."

More than one speaker mentioned Cuomo's statement and suggested that perhaps it's Cuomo who should leave New York and is the one out of step with the majority of New Yorkers.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley also took Cuomo to task for his statement.

“The governor’s comments about my constituents are offensive and are a Freudian slip, which reveals what he truly thinks of Upstate New Yorkers. He has no right to come to Upstate New York and call himself governor when he has such obvious disdain for its people,” Hawley said. “The majority of Upstate New Yorkers are pro-Second Amendment and believe in traditional family values.

"If the governor does not think the good people of Upstate New York have a place in New York, he seems to be doing a good job of driving our families out of the state with his highest-in-the-nation taxes and infringements on our rights.”

Cuomo's apparent lack of fondness for the people of Upstate New York is yet another reason, Hawley said, for supporting his call for a voter referendum on dividing New York into two states.

For more on Cuomo's statement, see this Buffalo News article.

We had a request to purchase these photos, so, for anybody who would like to purchase prints, click here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 12:18 am

Sheriff tells SCOPE members that SAFE Act enforcement is a matter of officer discretion

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, Gary Maha, SAFE Act, SCOPE

ADA Will Zickl

A police officer doesn't always need to write a ticket after making a traffic stop, nor does an officer need to arrest somebody suspected of violating the SAFE Act, Sheriff Gary Maha told members of Genesee County SCOPE at a packed meeting Tuesday night.

Maha said he's obligated under the oath of his office to uphold the law and if the Sheriff's Office receives a complaint about a possible violation of the SAFE Act, a deputy is required to investigate the complaint. It will be up to the deputy to decide whether an arrest is in order.

"An officer has the ability to exercise discretion and that's what we're going to do in Genesee County," Maha said.

His comments prompted applause from SCOPE members.

Maha, along with County Clerk Don Read, Assistant District Attorney Will Zickl and Undersheriff William Sheron were guests of SCOPE at its regular monthly meeting.

Zickl opened the discussion by recapping a recent court decision by U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny upholding much of the SAFE Act, or as Zickl called it repeatedly, "the so-called SAFE Act," and overturning others.

Skretny ruled the ban on assault rifles constitutional but threw out the limit on seven rounds in a magazine.

Zickl said the ruling was full of flawed logic.

"I hope there is some other court somewhere who tells him so," Zickl said.

The ruling only applies to the jurisdiction of Skretny's court, which is Western New York.

Read spent some time discusing a provision of the SAFE Act that requires all pistol permits to be recertified every five years.

The process, especially the first time around, is going to be burdensome and bureaucratic and to help get a jump on the process, the state is going to start sending out letters to pistol permit holders soon telling them to apply immediately for recertification. The first pilot project will begin soon in Albany County.

However, what the letters won't tell the holders, nor will any other state literature on the topic, Read said, is that recertification isn't required until 2018.

Read said he doesn't know what the state will do if permit holders simply don't respond to the early recertification request.

The state recently contacted all county clerks and asked if the clerks would like the county seal placed on letterhead sent to pistol permit holders informing them of the recertification process. Read said he told state officials no, but he and other county clerks are concerned the state will use county seals anyway.

Courtland County's Legislature has approved a resolution telling the state not to use its seal. Ray Cianfrini, the new chairman of the Genesee County Legislature, told SCOPE members that the local body will take up a similar resolution and he expects it to pass easily.

That brought another round of applause from SCOPE members.

SCOPE President Bill Fox raised a concern about a provision in the law that would require any pistol permit holder who loses his or her permit for any reason to turn in to State Police all of his or her guns, even rifles and shotguns.

"It's like a backdoor to take away the rest of your guns," Fox said.

Zickl said, "It's a very substantial and very troubling amendment to the law," adding, "you don't have to be too paranoid to be worried about that section of the law."

During his remarks, Maha noted that the governor proudly trumpeted a few weeks ago that so far there have been 1,291 arrests under the SAFE Act in New York.

"What he doesn't tell you is 1,029 were made in New York City," Maha said.

There have been no SAFE Act arrests in Genesee County, Maha said, and only a couple in the neighboring rural counties.

"The law doesn't make sense for Upstate," Maha said. "It was written by the people in New York City who don't know anything about guns because all they know is Downstate and down there guns kill people, so guns are evil. That's not true for us. We were brought up with guns. We hunt with them. We shoot targets with them, but that's not true if you're in New York City."

Sheriff Gary Maha, County Clerk Don Read and Assistant District Attorney Will Zickl.

A hand raised above the crowd during a Q&A portion of the meeting.

Bob Wilson asked a couple of questions, including asking why Genesee County doesn't secede from the rest of New York. Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Legislature, encouraged SCOPE members to support Assemblyman Steve Hawley's bill, which Hawley introduces every year, calling for a referendum on splitting New York in two. When the question was repeated, Cianfrini said, with a touch of a smile, "I don't think Genesee County will be seceding by itself."

Also, tomorrow, on the one year anniversary of the SAFE Act becoming law, one member of SCOPE said everybody who supports repeal of the SAFE Act should call the governor's office tomorrow and respectfully request the SAFE Act be repealed. The governor's office phone number is (518) 474-8390.

Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 7:20 am

Hawley highlights more evidence SAFE Act should be repealed

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) recently highlighted the newest problem with Governor Cuomo’s overreaching gun control law as another reason to repeal the measure. The State Police have confirmed that they will not begin tracking ammunition background checks and purchasing history on Jan. 15 as planned, due to their inability to compile a proper recording system by that time. Hawley pointed to the hang up as further proof that the bill was irresponsibly rushed into law.

“The SAFE Act was forced through so hastily that its authors didn’t even properly consider its impact on the very law enforcement agencies charged with upholding it,” Hawley said. “It is disturbing to think that this would be handled with such little care that a deadline for enforcement would be imposed that our own state police couldn’t be reasonably expected to meet.

"Between all of the amendments, corrections and corresponding protests from law-abiding gun owners, it could not be more clear that the SAFE Act must be repealed. As a co-sponsor of legislation to do just that, I will continue to fight for our constitutional rights and responsible measures to truly strengthen the safety of our communities.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Statement from Sheriff Gary Maha on SAFE Act

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act, Sheriff Gary Maha

While working on a story we published earlier, we asked Sheriff Gary Maha for his position on the SAFE Act. Here's what he e-mailed to The Batavian:

I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New York. I am sworn to uphold the laws whether I agree with them or not. It is up to the Courts to determine if a law is unconstitutional or not, and it is up to our State Legislature to pass, not pass, amend or repeal any laws. Unfortunately, the Safe Act is the law of the land, but we are not going to go out and actively enforce it. However, if we receive a complaint with regard to a violation of the Safe Act, we are obligated to investigate it and take appropriate police action, which could be arrest.

Monday, June 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Batavia council approves resolution calling for repeal of SAFE Act, 7-2

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act

Asked to support repeal of the SAFE Act, two Batavia City Council members voted no on the resolution, saying repeal goes too far.

Before the 7-2 vote Monday night, neither Patti Pacino nor Pier Cippolone offered specifics about what was good or bad with the law, which critics say violates the Second Amendment and does nothing to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.

"Repeal is too big for me," Pacino said. "I would rather change it a little bit and I'm not going to fight that battle right here."

The SAFE Act was pushed through by Gov. Andrew Cuomo following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Local government bodies across Upstate have been passing repeal resolutions, though such resolutions have no force of law.

"I do not agree with an outright repeal," Cippolone said. "There's some good and there's some bad and we need to work with the bad and leave the good."

Information provided by The Batavian's official news partner, WBTA.

Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hawley: Hearing planned on SAFE Act

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) will be joining a number of Assembly Minority Conference colleagues to hold a legislative hearing about the implementation of the recently enacted NY SAFE Act. The event will be held at the Amherst Town Hall Council Chamber in Williamsville at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 7 and will feature testimony from mental health professionals and representatives of county sheriffs and county clerks. The hearing will garner input from officials tasked with enforcing the new law in order to ensure that the safety and rights of New York’s citizens are being properly protected.

"The fallout from the SAFE Act has affected nearly every corner of this state," Hawley said." The controversial components have pitted law enforcement against county officials against state government, with the fate of the public hanging in the balance. It is my sincere hope that by bringing law enforcement professionals, county clerks, health experts and concerned citizens affected by this law together, we can all leave with a better understanding of how the SAFE Act affects us and how we can truly protect the safety of our communities as well as our constitutional rights."

Hawley recently held a local public hearing about the NY SAFE Act. In less than three months, a petition he circulated to repeal the law garnered 1,050 signatures from law-abiding citizens.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Hawley says that another flaw found in SAFE Act is more proof it should be repealed

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) highlighted a piece of legislation passed by the Assembly addressing yet another flaw in the NY SAFE Act as further proof that the law must be fully repealed. The bill would exempt certain retired law enforcement officers from restrictions related to magazine capacity. Hawley agreed with the principle of the effort, but noted that such loopholes illustrate the need to repeal the law and start from scratch.

“Not only should retired police officers be exempt from the NY SAFE Act, but so should veterans and every other law-abiding American citizen,” said Hawley. “It seems that as more time passes, more glaring flaws come to light. It comes as no surprise that the bad process used to force this law on New Yorkers has led to bad policy. The sad truth is, I have little doubt we will be amending this irresponsible law piece by piece for a long time to come. That’s why we must repeal the SAFE Act and approach sensible, life-saving measures the correct way; by incorporating the voices of law-abiding New Yorkers whose lives are affected by the legislature’s actions.”

Hawley recently wrote to Governor Andrew Cuomo sharing the results of a petition he circulated advocating the repeal of the NY SAFE Act. In less than three months, the petition garnered 1,050 signatures from local law-abiding citizens.

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Hawley calls on Cuomo to repeal SAFE Act, backed by petition with 1,050 signatures

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) recently wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding a petition the assemblyman circulated over the last two-and-a-half months urging the repeal of the governor’s new gun control laws, which garnered 1,050 signatures. Hawley implored the governor to reexamine the process and allow his constituents to make their voices heard.

The signers are “1,050 taxpaying, law-abiding Americans who feel that their rights have been infringed upon without any increase in public safety,” Hawley said in the letter. “Their voices were not heard during the hurried passage of this law. They deserved to be heard then and they deserve to be heard now. I urge you to repeal this law and come to the table, not only with members of the legislature, but with law enforcement officials, mental health professionals and, most importantly, the concerned citizens of our community who have the most at stake when it comes to the laws of our state.”

Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Photo: Sign of the times

post by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, Andrew Cuomo, elba, SAFE Act

I'm seeing quite a few anti-Cuomo, anti-SAFE Act signs around Genesee County this spring. This one is in Elba.

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