Niagara Co. Leg wants SAFE Act repealed

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — The debate over gun control is firing up in Niagara County, where a rally protesting the NY SAFE Act was held in Lockport on Tuesday.

Around 100 people turned out and gathered on the steps of the Niagara County Courthouse, despite the rain, snow and biting wind. Gun rights advocates say the new law is overreaching and won't make people safer.

"People that are crazy won't obey the law. People that are criminals won't obey the law. The people who are going to obey the law are the people who are already obeying the law. You don't have to worry about them," Michael O'Flaherty argued.

Rally organizer David Mongielo said, "The laws they have in NYC, you can't own any weapons. Chicago, you can't own any weapons. Yet they have the highest crime rate. So pushing through something like this doesn't make any sense. You take guns away from honest people."

And Patrick Needle added, "They're addressing the wrong areas. It should be addressed in the mental health, the criminals...anybody I encountered in my law enforcement career [who had] a weapon, it was an illegal weapon."

The Niagara County Legislature took up the issue Tuesday night, and all 14 county lawmakers voted for a resolution calling on Albany to repeal the NY SAFE Act.

Legislator John Syracuse said, "Let me begin by saying four very clear words: shall not be infringed."

"Our forefathers gave us the Second Amendment, the Right to Bear Arms, to protect ourselves from any tyranny of government," said Legislator David Godfrey.

Legislator Richard Updegrove said, "The process by which the state act passed was an obscene aberration of the normal legislative process. And regardless of your thoughts on the right to possess and bear firearms, as citizens of the State of New York you are disrespected by the Governor."

Advocates who rallied earlier in the day gave a standing ovation after the resolution was unanimously passed.

Two other resolutions were passed by the Legislature Tuesday night. One called on the Governor to protect the privacy of pistol permit holders and the other called the five-year pistol permit renewal requirement an undue burden on constitutional rights.

Wyoming and Cattaraugus counties have passed similar no-confidence resolutions on the NY SAFE Act.

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