Panelists help clarify SAFE Act

BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Gun rights supporters have again joined forces to make their voices heard to try and shoot down New York's SAFE Act.

All six of Thursday night's panelists in Batavia agree it's unlikely the SAFE Act will be repealed, despite all of these rallies and forums. Ultimately, these gun rights owners and advocates are preparing for battle all the way to the Supreme Court.

Hundreds turned out to Genesee Community College. It was standing room only and the registration line was out the door. Most, if not all, were very upset the law was passed without public comment. Many were also unclear about parts of the new law, and set out to have their questions answered by the panelists.

But even with experts available, many questions still remain unanswered because this law is the first of its kind. Even some of the panelists were unsure.

Republican Steve Hawley, who represents Genesee and Orleans counties, hosted the forum. Hawley is one of 44 state legislators who voted "no" on the SAFE Act.

"It's extremely important to have informational gatherings like this for citizens," Hawley said. "We want to know their feelings on things. We want them to be informed about any new law that takes effect and so that's what this is going to accomplish tonight."

SAFE Act opponent Ann Collins said, "I feel it's not going to take anything out of the criminal's hands because the criminals are still going to be able to get their hands on these guns regardless."

An Iraq War veteran who served two tours overseas was also at Thursday night's meeting and was very concerned about what the mental health provisions mean for veterans who may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Though the Department of Veteran Affairs has stated it would not comply with the NY SAFE Act, veteran Jennifer Bryant worries about those who seek help elsewhere.

"There are still veterans who seek private care and it's up in the air, as they said in there, if they're going to be protected," Bryant said. "Not there's this fear of whether or not you're safe to go seek help."

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