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COLUMN: We missed an opportunity, instead, New York passed gun law

— On Feb. 28, there was a gun rally in Albany. There was an estimated 10,000 people who attended from across the state. The rally represented not only those advocating for 2nd Amendment rights, but those fighting for democracy. There were thousands of people there who not only opposed the law, but were furious with the way in which it was passed. It was forced upon us. The public had no time to weigh in. Lawmakers had limited time to review the 39-page bill before the majority made this law.

As a result, people organized through email and Facebook campaigns and met in unified opposition to the so called NY SAFE Act. Fifty counties and multiple municipalities have proposed or passed resolutions across the state seeking its repeal. The Sheriff’s Association has come out in opposition.

Cuomo’s gun control law will cost taxpayer dollars to the tune of $37 million. We will spend $3.2 million from the general fund to pay for 25 positions to implement the law. It is estimated we will spend $32.7 million for the design of a pistol permit database. And there are additional costs that are incalculable at this time, particularly administrative costs to localities.

The rally was a signal to the Governor and the Democratic-majority that we hold our Constitutional rights dear. Making law-abiding gun owners criminals by changing the definition of an assault weapon and what is permissible was a bad idea. So are proposed laws that would require gun owners to take out $1 million in liability insurance.

Our nation was shaken and horrified at what happened in Newtown. Parents imagined that it could happen in their child’s schools. We grieved after the tragedy at the senseless loss of life, looking for ways to understand its horror. After such an evil act, we look for justice and we look to try and prevent another tragedy of this kind. Schools responded by increasing safety or reinstating previous safety protocols. It’s natural to look at the weapons used; however, we missed the opportunity to get a true dialogue started that would result in changes that might help our state. Instead, we slapped law-abiding citizens who had nothing to do with mass shootings and made them feel like criminals for owning certain types of firearms.

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