I oppose the NY SAFE Act. I voted against it more than a year ago in a Tompkins County Legislature resolution and signed a pledge to support its repeal.
Rep. Tom Reed and others who claim that I support the SAFE Act are lying about my record.
At the Tompkins County Legislature last year, we heard more than 10 hours of public comment on the SAFE Act, which was 10 hours more than the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo heard. Before voting on this important issue, we listened to every member of the public who wanted to weigh in.
Perhaps because the SAFE Act was passed in such a rush, the resulting law infringes on the rights and privacy of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. It compels burdensome restrictions on the actions, choices and rights countless New Yorkers have taken, made and exercised legally and safely for generations.
The law includes arbitrary and confusing constraints. For example, the law’s broad, overreaching definition of assault weapon makes various modern sporting rifles illegal, including various guns used for hunting. Even for such guns that are grandfathered in, the SAFE Act prevents parents from passing them down to their children, a treasured tradition in many families.
Worse still, the SAFE Act is a move in the wrong direction when it comes to taking meaningful action to reduce gun violence. Criminals will not register their guns or use small magazines. Meanwhile, the restrictions will take up critical time and resources from law enforcement that should be focused on enforcing laws that do target criminals.
That’s what we should be doing: enforcing the laws directed at criminals and keeping guns out of their hands. Additionally, we should get serious about stopping repetitive crime and addressing issues with mental illnesses.
Unfortunately, to the contrary, various mental health experts have warned that the SAFE Act threatens their effectiveness because of the new reporting requirements. Their concern is that gun owners may conceal critical information during therapy or not seek treatment at all because they don’t want to risk losing their weapons.
As for the federal role in gun issues, the federal government should focus on enforcing existing laws and prevention measures. For instance, it should work to improve the accuracy of databases of criminal and mentally ill individuals and make sure they are kept up to date — which is important to ensure that background checks work. Like most responsible gun owners, I am in favor of universal background checks.
In Congress, I will work to ensure that law enforcement resources are not diverted to arbitrarily restricting responsible gun owners but are rightly directed at criminals, and that the federal government works closely with local and state law enforcement on prevention and enforcement. Americans have a right to expect that movie theaters, shopping malls, and schools will be safe places for their families.
I oppose the NY SAFE Act and voted against it. I have a voting record on the NY SAFE Act and Reed does not. He is lying about my record.
I’ve been hunting since I was a kid, and I’m 100 percent committed to maintaining the right to keep and bear arms for all of us here in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.
I like to head out to the field with my son each season, and spend the day with a great group of people making memories. The things you learn out on the field can’t be taught in a classroom, and this tradition is supported by something incredibly important — our fundamental right to keep and bear arms, recognized by our Founding Fathers and expressly protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Many states are attempting to legislate those rights away. That should be stopped. The NY SAFE Act is an example of overreach at a state level that motivates me at the federal level. I don’t support the SAFE Act because it unfairly burdens law-abiding citizens and infringes on our constitutional rights while demonstrating a clear trajectory of future anti-gun legislation.
Fifty-two counties in upstate New York have passed resolutions to repeal or amend the SAFE Act, with Tompkins County the lone holdout among the eleven in the 23rd Congressional District. My opponent was chairwoman at the time of passage, giving her an opportunity to stop the legislation. She chose not to do so. My opponent had also chosen to unfairly restrict the rights of sportsmen by banning rifle hunting in Tompkins County long before the SAFE Act.
It’s no surprise to hear my opponent refuse to go on record opposing the SAFE Act while she was accepting generous donations from anti-gun extremists in Washington. I signed the SCOPE anti-SAFE Act pledge because I care about western New York values and I have no problem putting my views on paper. My opponent has yet to sign the pledge.
Gun ownership is a right, and with that comes great responsibility. Our rights need to be protected, but we must also be responsible with our firearms and ensure that proper safety measures are taken at every turn. Because I care, I taught my children at a young age to remain diligent and respectful of firearms. The same must be done for our rights in western New York.
We need to focus our efforts on safety measures and doing everything possible to keep weapons out of the hands of children and criminals. In addition, we need to attack the root cause of gun violence and ensure we provide help for the individual behind the gun and care for individuals with mental health needs in America.
I took an oath to uphold the rights of all U.S. citizens, including the law-abiding citizens of western New York. I will stand firmly in protecting our Second Amendment rights and fight the many one-size-fits-all proposals out of Washington that jeopardize these rights on a regular basis. This is the right thing to do.
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