The most viewed article on the New NY 23rd has been Repeal the SAFE Act—More Hype than Bite?, It has been viewed 685 times since it was posted on February 18, 2014. The point of the article was that there are many reasons that the SAFE Act would be very difficult to repeal. It was suggested that Gun Rights activists should work to amend it. To repeal the law many New York State legislators would have to change their minds, or, elect enough pro-gun Senators and Assemblymen to become a majority. Both were a mighty difficult task.
I don’t think I need to review how the SAFE Act devastated the democratic Upstate landscape.
Jim Miller, the political journalist for the Finger Lakes Times, had an interesting slant in the SAFE Act in his weekly “Eye On Government” last Sunday, February 22. The title was “Maybe amend, not repeal, SAFE Act”.
Miller gave reasons the Republicans should try to amend it (One was that the downstate Democrats might take them more serious if they proposed reasonable fixes). He also explained why the Democrats should try to amend it—and this is where it gets interesting. (“…the party (Democrats) does want some upstate Republican votes to safeguard its hold on the governor’s mansion. If it cannot get those Republican votes, it wants them to stay home…” )
Miller also pointed out that Wayne County Board of Supervisors passed “partial repeal bills” which aimed at reducing the cost of some of the Act’s mandated provisions. He cited verifying gun ownership every five years and processing pistol permits as costly measures that could be adjusted. The Supervisors also noted that the seven-round limit is unrealistic since there are not seven-round magazines available. They must have not gotten the memo that in December 2013 a federal judge in the Buffalo eliminated the seven-round rule from the SAFE Act.
I contend that the Democrats should want more Upstate support in the legislature. In the 2014 State elections 10 Upstate Senate races had no Democrats running–3 in the NY-23rd Congressional District (#54, held by Sen. Mike Nozzolio, #57; held by Sen Catherine Young; and #58, held by Sen. Tom O’Mara). There were 19 Upstate Assembly Districts with no Democrat candidate on the ballot –5 in the NY-23–(#124, held by Rep. Chris Friend; #131, held by Brian Kolb; #132, held by Re.p Phil Palmesano; #133, held by Bill Nojay; and #148, held by Rep. Joe Giglio). Having a viable Democratic Senate or Assembly candidate at the the top of the ballot, and a rousing Presidential campaign might bring out a high voter turnout in 2016. That might help democrats at both the State and Federal levels.
Does the Republican Party really want the SAFE Act amended? Would they be satisfied changing the law to verify gun ownership every ten years instead of five? Would they be willing to make money saving changes to the pistol permit portion of the SAFE Act? I think not, because the SAFE Act is such a political wind-fall for the Republican Party.
Would the Democrats be willing to weaken what they perceive as a life-saving law to gain Upstate support? I think not because that would be putting politics above protecting the public–and that is what government is suppose to do.
To quote the present Speaker of the House, “If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.”