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2nd Amendment

May 20, 2013 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) recently wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding a petition the assemblyman circulated over the last two-and-a-half months urging the repeal of the governor’s new gun control laws, which garnered 1,050 signatures. Hawley implored the governor to reexamine the process and allow his constituents to make their voices heard.

The signers are “1,050 taxpaying, law-abiding Americans who feel that their rights have been infringed upon without any increase in public safety,” Hawley said in the letter. “Their voices were not heard during the hurried passage of this law. They deserved to be heard then and they deserve to be heard now. I urge you to repeal this law and come to the table, not only with members of the legislature, but with law enforcement officials, mental health professionals and, most importantly, the concerned citizens of our community who have the most at stake when it comes to the laws of our state.”

April 27, 2013 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Andrew Cuomo, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

I'm seeing quite a few anti-Cuomo, anti-SAFE Act signs around Genesee County this spring. This one is in Elba.

April 24, 2013 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) is set to host a public forum on New York’s new gun laws. The event, taking place on Thursday, April 25 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Genesee Community College (GCC) in Batavia, has been moved to the Stuart Steiner Theatre in order to facilitate the expected turnout.

Residents will have the chance to ask questions and learn about what the passage of the NY SAFE Act means to their rights as law-abiding gun owners. Hawley will be joined at the event by New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) President Tom King, Shooters Committee on Political Education (S.C.O.P.E) President Steve Aldstadt and a number of local law enforcement and government officials.

“Our local law-abiding gun owners have expressed overwhelming interest in the upcoming SAFE Act forum, and I am happy to move the event to a larger venue in an effort to accommodate all of our civically engaged, concerned citizens,” Hawley said. “This forum will give residents a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns over the NY SAFE Act, helping ensure that we can all protect our privacy and civil liberties to the fullest extent possible.”

Details on the event are as follows:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley Presents: An Educational Forum on the NY SAFE Act.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

6:30-8:00 p.m.
Genesee Community College
Stuart Steiner Theatre

April 18, 2013 - 3:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer, 2nd Amendment.

Press release:

Batavia, N.Y. – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced that he has added his name as a cosponsor to legislation (S3948) repealing the NYSAFE Act.

“When a bill is rushed to passage without proper review by the public and then passed in the middle of the night, the end result has a negative impact on residents. Since passage of the NYSAFE Act, I have heard from many concerned citizens, mental health professionals, county clerks and local government officials with very serious concerns about this new law.  In the past week alone, there have been numerous news reports that illustrate the law is not working for Western  New Yorkers. That is why I have signed on to legislation that would repeal the NYSAFE Act,” said Ranzenhofer.

Senator Ranzenhofer has written to New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, requesting a meeting to discuss recent reports that the State Police may have been instructed to investigate personal medical records for mental health cases and prescriptions for mental health issues.

The letter states: “Any unwarranted search of personal medical information could not only violate federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules, but raises serious ethical and constitutional concerns. Furthermore, simply owning a firearm should not be grounds for reviewing a citizen’s medical history.” 

Senator Ranzenhofer plans to introduce new legislation in the State Senate to prevent law enforcement officials from accessing medical records without a warrant or in violation of federal HIPAA privacy rules.

"The SAFE Act Law has dominated our office activity, staff time, and resources since the middle of January.  From the Opt-Out forms to registration of "assault" rifles and shotguns, from Mental Health Notifications to recertification procedures, we find we are besieged on all sides. Previous "unfunded mandates" for our office pale in comparison to what it will cost the county, and its taxpayers, to operate under the new gun laws this year," said Genesee County Clerk Don Read.  

“Never in my experience have I seen such a terrible law as the NYSAFE Act. A law that local and county governments, and law enforcement professionals from all across New York State have expressed opposition. On behalf of the members of SCOPE and the citizens of New York, I join Senator Ranzenhofer in calling for the repeal of this overreaching law, and for an investigation into the allegations of State Police unwarranted intrusions into New Yorkers private medical records,” said New York State SCOPE President Stephen Aldstadt.

"As the Chairperson of the Genesee County SCOPE Chapter, I represent a very concerned and frustrated group of law-abiding citizens. We are fortunate to have Senator Ranzenhofer representing us in Albany and supporting our endeavors to repeal the NYSAFE Act. We will continue to be diligent until the law is repealed," said Genesee County SCOPE Chapter Chairman Bill Fox.

Senator Ranzenhofer voted against the NYSAFE Act. 

The 61st Senate District encompasses: the Towns of Amherst, Clarence, and Newstead and the Villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; all of Genesee County; and the Towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.

April 16, 2013 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, 2nd Amendment.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) is set to host a public forum on New York’s new gun laws. The event, taking place on Thursday, April 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Genesee Community College (GCC) in Batavia, will give residents a chance to ask questions and learn about what passage of the NY SAFE Act means to their rights as law-abiding gun owners. Hawley will be joined by New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) President Tom King, Shooters Committee on Political Education (S.C.O.P.E) President Steve Aldstadt and a number of local law enforcement and government officials at the event.

“New York’s new gun control laws were jammed through the legislature with no time for public input or review,” Hawley said. “As a result, many law-abiding gun owners are unaware of the new rules, regulations and requirements that now encroach on our Second Amendment rights. This forum will give residents a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns over the NY SAFE Act, helping ensure that we can all protect our privacy and civil liberties to the fullest extent possible.”

Details on the event are as follows:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley Presents: An Educational Forum on the NY SAFE Act.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

6:30 to 8 p.m.
Genesee Community College
Auditorium at Conable Technology Building
Room T102
Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley Drive (1 College Road)
Batavia

Special Guests Include:
Tom King-NRA board member and president of the NYSRPA
Steve Aldstadt - president of S.C.O.P.E
Chief Deputy and Supervisor of Criminal Investigation Jerome Brewster - Genesee County Sheriff's Office
Representative from Orleans County Sheriff's Department
Karen Lake-Maynard - Orleans County Clerk
Don Read - Genesee County Clerk

March 1, 2013 - 9:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, 2nd Amendment.

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) recently joined the National Rifle Association, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, SCOPE and a large group of Second Amendment supporters at a rally outside of the Capitol that drew more than 5,000 attendees from Western New York and across the state. The event was held in opposition to the gun control legislation forced into passage in January. Approximately 48 hours after announcing the launch of his petition to repeal the law, the assemblyman has received more than 700 signatures.

“The attendance and response at the Second Amendment rally were like nothing I’ve ever seen during my time in state government,” Hawley said. “Between the enthusiasm at the event and the overwhelming response to my petition to repeal the gun control legislation, the people have spoken loud and clear, saying that ‘Our rights shall not be infringed!’ Democracy was betrayed by the hurried passage of this law, but the grassroots response from law-abiding gun owners continues to be a shining example of democracy in action.” 

Video of Assemblyman Hawley speaking about the Second Amendment can be found by clicking here or by visiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0aM_qWCIDI&feature=youtu.be. The petition to repeal the gun control legislation can be found at bit.ly/HawleyPetition or by visiting http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Stephen-Hawley/story/50987/.

February 28, 2013 - 3:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment.

Add Genesee County to the official list of government agencies and local organizations that are calling for a repeal of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's SAFE Act.

The legislature on Wednesday, in a unanimous vote, approved a resolution that will be sent to Albany and Washington calling on elected officials to protect the Second Amendment.

Local residents and gun-rights supporters attended the meeting to encourage the legislature to approve the resolution. Many said the SAFE Act was hastily enacted and infringes on the rights of citizens to own firearms.

“There’s no reason for having people who didn’t commit any crime be punished for something that never took place, especially in our state," Darien resident Dave Alvord said. "It’s just another way to take away their freedom.”

The resolution is merely advisory. It will take Albany politicians to make any changes or repeal the act.

“What we are doing here tonight is we are sending our message to those who are mentioned at the end of the resolution," Legislator Shelley Stein said. "So it would go to the president of the United States, the two U.S. senators, our U.S. congressmen, followed by our governor and our two legislative representatives.”

Voices are rising up across the state to protest the law, and that's a good thing, legislators said.

“It’s extremely important to send that message to our governor, to our legislature, to anyone that will listen," Legislator Esther Leadley said.

The state county clerk's association as well as the sheriff’s association have denounced the law already.

“There’s certain areas we’re in agreement with and there’s areas we’re not in agreement with," Sheriff Gary Maha said, "particularly the ban against assault weapons, the broad definition of assault weapons, (and) and the seven-round clips to me is kind of ridiculous. So there are areas that we feel infringe upon Second Amendment rights.”

It's unusual for legislators to meet before a full house of concerned citizens, but the bill already had proven to have strong backing from the legislators. It passed two previous committees unanimously.

Ray Cianfrini, who first brought the resolution to the legislature, was unable to attend Wednesday's meeting, so the final vote was 8-0.

WBTA contributed to this story.

February 21, 2013 - 7:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment.

New York City-based Heavy.com, which bills itself as an entertainment Web site for men, apparently has developed an interest in who owns handguns in Genesee County.

Aaron Nobel, editor of Heavy.com, sent a request to Sheriff Gary Maha under New York's Freedom of Information Law on Jan. 25 asking for a database of all handgun permit holders in Genesee County.

Maha denied the request in Feb. 4 letter citing the SAFE Act, which placed a 120-day freeze on disclosure of handgun license information.

The moratorium is intended to give pistol permit holders an opportunity to file paperwork opting out of release of their permit information. The County Clerk's office has been besieged by gun owners seeking to block release of the information.

Nobel did not respond to e-mails from The Batavian with questions about the nature and reason for his publication's request.

The Batavian obtained Nobel's letter and Maha's response through its own FOIL request to the Sheriff's Office.

County Clerk Don Read informed members of the Genesee County Legislature on Tuesday of Heavy.com's request.

Read's office would be the proper agency to file a FOIL request for such data, and Read said once the 120-day moratorium expires, he can still withhold the information under FOIL exemptions for "an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" and "if disclosed could endanger the life or safety of any person."

If Read does oppose the release, he said he would expect the matter to be taken to court. Among the questions we asked Nobel that went unanswered is whether Heavy.com would pursue court action to try and force disclosure of the data.

Pistol permits should not be public record, Read told legislators.

"I don’t see why these people should be singled out any more than, say, give me a list of all the motor vehicle owned who have SUVs," Read said. "Motor vehicle records are considered confidential. We can’t give you any information on the number of vehicles registered in New York State or the names and addresses of motor vehicle registrants. I don't see why (gun owners) should be singled out."

Since Nobel did not respond to The Batavian, we don't know if he made the same request of other counties in the state.

While the SAFE Act was a knee-jerk reaction from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the opt-out provision of the law was drafted in response to a newspaper in Westchester County publishing an online map of pistol permit holders. The newspaper eventually succumbed to public pressure and removed the map from its site.

In his request, Nobel said, "I represent a news and information Web site that is seeking this information for news-gathering purposes" and said that release of the information was "in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public's understanding of the prevalence and location of gun ownership within their communities."

February 20, 2013 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment.

There is growing opposition in Upstate New York to the hastily passed SAFE Act and the Genesee County Legislature is about to join the growing chorus of jeers.

The legislature will vote on a resolution next week calling for repeal of the law, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed through with little public notice following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"This has tremendous implications for those of us who are gun owners and support the Second Amendment, so I hope somebody is listening to us," said Legislator Ray Cianfrini, who chaired the Public Service Committee meeting last night, where the resolution was introduced.

County Clerk Don Read (top photo) spoke in favor of the resolution and noted that since the first of the year his office has been flooded with requests for handgun permits and that over the past few days, people have been lining up to opt out of public disclosure of permit information.

Typically, Read said, his office can expect about 20 applications in winter months for pistol permits. In January, his office received 65 applications.

"I don't see how we can continue to keep up the pace," Read said. "It is already wearing down the staff. The tension and stress of having lines go out the door has really been difficult."

Robert Kowalski (inset photo) said he came to the legislature as a concerned citizen and asked that local lawmakers bring political pressure to get the SAFE Act revised or repealed.

"I feel it's unconstitutional and will do nothing to deter crime," Kowalski said.

Cianfrini said he found three problems with the legislation: First, it was rushed through (the 25,000-word bill was given to legislators for the first time an hour before the vote); second, the normal minimum three-day review period for a bill was waived (which Cianfrini thinks will be challenged in court); and, the law could be unconstitutional.

"I don't know how else to say it: It was shoved down our throats," Cianfrini said.

(For an explanation of the SAFE Act, click here).

Read agreed that the new law was rushed through.

"The law was put together in a haphazard, over-the-weekend process," Read said. "(Sen.) Mike Ranzenhofer and (Assemblyman) Steve Hawley both said how upset they were that all they could do was vote no. They had no say over the law, no ability to amend, nothing to do with the process."

Assuming the local legislature passes the resolution calling for repeal of the SAFE Act, Genesee County would become at least the 22nd county to oppose the new law.

Sheriffs, county clerks and even public health officials across the state have taken stands against it.

One thing the SAFE Act did do that many gun owners support is create the ability for citizens to ask that their pistol permit information be kept confidential.

Currently, pistol permits are public record. For the next 120 days, people can file requests with county clerks to opt out of disclosure of their permit data.

Those who fail to meet the deadline will still have their records made public upon request through the Freedom of Information Law.

Read said he's already received a FOIL request for permit holders names and addresses from one anti-gun Web site. He said he plans to oppose the request, which he believes will be supported by county attorney.

Read believes he can withhold the information under FOIL exemptions for "an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" and "if disclosed could endanger the life or safety of any person."

If Read does oppose the release, he said he would expect the matter to be taken to court.

Pistol permits should not be public record, Read said.

"I don’t see why these people should be singled out any more than, say, give me a list of all the motor vehicle owned who have SUVs," Read said. "Motor vehicle records are considered confidential. We can’t give you any information on the number of vehicles registered in New York State or the names and addresses of motor vehicle registrants. I don't see why (gun owners) should be singled out."

NOTE: Kowalski has created a petiton for people to sign and be included with the resolution and sent to Albany. To download a PDF of the petition, click here. Download the petition, get people to sign it and then deliver it to the Old Courthouse.

January 29, 2013 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 2nd Amendment.

An effort by Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian at Monday's city council meeting to garner support for an assault weapon's ban got a mixed response.

Christian, along with members Patti Pacino and Pierluigi Cipollone both questioned why anybody would need to own an "assault weapon," while all three said they support the Second Amendment.

Members Kathy Briggs, Brooks Hawley and Jim Russell all said supporting the Second Amendment meant not going after anybody's weapons.

Nobody questioned whether it was really the place for the Batavia City Council to take up the issue.

"Only police departments and the military should have assault weapons," Christian said.

She also said the council should encourage schools to install bulletproof glass in doors and windows.

Briggs followed Christian and said she completely disagreed with Christian on the issue.

An effort to ban one kind of gun opens to the door for other bans and undermines the Second Amendment, Briggs said.

For Russell, banning assault rifles is just a "Band-Aid" approach.

"I don't think the solution is to ban guns," Russell said. "It doesn't address the real issue."

Answering the suggestion that while hunters may not need "assault rifles," competitive shooters do, Cipollone said that even competitive shooters shouldn't own such guns. The venue that hosts the competition should own the guns and loan them to the competitors, he said, and collect guns at the end of the competition.

No vote was taken by the council on the issue.

January 26, 2013 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in guns, Gary Maha, 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act.

From Sheriff Gary Maha:

I have been receiving numerous inquiries in reference to what is the New York State Sheriffs' position with regard to the NY SAFE Act.

Fifty-two of the 58 Sheriffs met during our annual winter conference last week in Albany, NY, and discussed this legislation at length. There are a number of provisions in the law that the Sheriffs find to be helpful to law enforcement and to our citizens. However, there are also a number of provisions which cause us concern, and which we think should be revisited by the Governor and State Legislature. The Sheriffs of New York State are willing to work with the Governor and State Legislature as revisions and additions to the NY SAFE Act are considered.

Attached is the position statement of the New York State Sheriffs with regard to the NY SAFE Act. This position statement was sent to the Governor and State Legislative leaders.

Click here to read the position statement (PDF).

August 14, 2012 - 11:39pm

The 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution got a ringing endorsement Tuesday from three of the top-ranking elected officials who represent Genesee County.

Rep. Kathy Hochul, State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steven Hawley all appeared at SCOPE's monthly meeting to talk about what they're doing to help prevent extremists on the left from stripping gun owners of their right to own firearms.

Ranzenhofer started off the evening by discussing how important a Republican majority is in the State Senate to protecting gun rights.

"There are people out there who don’t like you and want to take away your rights," Ranzenhofer said.

When Ranzenhofer was first in office, and the GOP didn't have a majority in the Senate, he said anti-gun Democrats regularly tried to push new laws to restrict gun and ammo sales.  Since the GOP regained control of the upper chamber, "we’ve not had to be constantly on guard for new legislation coming up," Ranzenhofer said.

Now, Ranzenhofer said, the biggest worry at the state level for gun-rights advocates is a popular governor who wants to push through legislation to restrict the rights of gun owners.

Hochul said she comes from a family of gun-rights advocates. She has two brothers in Maryland, she said, who are expert marksmen. While Hochul said she isn't big into hunting or target shooting herself, she has taken safety courses and knows how to handle a firearm.

"When a bill comes up that affects your 2nd Amendment rights, I’m on your side," Hochul said.

While clerk in Erie County, Hochul said she streamlined the process for a gun permits from a year or longer to four months, and three of those months involve the State of New York doing background checks.

"Some of you may say I have a 'D' after my name and I can't vote for you," Hochul said. "Well, fine, but I still represent you. I am independent and I look at each and every issue as what's best for the people of Western New York. Sometimes the Democrats are right and sometimes they're really wrong. Some times the Republicans are right and some times they are really wrong."

According to Hochul, when the gun rights groups come out with their congressional rankings soon, she will receive a very high grade for her voting record for her first year in office.

"I'm very proud of my ranking," Hochul said.

Hochul also noted that she opposed the "Fast and Furious" operation, which provided guns to drug gangs in Mexico, and believes Attorney General Eric Holder should respect the powers of Congress under the Constitution and turn over all "Fast and Furious" documents to the House of Representatives, a demand from Congress the Obama Administration is fighting.

Hochul faces the most serious reelection challenge in November of the three officials who spoke Tuesday and SCOPE Chairman Jack Taylor said he contacted the campaign for her challenger, Chris Collins, to invite Collins to the meeting, but didn't get a response.

Hawley talked a good deal about his work on veterans' issues, particularly his annual Patriot Tour of Washington, D.C., and noted that while his colleague in the Senate, Ranzenhofer, may need to deal with only two anti-gun zealots in that chamber, the state Assembly is filled with 40 or 50 people eager to water down the 2nd Amendment.

Hawley said those representatives deal with a very different constituency than Assembly members in Upstate and Western New York, where people often live on a bit of land, own their own homes, like to hunt and fish and target shoot.

In noting the differences, Hawley segued into a discussion of a bill he has repeatedly sponsored -- allowing a referendum vote on whether New York should be split into two states.

Taylor spoke between each guest and hammered home the same point: Gun rights advocates need to educate the public on the difference between law-abiding citizens who own guns and criminals who not only use guns but other implements to commit their crimes.

"In all my years in retail, I've never seen a gun jump off the shelf and shoot somebody," Taylor said.

Some of the blame for the misrepresentation of guns falls on the media, Taylor noted, reminding SCOPE members that you never see a headline that says "Chevy and Budweiser kills family of four," but you do see headlines like "Glock used in murder spree."

The former county coroner said the most common way that young people die a violent death in Genesee County is from drunken driving, while there is only about one homicide every seven years locally (worth noting: the last homicide locally was Scott Doll beating to death his victim, no gun involved).

"We are all against crime, whatever the implement," Taylor said. "We need to separate the crime from the implement. There’s not a gun law out there that ever saved a life or prevented a criminal from committing a crime."

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