WARSAW, NY - By 15-1 vote, the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a resolution calling on New York State to repeal controversial gun control laws, contained in the SAFE Act.
"It's got no teeth," acknowledged Board of Supervisors Chairman A.D. Berwanger of Arcade, regarding what is a "memorializing resolution", which has no power of law but does put the Board of Supervisors on the record as a body in opposition to the SAFE Act.
The measure, passed by state legislators as a part of a Message of Necessity from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was strongly criticized by lawmakers in the rural upstate county.
"We feel it's a knee jerk reaction to what happened in Newton Connecticut," said Pike Supervisor Larry Rogers, who chairs the Public Safety Committee. "This was just rammed through...there was no time period for the residents of the state of New York to have any input," Rogers told WGRZ-TV.
In their resolution (Item 35 on the agenda linked here), lawmakers used terms such as "an egregious violation of the second amendment" ..."onerous and burdensome", and "beyond the lawful legislative authority of state representatives" to describe the SAFE Act.
Orangeville Town Supervisor Gerald Stout, who formerly served 20 years as Wyoming County District Attorney, said, "I've been trying to think of a single murder in all that time which this act could have prevented. I can't think of a single one."
"This is a message to our state state senator and state senators, to our state assemblyman and assemblymen, and to the Governor, that the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors, which represent 45,000 thousand citizens here in Wyoming County oppose what happened," said Berwanger. "This is just one form of the government getting their hand in your private life and telling you what you need to do...and this has gone way too far."
The lone "no" vote came from Java Supervisor Jim Fleischman ,a Democrat, and himself a gun owner. Fleischman told Two On Your Side that while the SAFE Act isn't perfect, something needs to be done to start curbing gun violence.
Wyoming County Sheriff Farris Heimann also came to the meeting, and publicly thanked lawmakers for "speaking out and standing up for your constituents."
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Scott May. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2