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Ortt, Destino battle over shooters’ ratings

NORTH TONAWANDA – Mayor Robert G. Ortt, the Republican candidate for 62nd District state senator, announced Wednesday that the Niagara County Shooters Committee on Political Education has downgraded its rating of Democratic candidate Johnny G. Destino from an A to a C-minus because Destino is being supported by unnamed officials who agree with the SAFE Act, the state’s controversial gun control law.

“I think it shows desperation on Ortt’s part. This race is tightening up,” Destino spokesman Tony Farina said.

Destino said in a debate last week he wants the SAFE Act repealed, as does Ortt, who has an A-plus rating from SCOPE and endorsements from the National Rifle Association and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.

“It is a clear conflict of interest for Johnny Destino to enthusiastically accept the endorsement of pro-SAFE Act officials while telling us he supports the Constitution,” said John Peracciny, co-chairman of Niagara County SCOPE.

“To me, it looks like a hit job,” Farina said of the news release. He accused Ortt of “trying to manipulate public opinion by having SCOPE mischaracterize Johnny Destino’s position.”