By Budd Schroeder
I would like to comment on the Another Voice column by Paul McQuillen regarding the SAFE Act. First, I challenge the data he uses to bolster his argument that 92 percent of the population approves of background checks and 67 percent approves of the SAFE Act, as do four out of five women. If the poll was taken in Manhattan, it might give those results, but polls taken upstate and nationally disagree.
He also stated that only 18 percent of New York households have guns. That might hold true in New York City, but it obviously is not true upstate. Just comparing the numbers of pistol permit holders and hunting licenses would destroy that low number.
The dismal margin of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s re-election victory is evidence that the SAFE Act is not popular with upstate citizens. McQuillen also failed to mention that the law was passed literally in the middle of the night without the usual three-day waiting period to allow adequate debate and input from the citizens.
McQuillen neglected to say that 52 county legislatures and 265 town governments passed resolutions requesting repeal of the law. Add additional similar resolutions by 24 law enforcement organizations and another two dozen resolutions by service groups. This is data contradicting his statement regarding popularity of the law.
McQuillen dedicates a paragraph on gun crimes and penalties. However, these were in effect prior to the SAFE Act, like “making the use of a gun in the commission of a crime a felony.” That was in effect for many decades before the SAFE Act, as were the others.
He criticizes Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma, for sponsoring bills to repeal the SAFE Act. Gallivan is a former captain in the State Police and Erie County sheriff. He knows what laws affect criminals and what works.
One part of the bill is particularly egregious. It denies the right of people who have taken an anti-depressant to possess a firearm. A lawsuit is in progress involving a defendant who went to a hospital because of insomnia. After the successful treatment, he received a notice that he had to surrender his pistol permit and all long guns.
This deprives a person of property without just compensation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners are affected. The supporters of the SAFE Act don’t seem to grasp that criminals don’t obey laws. Legislators also conveniently dismiss the term “infringed” as stated in the Second Amendment.
The most egregious part is that there is no due process. People affected lose constitutional protections without so much as a hearing.
This is a dangerous provision. The law does absolutely nothing to protect citizens from gun violence and it should be repealed.
Budd Schroeder is chairman of the board of the Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE).