Andes fails to pull trigger on anti-SAFE Act resoluton
By Geoff Samuels
The Andes Town Board has tabled a resolution to join the Sheriffs’ Association and numerous other entities in opposing the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE).
After hearing from several members of the public at last Tuesday’s meeting, the town board agreed to delay any vote on the measure, pending modifications to the proposed resolution.
The NY SAFE legislation, passed on the heels of the Newtown Connecticut shooting, had been hurriedly crafted by the State Legislature and immediately signed into law on January 15 by Governor Cuomo. The town’s opposition to the new law, called Resolution 3 of 2013, was a proposal “opposing the process and enactment and certain provisions contained within the SAFE Act.” If passed by the board, the document was slated to be sent off to a host of politicians including Governor Cuomo, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama to name a few.
Resolution 3 of 2013 picks up on the surrounding communities’ and indeed statewide efforts to rail against the arguable unconstitutionality of the new legislation.
Seeks law’s repeal
Part of the Andes resolution reads: “Be it resolved, that the Andes Town Board does hereby oppose, and request the repeal of any legislation, including the sections within the NY SAFE Act (Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2013), which infringe upon the rights of the people to keep and bear arms; and further, Be it resolved that the Andes Town Board considers such laws to be unnecessary and beyond the lawful legislative authority granted to our State representatives.”
Just prior to the board attempting to move on the resolution, Councilman Bud Gladstone requested that the public be heard for any input that they might have on the proposal. Murmurs of “yes” and “definitely” were immediately heard from the audience prompting Town Supervisor Martin Donnelly to act on Gladstone’s request and ask for the audience’s opinion.
First to take the floor was Jeff Ditchek of Andes who stood up and said, “This is the first I’m hearing of it, and I find it absolutely disgusting that we would be doing this, it doesn’t represent any of the views…I would consider moving out of Andes if we pass that, that’s how strongly I feel.”
After vigorously asserting that the state’s new legislation does not impinge upon the rights of most legal gun owners, but only tries to protect the public from “nuts that are out there,” Ditcheck finished his plea saying “I would strongly, strongly ask you to not pass this, and if (you do), I would be ashamed to say that I’m involved with the Town of Andes.”
Another Andes resident Bill Feldman took the floor next, and spoke in favor of the town’s resolution saying that he disagreed with any law that didn’t give legislators time to read it, or any law that didn’t allow the input of the public.
“So we need public input on this (the town’s resolution) before we send it out,” he said, “but I have to tell you that I’m in favor of it because, (in reference to the state’s new mandate), I don’t like any hastily made laws, I think they’re stupid.”
Next to take the floor was Susan Smith of Andes who thanked both the preceding speakers for expressing their opinions, and went on to say that she was not in favor of the resolution because it went too far.
“It is important to take a look at what kinds of guns people have,” she said, but added that she too thought the town’s resolution needed more public input before it was finalized. “Maybe the resolution goes a little too far…but it doesn’t mean that a resolution cannot be created to speak to what you are talking about… that this particular bill was (enacted) too fast and that we need to stop and take a look at it.”
After a few more minutes of discussion amongst almost everyone in the room, Supervisor Donnelly asked the board to either approve or table the resolution, at which time it was tabled by unanimous vote pending further modifications.