Updated: Bethlehem board takes up gun fight

Councilman suggests town officially support SAFE Act

UPDATE: The Bethlehem Town Board is no longer proposing to pass a resolution in favor of the SAFE Act at the local level. "We received some e-mails and calls from residents on both sides of the issue," said Supervisor John Clarkson. "We now feel the topic might detract from town business and we, as town officials, are elected to oversee issues within the Town of Bethlehem." To view the letter submitted by Supervisor Clarkson, as well as Town Board members Jeffrey Kuhn, Bill Reinhardt and Kyle Kotary click here.

The fierce debate over New York’s new gun law ended up being fought on the local level at a Wednesday, Feb. 27, Bethlehem Town Board meeting, after Councilman Jeffrey Kuhn suggested the board pass a resolution in support of the restrictions.

The resolution to support the SAFE Act was brought up during the new business portion of the meeting and was not on the meeting’s agenda. It was discussed at length without being passed, though it is likely the board will take up the subject again.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Linda Jasinski first stood to ask if the town would pass a resolution that stated the town was against the new gun law, “if for no other reason than the way it had been passed.”

Jasinski said the Town Board has made a great effort to practice open and transparent government, but as of late the state legislature has not.

“In the middle of the night, with a message of necessity, they passed a law that comes very close to infringing on people’s Second Amendment rights, if it doesn’t infringe on them,” she said.

Jasinski told the board about 20 other towns and about 30 counties had already passed similar resolutions, along with the state sheriffs’ association. She said no matter how Town Board members felt about guns, Bethlehem contains both a gun shop and a shooting range that could be affected by the law, along with the many hunters in the area.

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