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Updated: Bethlehem board takes up gun fight

Councilman suggests town officially support SAFE Act

— Councilwoman Joann Dawson said she felt the law was not something the board should take a stance on at all, and on those grounds she would vote “no.”

Councilman Bill Reinhardt said he would be in favor of the resolution because he feels the law did affect the town and is a public safety issue. He cited the shooting of firefighters in Webster in December. The SAFE Act sets a mandatory life sentence for those convicted of murdering a first responder.

Councilman Kyle Kotary did not speak out on the subject.

Four residents later spoke against the resolution proposed by Kuhn during public comment, and no one spoke in favor of it.

Resident Robert Jasinski said he has been a gun owner for years and with the law as it is written, he would be considered a felon.

“I’m an honest citizen, I’ve never been arrested for anything, I was on the police force for 10 years,” he said. “I’ve lived in this town for 52 years and to have you present something like this on the spur of the moment, just boggles my mind.”

Robert Jasinski said if the resolution were passed without appropriate time for public input he would picket outside of Town Hall, alone of need be.

Linda Jasinski said if the resolution were passed she would take back her compliments about the town’s transparency because the board was essentially trying to do what the legislature did by getting something passed during a late-night meeting.

“I can tell both of you have no idea about firearms,” she said, speaking to Kuhn and Reinhardt. “I too am very upset about the children being shot and the first responders being shot, but you have to realize how many people in your town own firearms. And yet, out of all those numbers there have been no problems with them here.”

Kuhn later said the proposal of the resolution was not meant to be seen as the board trying to slip something past the public, he just felt the timing was appropriate given the rally to be held in Albany the next day.

Ultimately, the resolution was not voted on. The resolution was scheduled to be placed on the agenda for the Town Board’s next meeting, but board members decided Thursday, March 7, to forgo the proposal.

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