Editor's Note: The following letter was sent to The Spotlight Thursday, March 6, by Town Supervisor John Clarkson and Councilmen Jeffrey Kuhn, Kyle Kotary and William Reinhardt on the proposal to enact a town resolution in favor of the state's new gun regulations. The board members are no longer pursuing the resolution, as they now feel it would take away from town discussions at the local level.
Editor, The Spotlight:
In the wake of the tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut and Webster, New York late last year, on January 15, 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act – commonly known as the NY SAFE Act. The Act includes common sense provisions designed to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in our society, including: a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; universal background checks for gun and ammunition sales; measures to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and the dangerously mentally ill; and stricter criminal penalties for gun crimes, including the “Webster Provision,” which increases the penalty for shooting first responders to life in prison without parole.
The reasonable measures of the SAFE Act enjoy broad public support. According to a Siena Research poll released last month, two thirds of New Yorkers support the SAFE Act. And more than 70% of the members of each house of the state legislature voted in favor of the Act, including Bethlehem representatives Senator Neil Breslin and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.
We do not believe that the SAFE Act will prevent responsible ownership and use of firearms by Bethlehem residents for self-defense, hunting, or recreation. The Supreme Court has held that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and recent federal court decisions have also held that bans on assault weapons and large capacity magazines do not violate the Second Amendment.