postheadericon Lansing Board Weighs In on SAFE Act

guns1The Lansing Town Board did not vote on a resolution responding to the NY State SAFE Act Wednesday, but resident Andrew Aasen polled the Town Board on representatives' positions on the law.  Aasen is part of a group of citizens who have formed the Tompkins Liberty Coalition to lobby to repeal the SAFE Act.

"Although some of you may think the idea of a resolution is moot in light of the County's decision to support the unconstitutional New York State SAFE Act it is of great importance to those of us who value our liberty, freedom, and the safety of our loved ones and our community as to your stance on this important issue," he said.  "I'd like to have each board member state your position for the record so your constituents know where you stand."

If the Town Board were to vote on a resolution it appears they would be split along party and gender lines.  All agreed the process of creating the SAFE Act was severely flawed and that parts of it don't make sense.  Some favored outright repeal of the law, while others said they want some kind of law that makes sense.

"Some things in there are wonderful and great," Supervisor Kathy Miller said.  Other things are not great.  The process was not the best, that's for sure.  I don't think our sending a resolution to them is going to make a difference."

The three councilwomen, all Democrats, agreed that a gun control law is needed.  Councilwoman Katrina Binkewicz said she favors suspending the law until more public input can be collected and a more thoughtful law can be put together.  Miller was the most emotional, saying a law is needed because if she lost a child to a rogue gunman her life would be over.  Binkewicz and Miller said they are gun owners.

"I am not in support of repealing it, but I am in support of suspending it," Binkewicz said.  "It should not be activated until it is a good law.  I believe the intent was good.  I find the total act to be very faulty and it certainly should not be enacted without full feedback from the population of New York and the important from police and the people who are working to ensure the safety of citizens.  I am concerned that repealing it will cause some important conversations at all levels in the state to go away."

Councilwoman Ruth Hopkins said after attending the County deliberations it would not serve the Town to take the time to craft a resolution, though she supports a law.  She said that during the County deliberations Sheriff Ken Lansing and Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson recommended not repealing the law, but fixing problematic parts of it tht she said she suspected were not based on data. 

"I think it's important for all of us to say where we stand," she said.  "I support fixing everything we can in order to make it a better law."

Councilmen Ed LaVigne and Robert Cree, both Republicans, said they would vote to repeal the law.  LaVigne said the process of lawmaking had been subverted in crafting the SAFE Act.

"I would repeal it," LaVigne said.  "I would do it quickly.  Number one, it was not filed by procedure.  We are a nation of laws.  We celebrate the process.  These procedures are sacred.  We're one of the few nations in the world that actually plays by the rules.   Number two, it is an unfunded mandate."

"There is no way we could convey the will of all the residents of Lansing because it's such a diverse group," said Councilman Robert Cree.  "We agreed the best avenue would be for us to write personal letters, and that the board itself not make a statement that would make it look like this is how Lansing feels as a whole.  My personal opinion is that I don't think the process was followed properly.  There are too many holes in the SAFE act and if it came to a vote I would vote to have it repealed."

"It was a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that 20 children and six adults were killed," Miller said.  "I am embarrassed to live in a country where that happens and people don't get irate and want to do something about this.  Somehow this has to stop.  If this happened to one of my children my life would be over.  I wouldn't care what law you had -- my life would be over."

Miller added that she doesn't know what the right course of action is, but said she supports 'good laws'.

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