Sportsmen rally locals to protest SAFE Act

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Sportsmen rally locals to protest SAFE Act Empty Sportsmen rally locals to protest SAFE Act

Post  Val on 2013-02-27, 23:32

COLUMBIA COUNTY — The Columbia County Sportsmen’s Federation said Monday they have mustered about 250 county residents to lobby state legislators about New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act. Organized by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Thursday’s action has been billed as a Citizens Lobby Day at the state Capitol.

Speakers scheduled to address a rally held at Capitol Park include Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose, state Senator Kathleen Marchione, R-Halfmoon, NYSRPA President Tom King and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association. Participants are encouraged by NYSRPA’s website to schedule an appointment with their assemblyman or state senator for Thursday.

“If they refuse, show up anyway,” NYSRPA’s website reads.

Event organizers also revealed online that a special appearance will be made by NRA President David Keene.

“This was one of those deals where some things have relevance, but they’re crowded out by the irrelevance,” CCSF President Jim Bashford commented. “I’m really opposed to everything about [the NY SAFE Act.]”

Chief among Bashford’s complaints was his assertion that state legislators had little time to read through the NY SAFE Act before putting it to a vote.

“If you’re against it, you have to use your voice and say why,” Bashford said.

Several buses have already been chartered by Bashford’s group to transport at least 100 demonstrators to Albany. However, Bashford admitted there would have to be more carpooling for all of the estimated 250 demonstrators to attend Thursday’s rally. Buses are scheduled to leave at 8 a.m. from Valkin Restaurant’s parking lot, located off Route 9 in the village of Valatie.

Jim Bertram, the current chair of CCSF’s legislative committee, faulted Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Rhinebeck, for her alleged detachment.

“When I was still president, we had staff of Assemblywoman Barrett call and talk to me about the law,” Bertram said. “I told them some of these measures were unenforceable, while most of them were unconstitutional, but she wouldn’t talk with us.”

As Columbia County’s former sheriff, and undersheriff, Bertram maintained that although he considered the NY SAFE Act “a direct blight onto constitutional law,” he admitted the mental health component was “probably good.”

“For 25 years, I reviewed every pistol permit that came through, and never had one rejected by the state,” Bertram mentioned. “However, I knew darn well we had people with mental problems apply.”

Talking points used by members of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, Bertram reiterated, about how the NY SAFE Act would burden county offices, are not enough. Rather than adopt “ a neutral stance,” Bertram argued supervisors “should be verifying if it’s constitutional.”

“I would support anything to help stop these tragedies,” Bertram concluded. “But, with the way it’s been written and jammed through, I can’t support it, except for the mental health aspect.”
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