As a life-long resident of Western New York, I am passionate about protecting and enhancing our wonderful quality of life throughout our rural communities. As such, I am a staunch advocate for sportsmen’s rights and protecting the Second Amendment right to legally and lawfully bear arms. This year’s annual “Gun Day” was recently held in Albany, and I took the floor to debate the constitutionality of the bills and voted against these measures which would have compromised our constitutional rights and infringed on our rural hunting traditions.
Out of the 14 bills which came to the floor, I opposed 13 of them. The bills I voted against included measures to require that gun owners re-license their firearms every five years; propose numerous additional requirements on legal dealers of firearms; infringe on an elderly or infirm person’s ability to use a firearm for self-defense; prohibit the possession of certain types of ammunition; and ban the sale, use or possession of certain types of guns, including camouflaged weapons traditionally used in hunting.
The lone bill that I voted in support of was bill A.7733, a measure that will enhance public safety by giving judicial courts the power to remove firearms from individuals with a criminal record or history of mental illness. This measure was passed unanimously.
While it is important that our state work to improve public safety, this must not be done in a way that would eliminate the constitutional rights that our country was founded on. For the Assembly Majority to pass legislation that would in any way negatively impact our right to bear arms is unacceptable. Instead of passing laws that infringe upon law-abiding citizens that use firearms for sport and self-protection, Albany should be working on legislation that would better pursue criminals that obtain and use firearms illegally.