Making Democracy Work

NYS SAFE Act

NYS SAFE Act

The aim of a 2013 forum was to inform voters - both gun owners and others -- and equip them to contact their elected officials if they want to change New York law. The Cortland LWV worked with Undersheriff Barnhart to develop a summary of SAFE Act requirements:

SAFE Act Summary - Cortland LWV, 2013

BACKGROUND: Many gun owners in Cortland County have been frustrated by the SAFE Act. They view it as an infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens without substantially deterring gun violence.

The SAFE Act was a response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut. The bill was introduced on January 14th 2013 and signed into law on the 15th. The New York State Sheriffs' Association said the process of passing this law quickly without allowing mature debate left many stakeholders feeling ignored by government.

Earlier in 2013, the NYS Rifle and Pistol Association, in co-operation with the National Rifle Association, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the SAFE Act on constitutional grounds.

Law enforcement officials were split, often on rural vs. urban lines. The NYS Sheriffs' Association opposed the new definition of assault weapons and reduction in magazine capacity and had concerns about several other parts of the law. However, the Major City Chiefs Association and the Police Foundation joined the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the law. Should we keep some parts of the law, such as tougher penalties for harming first responders, and eliminate others?