Upstate lawmakers looking to make changes to NY SAFE Act

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Upstate lawmakers argued this week, if the state can have two different minimum wages, one for upstate and downstate, they should be able to have two different sets of rules for gun restrictions under the governor’s SAFE Act.

Upstate lawmakers understand Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing of the SAFE Act in 2014 is one of his signature laws.

“We do believe still that it’s not made New York any safer,” Senator Joe Griffo (R) said.

While they admit they will likely never see the law fully repealed, they feel pieces can be removed for upstate.

“Fulton County and Herkimer County have each had one arrest in four years under the SAFE Act. That tells me it’s difficult to enforce and they have better uses for their resources than to be chasing people around under this law,” Assemblyman Marc Butler said.

Butler’s legislation would remove the requirement that gun owners re-certify for their pistol permits every five years, allow guns to be passed down to family members once someone passes away and allow many hunters to access weapons in their lockers currently banned under the assault weapon classification.

“We’re saying look let’s acknowledge there’s a difference in beliefs and philosophies upstate and downstate,” Butler said.

Upstate lawmakers continue to argue, with longer response times in rural areas, guns serve as protection and recreation upstate.

Of course for any changes to occur, it has to go through both the Senate and Assembly. While upstate Republicans hold the majority upstate, the Democratic downstate controlled Assembly doesn’t seem open to the idea.

While upstate Republicans hold the majority upstate, the Democratic downstate controlled Assembly doesn’t seem open to the idea.

“Our conference continues to support the SAFE Act. We think most New Yorkers support the SAFE Act, so I don’t think you’re going to see much change in our position in the Assembly. I would not expect us to make any changes to the SAFE Act,” Assemblyman Joseph Morelle (D) said.

Despite the Assembly’s strong stance, Griffo says this latest effort will not be a lost cause.

“It’s worth the effort because we’re trying again to draw attention to methods that have been used before in legislation and we believe that this is a method and manner to really address an issue that is really a problem upstate.”

Right now, it appears this may be another bill that passes the Senate and stalls in the Assembly.

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