"On the issue of gun control, it's been a controversial issue for decades. One of the reasons that government hasn't done anything, frankly, is because it's been controversial. I think gun control has been long overdue. We've had some recent, terrible acts of gun violence. Newtown, Conn. Webster, N.Y., right outside of Rochester.
But those were recent. This has been going on for years, and years and years. I've been working on this issue for over 20 years. So yes, it's politically controversial. About 70% of the people in the state support gun control, 30% don't and 30% feel very strongly about it. So that is the nature of the issue.
I'm very proud that the state finally made progress with a comprehensive bill but an intelligent bill. I am a gun owner. This is not about taking anyone's gun. This is not about saying there's no such thing as the second amendment. And I think that's the fear. People think that government is going to come and literally take their guns away. That's not what it's about. But it is a reasonable approach that basically keeps guns out of the hands of criminals and people who are mentally ill. That's what this is. And it bans high capacity assault weapons, which can kill many, many people in a short period of time. So I'm proud of the law, I'm proud of what we did. I believe it will literally save lives, I believe it's long overdue, and to the extent there's controversy on the issue, there has been for decades, and that's to be expected.
Most of the issues of social change require some degree of controversy. And that's why they are problems for as long as they are."About 500 opponents rallied outside the Capitol two weeks ago, at one point chanting they won't comply. The association has separately filed notice of its intent to file a lawsuit in an attempt to overturn the law. Among other things, the NY SAFE Act redefines and restricts the ownership of "assault weapons," bans high capacity magazines by limiting them to 7 rounds, requires background checks on the purchase of ammunition, attempts to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and requires 5 year renewals for pistol permits.Counties across the state are filing resolutions calling for repeal of the gun control laws. So far, 33 of 62 counties have passed resolutions including Oswego, Jefferson, Oneida, Madison, Herkimer, Lewis, Wayne, Yates counties in Central New York.Other counties with pending resolutions include Onondaga and Chenango counties.A new website, NY SAFE Resolutions, is tracking these resolutions and displays the status on an easy to read map of the state. Citizens have gathered around Central New York recently at town hall meetings to voice their concerns over the legislation. The New York State Sheriffâ??s Association came out with a four page position paper last month praising the legislation for several points, including better record keeping, more severe penalties for killing emergency first responders, and illegal weapons use. The stateâ??s sheriffs are critical of other provisions including the definition of assault weapons and the enforceability of several points, including recertification of pistol permits and gun registration. Follow @JimKenyonCNY on Twitter. (Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)