Will Onondaga County join the growing list of counties calling for repeal of NY SAFE Act?

Onondaga County may join a growing list of counties calling for repeal of the NY SAFE Act.

Legislator Kevin Holmquist told reporters Friday that he will sponsor a resolution at the Onondaga County Legislature's session on March 5 calling upon the New York State Legislature to repeal the state's newest set of gun control laws.

Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature enacted the NY SAFE Act, which is considered the toughest gun control law in the nation. The act was passed and signed into law within two days without going through the usual committee process.

Holmquist says the NY SAFE Act was "passed with emotion rather than facts." He says the laws make law abiding New Yorkers less safe.

He also objects to the manner in which the act was passed without going through the normal legislative process that would include public hearings. Prior to the meeting of the full legislature on March 5th, Holmquist says the Onondaga County Legislature's Ways and Means Committee may also take up the resolution when in meets on Monday, February 25th.

So far 29, of 62, New York counties have passed similar resolutions calling for repeal of the gun control laws, according to Jacob J. Rieper, Vice President of Legislative & Political Affairs of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. The Rifle and Pistol Association is currently In the process of filing a lawsuit to overturn the NY SAFE Act.

The counties that have passed resolutions include Oswego, Jefferson, Oneida, Madison, Herkimer, Lewis, Wayne, Yates counties in Central New York. The Erie County Legislature was the latest to act.

Rieper says there are 11 counties with pending resolutions, including Onondaga, Chenango, and Cayuga in Central New York.

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.

Holmquist spoke out at a news conference called by the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department informing pistol permit holders of a form to withhold their permit records from public disclosure.

Chief John Balloni told reporters that the NY SAFE Act "was not well thought out." He says it was "hastily put together without debate."

Balloni says the Act will further complicate the process by which the Sheriff's Department issues pistol permits.

Balloni also pointed out that the New York State Sheriff's Association has issued a position paper that takes issue with many of the provisions of the gun control laws.

He says rather than reduce gun ownership, the NY SAFE Act has caused a "run on guns."

Balloni says the pistol permit office has been inundated with people registering new gun purchases and applying for new permits. Balloni says people wishing to apply for a handgun permit are on a 15 month waiting list just to make an appointment to begin the application process. Officials hope a new computer system and extra personnel will help ease the backlog.