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SAFE Act rally told only part of the story

Editor:

A recent meeting at the Joylan Theater in Springville was billed as an informational gathering and speakers were scheduled to discuss the assault-weapon registration requirement of the SAFE Act.

Larry Ciszak of the Springville Field and Stream, which sponsored the event, said “What we are trying to do is to provide information that is not being brought out about [the SAFE Act]. We are not looking for a pro-gun rally; we are looking for information on how people can comply.”

People who turned out for information and guidance on the SAFE Act were ambushed, as speaker after speaker railed against NY’s new, safer gun laws. Politician after politician took to the microphone, in an effort to bolster their approval rating with gun owners, trying their hardest to make Wayne LaPierre look like a moderate.

The chief law enforcement officer in the county advised listeners that, if they are going to violate the law and become felons, to be careful with whom they share that information. At least one speaker had more integrity; she admitted she would not register her assault weapon and would, therefore, become a felon.

And, when politicians take to the soapbox, you can be sure there will be plenty of quotations, and this event was no exception. There were quotes. Not from great Republicans like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln or even Ronald Reagan or our own Jack Kemp. Rather, those quoted were such Constitutional scholars as Charlton Heston and Clint Eastwood.

It was Reagan who said “I do believe an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of the home.” And, “We urge you to listen to the American people and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on further manufacture of [military-style assault] weapons.”

Nor were the words of Justice Scalia uttered. “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” Or, “The right is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever, in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Or Judge Skretny, “the [SAFE] Act does not violate the Second Amendment.”

But, more importantly, those in attendance were not told that the SAFE Act protects our citizens by providing background checks. Or that 90 percent of Americans, including two out of three NRA members, support background checks.

They weren’t told that the SAFE Act requires stolen guns to be reported within 24 hours and that guns must be safely stored in the homes of abusers. They weren’t told that the SAFE Act imposes greater penalties for those convicted of shooting first-responders.

Three-quarters of NYers support the SAFE Act; eight children are killed by guns every day; a gun in the home triples the risk of suicide and doubles the risk of homicide; women are three times more likely to be a homicide victim when there is a firearm in the home. They didn’t tell them any of that. Shame on them.

Paul McQuillen
WNY Coordinator
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence


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