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Ashford Town Board officially opposes NY SAFE Act

ASHFORD — While the Ashford Town Board members have discussed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 in past meetings, the board had not taken any official steps, to oppose or support this legislation, prior to its April 10 meeting.

Board Member John Pfeffer said that he believed it was time that the officials take a stance. “I have had numerous conversations, about the gun issue,” he said. “I’ve been asked why we do not stand up and say something. If you do not stand for something, you don’t stand for anything.”

Town Supervisor Christopher Gerwitz said that he agreed with Pfeffer. “Not saying something is saying something,” he said.

“The SAFE Act would not have stopped anything bad that has happened,” Pfeffer said, about recent events, such as the December 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. “The only way would be to confiscate every gun in the world.”

Pfeffer proposed a resolution, officially stating the Ashford Town Board’s opposition to the SAFE Act, as written. That resolution pointed out that the United States and New York state constitutions guarantee the right of the people to keep and bear arms and that the town of Ashford recognizes the right of its people to keep and bear arms, for defense of life, liberty and property.

The proposition said that the people living in Ashford “derive economic benefit and recreation from all safe forms of firearms, conducted within the town of Ashford, using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the state of New York.”

“I’m a hunter. I am a believer in the Second Amendment,” Gerwitz said, in expressing his support for the board resolution, which stated the board’s belief that the SAFE Act’s new rules and regulations would not have prevented the recent shootings in Newtown and in Aurora, Colo.

“The legislation passed by the New York State Legislature and signed by the governor, on Jan. 15, infringes upon the right to keep and bear arms and bans the possession of firearms, now employed by individual citizens of the town of Ashford, N.Y., for defense of life, liberty and property, and bans the possession and use of firearms now legally owned for safe forms of firearms, conducted within the town of Ashford,” the resolution continued.

“The town of Ashford’s town board hereby calls for the repeal of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 and declares that such legislation infringes upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms [and] thereby considers such an act an over-reach of legislative authority and is unconstitutional.”

“Where is the line?” Pfeffer asked. Gerwitz said, “If you start picking away at laws and rules, you will have nothing at all. If we keep on regulating and regulating, we will have no laws, at all.”

Pfeffer said he questioned the reasoning behind limiting magazine clips to seven rounds. “How is that going to help? So, one less kid will die at the next shooting?” he asked.

Board Member Charlie Davis said he believed the government took “a situation like this and had a knee-jerk reaction to it. And we don’t even enforce the laws we already have.”

The board’s resolution, opposing the NY SAFE Act, was unanimously approved. Ashford will be added to a list of municipalities that oppose this act. More information may be found at

In other board news:
– New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Program Director Paul Bembia announced that NYSERDA will work with Cattaraugus County, to replace a bridge on Thomas Corners Road, later this year.

– According to West Valley Demonstration Project Director Bryan Bower, the third demolition phase of that facility’s 01-14 building is now being completed.

– The town-wide trash pickup will be held April 22 – 27.

– Bower announced that President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget request included a $64 million request for the WVDP. While the budget is still being finalized, “there is the potential that [the] WVDP could receive higher than anticipated funding, in FY 2013,” Bower said. The original funding request from the WVDP was $48 million.

The next Ashford Town Board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on May 8.

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