While touted by supporters as a way “to stop criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns without strict background checks,” the SAFE Act contained requirements ranging from 7-round magazine limits to “assault weapon” registration and more stringent background checks, with many of these provisions angering New York residents who feel the law is more suited to NYC than the more rural parts of the state.
The law also proved to be rather confusing for law enforcement, who weren’t always sure how to interpret or enforce the broad laws that many deemed unconstitutional.
“It’s certainly much more popular or much better received in the city,” Republican State Senator Rob Ortt told Spectrum News.
Keeping this in mind, Ortt seeks to repeal the SAFE Act in every corner of New York, with the exception of where the laws seem very popular- New York City.
Looking into the matter at the request of gun rights advocates, Ortt is amending his bill proposal to repeal the law in all but five boroughs, claiming the bill is getting quite more attention.
“This is the first time since I’ve been there- and I’m on eight other ones (repeal bills)- that I’ve really started to hear some real conversation from rank and file members about a certain repeal bill,” he said.
While Ortt is confident the bill will clear the State Senate, it is the Democrat-controlled Assembly that might hurt. However, Republican Marc Butler of the Assembly is co-sponsoring the bill as well.
“I know he’s going to put his shoulder behind it in the assembly which is always an uphill battle but I think the way we have it carved out, that gives us some traction there,” Ortt said.
NYC-based lawmakers think the bill is a non-threatening non-starter.
“New York City residents would not be safer by allowing gun sales with no background checks in Westchester County, just across the border from the Bronx,” said Manhattan Democratic lawmaker Brian Kavanagh, focusing only on the background check aspect of the law. “Background checks do not work more effectively in New York City than they do Upstate. Background checks on sales of guns and other provisions of the SAFE Act work everywhere.”
Even if Ortt’s bill cleared all necessary channels, it would still have to be signed off by Governor Andrew Cuomo, which will be an uphill battle in itself- considering the Governor’s hand in the legislation.
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