An open letter to state government by the Town of Malta Republican Committee, condemning the so-called NY Safe Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013:
It is a dark day for America when constitutional rights can be taken away in the middle of the night with no warning. That is exactly what happened with the passage of the inaptly named SAFE Act. This act has harnessed and politicized the grief, outrage and helplessness that people naturally feel in the wake of the Newtown massacre to carry out a pre-existing “progressive” agenda. It will do little or nothing to make children safer. Equally objectionable is the process by which it was rammed through the legislature. The Governor’s message of necessity was entirely bogus and was employed to prevent public notice of the bill so as to cut off any possibility of meaningful opposition. It was reported as such in an otherwise sympathetic Times Union. Shame on our leaders! Praise to Saratoga’s own Sen. Kathy Marchione who, with Gregory Ball, was one of only two senators to rise in opposition of this corruption of the lawmaking process.
It does not matter whether you favor gun controls or oppose them. If we can be deprived of a constitutional right in this manner, we can be deprived of any cherished right by the same means.
No one wants to put weapons into the hands of people who are dangerously deranged. To imply that those objecting to the SAFE Act are in favor of armed lunatics is as ridiculous as the suggestion that infringing the constitutional rights of everyone will make children safer. The idea behind the law seems to be that when voices in their heads tell them to slay the innocent, they may not have access to guns. They will have access to knives, samurai swords, fertilizer bombs and gasoline & matches. Just not guns. That will not comfort the victims or their survivors. Furthermore, it is as dangerous to public safety as it is to the rule of law to make an administrative determination to deprive someone of a constitutional right to possess arms because of a dangerous mental condition, and then leave that person at large to wreak havoc by every other means.
The answer to protecting our children lies in identifying the people who are dangerously unstable and taking effective action to protect the public from the danger they pose. Mental health officials need to be empowered to take humane action when they encounter such a threat. To protect our school children, bring back the school resource officers. They did so much good to protect our children, to communicate with them and their teachers and to project a positive image of law enforcement to our impressionable youngsters. They were eliminated by budget cuts. If Newtown is any indication, it now seems that may be an economy that we cannot afford.
There are those who say that it may be time for a dialogue on the Second Amendment. There was no dialogue about the Safe Act. The rights of law abiding citizens were hijacked without warning or debate because opinion polls said that it would be popular in the wake of a tragedy. That is the basest form of demagoguery. The last full dialogue on the Second Amendment was concluded in 1791 after years of public discussion and debate. Here’s how it came out: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. If we are to abide by a new set of rules, they need to be enacted with the same solemnity and forethought as the rules that have served America for so long.