He may be a freshman assemblyman in Albany, but Dan Stec is leading a charge against the state's new controversial gun laws.
"I think this was a lot about political aspirations," said Stec, R-Queensbury.
Stec launched a drive for a petition that he plans to give to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-New York, asking him to repeal the SAFE Act-- the new law banning assault weapons and putting tighter restrictions on gun and ammunition sales. While Stec agrees with portions of the legislation, like keeping guns from the mentally ill, he says it infringes on the constitutional rights of legal gun owners. Stec also says the bill was "ramrodded" through the Legislature, written and voted on in less than 48 hours.
"It was bad legislation and an awful process" Stec said. "I'm sure a lot fewer people would have been upset if this had gone the normal process, discuss for a week, month, couple months."
And Stec is not alone. About half the state's 62 county Legislatures have voted to repeal the SAFE Act. Similar proposals are being discussed in Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties.
"There are some things in the SAFE Act that are fine. I am not for amending the SAFE Act; I am for repealing it and starting over again and having the legislative process start over and have input from the citizens," said Gerald Morrow of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.
To repeal it, the Legislature would have to vote.
"There's always a chance it could be repealed, but it's a very small chance," said Tom Konda, a political scientist at PSU.
New York has always had some of the toughest statewide gun laws in the country and tightening them even more has been discussed for years in Albany. But Cuomo pushed the SAFE Act in response to the Newtown massacre.
"It sounds cruel to say a window of opportunity in the wake of the school shooting, but it is. It is a window of opportunity for people that have been on the fence in the Legislature in the Assembly and Senate. That won't last for long," Konda said.
"We're hoping they listen to us," Morrow said. "If we sit around and do nothing, then it sends the message we really don't care, and we do care."
A bill with support from many about its objective, reducing gun violence, but legislation that some say shoots too far.
Cuomo says he understands the sensitivity of the issue, but that the SAFE Act will keep New Yorkers safer. He continues to defend the law even though his approval rating has dropped since it was passed.
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