Gun owners say new laws won't stop crime
The deadly shootings in Newtown Connecticut, Webster, and now Herkimer have shocked people around the world. While many place full responsibility on the suspects, some blame the weapons. In response, New York State government officials created the SAFE Act. With this week's violence fresh in the minds of people in the Mohawk Valley, gun owners tell our Cara Thomas, this new bill is just taking away their constitutional right.
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ONEIDA COUNTY--The second amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. Should every American have that right? The New York State government doesn't think so.
"Mentally ill people should not have access to guns. Criminals should not have access to guns," said Governor Andrew Cuomo after the new law was passed.
Back in January, state legislators passed the New York SAFE Act, a bill created to protect citizens by regulating the sale and use of guns and ammunition.
"Common sense, ban rifles that have such a capacity that they have no real use in hunting and for sportsmen but pose a dangerous threat. Ban assault weapons because the risk is too high," said Cuomo.
Law enforcement and government officials say they have their concerns. Some Mohawk Valley leaders call the bill too vague, saying there are too many questions left unanswered, and the new regulations won't have the effect law makers were hoping for.
Robert Maciol, Oneida County's Sheriff, said, "It affects only the law abiding gun owner. Those who legally possess the firearms; and, it doesn't do anything to stop those who are going to commit crimes."
Like in last week's Herkimer shootings, the suspect Kurt Myers wasn't using an assault rifle. He had a shotgun. Police said he didn't have a large criminal past, nor was he diagnosed with a mental illness. Yet, he was still able to kill four men, a K9, and injure two others in a very short amount of time.
Bill Lahue, an Oneida County resident, said, "Law abiding citizens follow the law. The ones who don't follow the law, they're going to get the guns. They're going to commit the crimes."
"There are more weapons you can use. And, I think personally, that the tragedies will be even worse now that this law has passed. There's knives. There's hammers. You have your bare hands. I'm mean, I don't think this gun law is going to help at all," said Talia Chmura, an Oneida County resident.
Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said there are numerous provisions in the new law which he believes will increase safety; but, amendments need to be made before the SAFE Act can make a positive difference in New York.
Law enforcement officials said while they don't agree with the new gun regulations imposed by the SAFE Act, they are obligated to enforce them. They are working with government officials to suggest amendments to the new law or have it appealed.