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Hopkinton to pass resolution opposing SAFE Act

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HOPKINTON — When the Hopkinton Town Board meets next month, it is expected to join the list of north country communities that have passed resolutions opposing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s SAFE Act gun control bill.

Hopkinton Town Supervisor Susan M. Wood was in attendance at a Parishville Town Board meeting last month when local gun rights activist Will Gray spoke to the board, encouraging it to pass a resolution opposing the bill, which it did.

Following the meeting, Ms. Wood invited Mr. Gray to make a similar presentation in Hopkinton, noting her board would be interested in passing a similar resolution.

Mr. Gray gave that presentation to her board last week.

“The whole focus of the act is misguided at best,” he said. “It was a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in Newtown.”

Mr. Gray said that while he feels sorry for the families affected by the Newtown, Conn., school massacre and other gun-related crimes, he doesn’t feel gun control legislation is the answer.

He told board members that he lost a son to a shooting in Buffalo in 1980.

“I never once blamed that gun or the manufacturer,” he said. “It’s the person who pulls the trigger.”

Making matters worse, he said, is the fact that legislators were voting on a bill they hadn’t even read.

“There were legislators who had that bill on their desk for 20 minutes and then voted yes on it,” he said. “There’s no way they could have read it.”

Mr. Gray also said that since 1998, gun-related deaths have decreased by 40 percent.

“Twice as many children have died playing football than were shot on school property from 1998 to 2011,” he said. “Thank God they don’t want to outlaw football.”

Mr. Gray said if a crime is committed with an illegal weapon, there’s a “mandatory” five-year prison sentence.

“I’ve never seen anyone get five years,” he said. “It’s always pleaded down. If they would just enforce the laws they have now and put the bad guys away, then we would be all right.”

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