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Crowd encourages Massena to oppose SAFE Act

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MASSENA — The Massena village Board of Trustees has not passed a resolution opposing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s SAFE Act gun legislation, despite the exhortations of a crowd at Tuesday’s meeting.

About 50 people were at the meeting, with many members of the public encouraging the board to pass a resolution opposing the law.

Mayor James F. Hidy said St. Lawrence County already has passed a resolution opposing the bill.

“We have representatives on that board,” Mr. Hidy said. “They speak for the people of Massena.”

While that may be the case, the overwhelming majority of people at the meeting said they want to see the village pass its own resolution. When Mr. Hidy asked for a show of hands of people looking for the village to pass a resolution, nearly every hand in the room went up.

When the crowd was asked if there were those who didn’t want to see the village pass such a resolution, only one hand went up.

“All we’re asking is to have a resolution from each town to oppose the SAFE Act,” said Massena resident Mike Herr. “We want to show the state a common face from every town and county.”

Miles E. Manchester, Potsdam, recently purchased an AK-47, two 30-round magazines and 800 rounds of ammunition to make a point that such weapons need more regulation, something that the SAFE Act is trying to accomplish.

“An immediate repeal without anything to back it up would be a mistake” and would lead to a feeding frenzy of people trying to get their hands on such weapons before new legislation was enacted, Mr. Manchester said.

“For these kind of weapons to change hands like baseball cards and sporting goods doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.

However, Mr. Manchester said he does think the governor went about the legislation the wrong way.

“All of the criticisms about how the law was imparted, I agree with,” he said.

Many of the comments on the law centered on how it was passed in the middle of the night.

“Are we being invaded by aliens, so we need to pass something in the middle of the night? I don’t think so,” said Edward J. Kaneb Jr. “Public comment is important for any democracy to move forward.”

“I think the way it was passed was wrong,” Mr. Kaneb said. “I think the village board should pass a resolution opposed to it.”

Will Gray, Norwood, has been traveling around St. Lawrence County asking municipalities to pass resolutions opposed to the bill. He asked Massena trustees to pass a resolution last month and said he’ll be back at their meeting next month to see if they act on the resolution he gave them.

“The SAFE Act is doing nothing but impacting honest people,” Mr. Gray said. He said that at the same time this debate is going on, Mr. Cuomo is trying to pass a women’s rights bill that would make it easier for women to get an abortion.

Former town Supervisor W. Gary Edwards also encouraged the board the pass a resolution opposed to the law.

“Take this opportunity to voice your displeasure,” Mr. Edwards said.

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