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Firearm advocates up in arms over new gun-control proposals

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LOWVILLE — Local firearm rights supporters are up in arms about further restrictions being floated by state gun-control advocates.

“This is SAFE Act, part 2,” said Patrick J. Morse, New Bremen, founder of the North Country Friends of the 2nd Amendment.

A pair of organizations — New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and State Legislators Against Illegal Guns-NY — released their state legislative agenda for 2014 on Jan. 15, the first anniversary of the passage of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

“The first anniversary of the historic NY SAFE Act is an important moment to take stock of the great progress New York has made and the important work yet to be done,” said Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, in a statement.

“While some seek to go backwards and undo the SAFE Act — and make it legal once again, for example, to sell guns to strangers with no questions asked, or to have guns with 30-round ammunition magazines — we’re taking our next steps forward to prevent gun violence without undue restrictions on responsible gun owners,” added Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, D-Manhattan, co-chairman of the legislative gun-control group, in the release.

That stance has further riled up members of the north country’s nearly year-old grassroots organization formed in opposition to the controversial gun control law.

“This is what didn’t get passed in the law,” Mr. Morse said.

The local firearm advocate said he believes the end goal is to “disarm the populace,” as has happened in other countries like Great Britain and Australia.

“It’s not going to stop with this,” he said.

“People need to read their history,” added Lewis County Sheriff Michael P. Carpinelli, referring to how gun restrictions were established in other nations.

While more stringent laws may not get passed this year, given that it is an election year for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Mr. Morse and Sheriff Carpinelli said they expect the push to continue in subsequent years, particularly if the governor is re-elected.

The sheriff also took umbrage with an open letter from state police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico stating that a SAFE Act provision requiring all ammunition sales, including over the Internet, to be done by a state-certified seller will not apply to organizations — like shooting ranges, hunting clubs and youth safety and eduction programs — that receive direct shipment of ammo from manufacturers.

“He’s appeasing the gun clubs, the shooting ranges,” said Sheriff Carpinelli.

“They’re trying to divide and conquer,” Mr. Morse added, suggesting that exemption was not part of the original law.

Additional provisions floated by gun-control advocates last week are:

n Child access prevention: require the safe storage of a gun using a gun safe, trigger lock or secure gun cabinet when a gun is not in the immediate possession or control of the owner to prevent improper access and unintentional shooting, particularly by children.

n Microstamping: require all semi-automatic handguns sold or delivered in New York to be equipped with a feature that imprints a unique code onto the shell casings every time a gun is fired, to assist in solving crimes and deter straw purchasers and gun trafficking.

n One-gun-a-month limit and waiting period for purchases: limit buyers to one handgun a month to reduce straw purchases and trafficking and require a ten-day waiting period before a purchaser takes possession of a firearm to give law enforcement officials sufficient time to perform a background check and help guard against impulsive acts of violence.

n Protection for domestic violence victims: empower emergency responders to remove firearms from the scene of a domestic violence incident.

n Ban on .50-caliber military-style sniper rifles: ban the sale of certain .50 caliber rifles with very high power and long range, in the manner the SAFE Act banned the sales of assault weapons with certain features.

n Better use of background checks: require dealers to report to law enforcement when failed background checks reveal that people have attempted to buy guns they are prohibited from owning, and require gun dealer employees who handle weapons to pass background checks.

Mr. Morse said that, while he certainly doesn’t want 2-year-olds to have access to guns, he would be concerned that the trigger lock provision could even prohibit hunters from setting down their guns while at camp.

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