Opponents of New York’s tough gun control law called the SAFE Act, continue to oppose the legislation more than a year after it was passed, with more rallies and court cases on the calendar. But attempts to engage Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a debate about the pros and cons of the legislation might be better spent in more low-key settings. One vocal opponent of the law met with the governor Tuesday in private quarters in Albany to talk about it.
Geddes Town Supervisor Manny Falcone doesn’t like the SAFE Act. The Republican gun owner doesn’t like the limits on magazine capacity, the mental health provisions, and the fact that it was pushed through the legislature in the dead of night in January of last year. But he accepted an invitation from Cuomo to sit down in Albany and rationally discuss the legislation.
Falcone says after an hour and 45 minutes with Cuomo and two aides, he's learned a lot.
"We didn’t come out with any changes in our pocket, he does have an in-depth explanation for why everything is where it is,” Falcone said.
He also said he appreciated the way Cuomo explained his side of things.
"He’s very concerned about the safety of citizens here in New York," Falcone said. "He wasn’t saying this is the way it is, he wasn’t pounding his fists. It was a very good opening conversation.”
It’s a conversation the governor apparently wants to keep having, says Falcone, but not in front of large groups of people.
"The door is open and he was pretty open to it, saying that if anyone else was willing to come down, that he’s willing to allow me to do that, to bring more people to his office to ask questions and give an explanation,” Falcone explained.
Falcone doesn’t expect the law to be repealed, but is encouraged that the governor is willing to talk about it, and believes there may be more sessions like this.
“We are happy we did. He was real easy to speak with. He was very open," Falcone said. "And I think that by bringing more people to sit with him, there will be a better understanding about the whole law. Reasonable conversation, he’s all about. A slap of the fist isn’t going to work. So we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to get some people together and come down and sit.”
The conversation between the two opened last month when Cuomo was in Geddes to announce an economic development initiative, and Falcone said he’d like to talk to him at another time about the SAFE Act.
Meanwhile, upstate gun owners continue to fight the legislation, which has been called the toughest gun control law in the country. It was passed just over a year ago, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, and opponents are continuing to push for repeal or changes in the legislation.