Officials bring gun control law to forums across the state

Jan 30, 2013

Two weeks after passing new gun control measures, New York officials have begun holding public forums to discuss what’s in the law. Forums have been held in Lake Placid, near Buffalo, Rochester and in Oswego. At Tuesday's forum in Endwell, Broome County, about 100 attendees came out to raise their questions and vent their frustrations over the new law.

State Police Deputy Superintendent Kevin Gagan led the forum and explained how each of the measures will work.

“When it comes to these assault weapons, if you owned one before the law took effect, you can keep it. You just have to register it,” said Gagan.

Assault weapon registration starts in April and lasts a year. Gagan, along with James Sherman from the State Police, tried to keep the forum on the topic of what’s in the law.

In addition to tightening the definition of a banned assault weapon, the law reduces the size of legal magazines in New York from those capable of holding 10 bullets to 7. There are also requirements for reporting mental health issues and tighter penalties for the use of guns during criminal activities.

But most of the attendees were opponents of gun control in and took the opportunity to vent their frustrations, beginning during Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen’s opening of the meeting.

“Governor Cuomo was the lead on this. He consulted with a lot of people,” said Mollen.

“He didn’t consult with us,” was the reply from the crowd.

And so it went for the next hour. Mollen, the local district attorney, and the representatives from the state police all stressed that they had nothing to do with writing or passing the legislation.

But that did not spare them from criticism. Most in attendance in this conservative part of the state attacked the law as an encroachment on their rights.

A forum was also held in Oswego Wednesday afternoon, with many gun rights supporters in attendance expressed similar positions as those at the Broome County meeting.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University has Cuomo's popularity dropping 15 points in the wake of the gun control law - from 74 percent to 59 percent. And the bill's opponents are preparing a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

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