NY SAFE Act Still Contentious in Rochester

Mar 22, 2013

Credit Carly Morgan

Dozens of people stood on the steps of Rochester City Hall on Wednesday to show their support for Governor Cuomo’s new gun control measures.

Participants at the rally waved signs and chanted “enough is enough” in reference to the gun violence that the NY SAFE Act aims to curb.

The NY SAFE Act was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 15. Written in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School as well as the killing of two Webster firefighters last Christmas Eve, they are currently the strictest gun control laws in the country.

Protestors against the new gun legislation gathered in response to the rally, and many expressed concern that the SAFE Act violates their Second Amendment rights. Protestors touted signs reading, “Gun control isn’t about guns it’s about control”; and “God gave me the right to self-defense. Glock ensures it.”

Rosemary Rivera, a local resident and the leader of the pro-NY SAFE rally, addressed the crowd, insisting that it’s time for lawmakers to address gun violence not just in New York state, but throughout the country.

“Our communities have gone through so much, and this last Christmas, we were struck with tragedy very close to home,” Rivera said. “And it was not something that we can take lightly. And what we are talking about today are really common sense approaches.”

The NY SAFE Act includes the Webster Provision, which enhances the penalties for the killing of emergency first responders. The legislation also requires enhanced background checks, tightens an assault weapons ban, and bans possession of “high-capacity magazines” with more than seven rounds.

Anti-SAFE Act protestor Chris Edes expressed his concern about the assault weapons ban, saying that many people seem to have misconceptions about the potential practicality of a semi-automatic rifle.

“If you miss with your first shot,” he stated, “you could be in big trouble. All a semi-automatic weapon is, is it allows you to take that second shot without being defenseless for too long.”

Forty of the 62 county governments in New York state have passed resolutions opposing the NY SAFE Act. Monroe County is among those opposed to the legislation. Cuomo recently announced that the State Legislature plans to reverse the ban on magazine size.