Supervisors take stand against SAFE Act

FONDA – The members of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors were unanimous in their call to repeal the New York SAFE Act on Tuesday, saying the law fundamentally alters and abridges the right to keep and bear arms.

The board unanimously approved a resolution stating its opposition to the act and supporting repeal of the legislation.

More than 20 people attended the meeting in a show of support to Montgomery County, with several speaking out against the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

Fort Johnson resident David Conrad was vocal about his dislike for the act, calling it “one of the most breathtaking, brazen assaults on the Constitution, and on individual liberty, in the history of the United States.”

Conrad said more than 20 counties in the state have sent their complaints about the act to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Senate.

“Send those who think they can trample our God-given Constitutional rights a strong message. To those who think they can just make up a law and take our guns – think again, it doesn’t work like that,” Conrad said. “Men and women from here in Montgomery County, dating back to the American Revolution, bled and died for the freedoms we have today. Their bravery and sacrifice are the reasons I fight for the Constitution today.”

Paul Orzolek, a councilman in Charleston, said he felt the law was vague and had been pushed through far too quickly.

“Our Founding Fathers gave us the right in the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms – all arms. It’s a right we will fight diligently to uphold,” Orzolek said.

Amsterdam resident Philip Lyford, a supporter of the SAFE Act, said there are legal limits to the Second Amendment, quoting a Supreme Court decision in 2008 when the justices said the right to bear arms is allowed but could be limited by society.

Lyford also said the law will save lives.

“Our history has been changed many times by gun violence,” Lyford said. “Look at JFK, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Gabrielle Giffords.”

Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush, who said his life had been touched by gun violence, said he is against the act and tired of seeing people use the deaths and injuries of these people as the “poster children.”

“In 1997, I lost a brother and a nephew on the same day to someone who killed them with a gun. The guy did it. It wasn’t the gun. It hits home to a lot of us, but you’ve got to use reason, and if you’re going to take the gun out of my hand, it’ll be my cold, dead hand while I’m laying on the ground.”

Anthony Quackenbush and his son, Anthony Jr., were shot and killed in 1997 in South Carolina by a gunman, who also shot a sheriff’s deputy. Quackenbush said the man was killed by police.

Board of Supervisor Chairman and Root Supervisor John Thayer said that his sister-in-law, who died due to domestic abuse, may have lived if she had been able to get to a gun to defend herself. Thayer voted for the resolution.

Supervisors in Fulton County spoke out against the act as well, approving a call to repeal the act during their January board meeting.