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The Times
  • Butler files legislation designed to amend gun control law

  • Assemblyman Marc Butler has filed legislation that would amend the New York SAFE Act and modify sections of the law that currently outlaw the sale of assault weapons in New York.

    Butler said the SAFE Act bans for sale in New York a variety of firearms classified as “assault weapons,” which include several firearms manufactured by the Remington Arms Co. in Ilion.

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  • Assemblyman Marc Butler has filed legislation that would amend the New York SAFE Act and modify sections of the law that currently outlaw the sale of assault weapons in New York.
    Butler said the SAFE Act bans for sale in New York a variety of firearms classified as “assault weapons,” which include several firearms manufactured by the Remington Arms Co. in Ilion.
    He said the term “assault weapon” is arbitrary, and that firearms in the SAFE Act that fall in this category are misunderstood and unfairly made a target of the legislation.
    “While I would prefer to see a total repeal of the law, and will work toward that end, I feel this amendment would be an immediate and important step toward making this law fairer and more sensible. Any law of this magnitude should have been the result of careful and thoughtful discussion and deliberation, rather than the hastily passed bill New Yorkers now must live under,” said Butler, R - Newport. “In terms of the overall bill, I anticipate there will be a number of changes and amendments to the law, as well as litigation to overturn the law.”
    Specifically, Butler said his bill would modify language in the law which identifies various characteristics which the law states now qualify the firearm as an “assault weapon.”
    Butler argued the sporting firearms referred to resemble military assault weapons, but differ in a number of ways. Foremost among them, he said, is a true military-style weapon has the capacity to be used in a fully automatic mode. Automatic weapons have been banned for civilian use for years.
    “In other words, these guns are being banned for sale in New York because of the way they look, not because of their capabilities. The term ‘assault weapon’ conjures up all kinds of negative images for people, but these firearms are, in fact, semi-automatic weapons that have numerous legitimate civilian applications including hunting, target shooting and self protection,” he said.
    Butler said his bill would make legal features such as a pistol grip and a muzzle brake compensator (on semi-automatic rifles), a thumbhole stock (on semi-automatic shotguns) and a shroud attached to the barrel of a pistol. Those features, he said, are among those that qualify certain firearms to be considered assault weapons under the SAFE Act, which was passed in January.
    “These definitions of an ‘assault weapon’ ignore the evolution of sporting firearms that have legitimate civilian applications,” said Butler. “This law is therefore based on popular misconceptions, imprecise language and the weapon’s appearance, rather than on technical accuracy, creates criminals out of ordinary New Yorkers, while having no impact on true criminals, and overlooks the potential economic impact this law will have on the state.”
    Butler said he is convinced there will be a number of amendments and changes to the bill in the coming months, and wants to have his changes included as part of the discussion.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The problems with the bill are the unfortunate result of the haste with which this legislation was drafted and passed. The 39 page bill is filled with technical details, numerous amendments to existing law and the creation of several new sections and was bound to be filled with mistakes,” he said. “For us in the Mohawk Valley, these flaws are compounded because they have the potential to put jobs at Remington Arms at risk. I call on the governor and my colleagues to address this issue immediately.”
    Butler filed the bill this week and will now collect co-sponsors in the Assembly and major sponsors in the state Senate. He added while the state Legislature will likely be pre-occupied with the state budget over the next several weeks, it is important for the state to address the many problems with the SAFE Act sooner, rather than later.
    Butler and New York State Rifle and Pistol Association President and NRA board member Tom King will host two public informational sessions on the SAFE Act next week. The Fulton County event will take place Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Pine Tree Rifle Club in Gloversville and the Herkimer County event will take place Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Salisbury Ridgerunners Club in Salisbury.
    “We’re expecting large crowds at both events,” he said Friday, adding the events are designed to inform the public about the new law in an effort to prevent accidental non-compliance.
    He also said he will seek input and support for repeal of the law.
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