Gun owners to Crouch: Kill the SAFE Act

By Matt Porter

June 25, 2013 Updated Jun 26, 2013 at 9:43 AM EDT

Town of Fenton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Nearly 100 angry and upset gun owners filled the garage of the Town of Fenton's fire station on Route 369.

It was originally billed as a question-and-answer session on New York's new gun control laws, but turned into a rally against the controversial SAFE Act."

One man told Crouch he believed not only did he have a right to own a gun, but that all men are supposed to understand how to use one.

"I want to know where we get all these eunuchs, who say 'I don't like fire arms' when the truth is they have a national obligation," he said.

Another woman asked if there was anything left that could be done to fight the law.

"Demonstrations are great," she said, "But is there anything more that we can do."

A sentiment echoed again and again throughout the two-hour meeting.

Assemblyman Cliff Crouch (R-22nd District) said he hears the same thing wherever he goes: Kill the law.

"There's strong support just for total repeal," Crouch said, "As you heard tonight, there's a lot of problems with this law."

Crouch said the SAFE Act only offers an illusion of protection.

"The law as it stands right now doesn't offer any more protections," he said, "But puts a serious imposition on gun owners."

The SAFE Act limits sales of some assault-style weapons and bans their use, but does not instruct police to search for illegal guns in homes.

That's something about which Greene resident Max Tollens isn't so sure.

"When you know what someone has in your house," Tollens said, "Then there's always that possibility they can come by and say, 'Ok, we'll have confiscation,' that's what happened in Germany in the 1930s."

Many at the meeting agreed the second amendment of the US Constitution protects their rights to own any gun for any reason.

One man stood up and said, "I own an AR-15 because I can."

The crowd responded with thunderous applause.

Broome County Sheriff David Harder was also there to answer questions about the law.

He said he has thousands of "opt-out" forms being filled out to keep gun owners' registrations off the public record.

He said he's received no support from the state to compensate for the increased demand and workload for his office.

"There's all this extra work that has to be done, there's nobody to do it but us," Harder said. "The state's not giving us a penny and we've had to hire some people for the summer to help us catch up on filing."

Crouch told the crowd a repeal of the SAFE Act is in committee, but the Democrat-led majority in the chamber is unlikely to bring it to the floor for debate.