Gun Control Meeting Draws Emotion

By Kelly McCarthy

January 29, 2013 Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 11:34 PM EDT

Town Of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) An information session intended to educate the public on New York's new gun control bill drew a packed and emotional hall Tuesday.

The meeting is one of several in the wake of the NY SAFE Act approved earlier this month -- led by state police and members of the criminal justice services -- that will be held throughout the state.

The law includes a ban on assault weapons, establishes a statewide gun license and requires background checks, even for private sales.

The Endwell Volunteer Fire Hall filled quickly Tuesday with concerned residents who were eager to start asking questions.

Tensions ran high, and at times made it difficult for state representatives to answer a question without being interrupted.

There were also outbursts of anger, and moments of support when residents clapped for others as they expressed opinions on the gun control law.

Some in attendance said frustration was a driving force for the meeting.

"I can't say that there was anything here we didn't expect. I think it did start off with a lot of misinformation. People were impatient. They were impatient they wanted to get their questions out," said Kevin Gagan, Deputy Superintendent of the NY State of Police.

The most common question on the minds of residents were about firearms they already own, and whether a gun that was once legal could now result in a fine or jail time.

"They want to know is it legal, is it not legal," said Mike Neilson, of Vestal.

That why officials said meetings like these are so important.

"We want to assure them that any weapon that is legally owned today is still legally owned," Gagan said.

Some came not with questions, but with a statement.

Members of Team NY passed out flyers alerting the public of another "Pro-Gun Rights Rally" in Albany.

"We will not stand down, we will not quit. This law must be repealed they must start again," said Al Belardinelli, of Vestal. "There's questions. There's questions about its constitutionality. This should not be enforced until that's resolved."

Overall, most said they felt the meeting was necessary, and shed some light on a controversial and sometimes confusing topic.

"There's still a few unanswered questions at this point... but I feel a little more informed than I did previously," Neilson said.

The state has set up a hotline to answer questions about the NY SAFE Act. Call1-855-LAW-GUNS during regular business hours Monday through Friday, and questions will be answered by experts, officials said Tuesday.

Also, visit click here to take a look at the NY SAFE Act website.