Gun bills go to Senate

By Steve
Piatt
Editor

Albany — A laundry list of legislation already approved by the
New York State Assembly could impact sportsmen’s ownership of
weapons — even shotguns and muzzleloaders, according to the New
York State Conservation Council.

Council officials are urging sportsmen to contact their state
lawmakers, particularly those in the Senate, in an effort to keep
the bills from becoming law.

“Assembly members are urging the governor and the Senate to get
on board with these bills,” said Conservation Council Legislative
Vice President Wally John. “We’ve been lucky in the past; the
Senate hasn’t caved. But we’re urging sportsmen to let their
lawmakers know how they feel, because we don’t know how long the
Senate will hold out.”

Thus far, companion bills have not been introduced in the
Senate.

Among the bills is 4471A, which would essentially ban the sale,
possession or use of 50-caliber weapons.

John said that could include 10- and 12-gauge shotguns,
muzzleloaders of 50 caliber and greater, as well as some rifles
used on big game in Africa.

“It’s really a Hollywood perception of reality,” John said of
the thinking that sparked the legislation. “It all came from the
movie ‘Sniper,’ which came out four or five years ago. We’re trying
to get the city people (lawmakers) to understand the people of
Upstate New York.”

The Assembly passed the bill by an 87-47 margin earlier this
month. Typically, it’s been the Democratic-led Assembly that has
approved stringent gun control bills, and has halted pro-sportsmen
legislation after Senate approval of such measures.

“It’s important for sportsmen to contact their representatives
in Albany,” John said. “Spend 39 cents and write a letter. Send an
e-mail, FAX or make a phone call and let them know how you
feel.”

The Council, which represents over 1,200 sportsmen’s clubs and
more than 300,000 New York sportsmen, is also tracking the progress
of several other bills, some of which have passed the Assembly this
month and are headed for the Senate.

A9083 would require retailers to remove ammunition from displays
and store it in locations accessible only to employees. As such,
customers would be prevented from browsing and comparing brands and
loads.

That bill currently stands in the Assembly Codes Committee.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and National Shooting Sports
Foundation have also voiced their opposition to that bill,
disputing claims that the legislation is necessary to prevent
ammunition theft.

NSSF senior vice president and general counsel Lawrence Keane
said ammunition theft from retail establishments “is not a
significant problem.”

A02466, which also passed the Assembly by an 87-47 count, would
ban the possession, manufacture and sale of assault weapons.

A2302, approved by a 91-44 vote, relates to the sale of
child-operated firearms. John says the Council “opposes the bill as
it’s currently written.”

A2213, also approved 91-44, amends current law relating to the
compilation of firearm and ballistic data, while A1170 (passed
136-0) would eliminate the relief granted by a certificate of good
conduct or relief from disabilities for a person convicted of a
violent felony offense to lawfully possess a firearm.

A00673, approved by a 91-44 vote in the Assembly, relates to the
criminally negligent storage of a weapon and weapons safety
programs for children. The Council “supports the concept of safe
storage and safety programs, but cannot support this bill as
written,” officials said.

More information on the bills can be found on the New York State
Assembly Web site at: http://assembly.state.ny.us/

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