Town Council sends clear message to Albany that current and proposed 2A infringements will not be tolerated
JANUARY 23, 2019 – GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. – During its regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday night, the Grand Island Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution expressing “opposition to New York State’s infringement on individual’s Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms” and the fact that “the Town of Grand Island will continue to oppose any infringement on the Second Amendment, such as, but not limited to, long gun registration, social media and search engine history background checks, requiring gun owners to purchase insurance for each gun legally owned, and/or restrictions that otherwise impair the civil liberties of lawful gun owners.”
The meeting that resulted in adoption of the resolution was remarkable due to its record attendance of community members that completely packed the conference space, as well as the lengthy and often contentious Second Amendment debate that occurred between Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray on one side, and the full remainder of the town council on the other.
“I’d say the majority of the emails I got [on the town council NY gun control opposition resolution] were ‘we would like to know that you support the Second Amendment,’ Grand Island Town Council Member Beverly A. Kinney said. “And, I think that there’s no doubt that this whole board supports the Second Amendment, and the Constitution.”
“In the emails that I received, the majority, the great majority, supported the reaffirmation that is before us,” Grand Island Town Council Member Jennifer L. Baney said. “I will say in my one plus one month, so, thirteen months serving on the town board, I, this is the largest response via email, phone call, text, personal interaction at Tops, or anywhere else, that I have ever received on any singular matter. So, I know this is a Grand Island issue because Grand Islanders care about it.”
It became clear throughout the town council’s debate on the resolution before them that Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray felt the whole effort was a waste of time, that it was self-evident that the town council supports the Second Amendment by virtue of the fact that some of them profess to own guns, and that a clear statement of opposition against obvious New York State government overreach regarding Second Amendment civil rights was not worth the attention of the town council.
“I think, because this has gone this far, I’ll be happy to vote on it,” McMurray said. “But, I hope we don’t create a precedent where, every week, someone is bringing in a pet bill, or a pet resolution, to advocate for something that is not even on the radar of the Town of Grand Island.”
At several points throughout the meeting, McMurray strenuously attempted to alter the text of the resolution, pushing to water down the section directly addressing specific anti-Second Amendment proposals under consideration by the all-progressive legislature in Albany. He argued that the language was not broad enough to withstand efforts by a “crafty” lawyer to abuse the wording and turn penalties against lawful gun owners. Town Council Member Mike Madigan rejected McMurray’s argument.
“We’re spending millions and millions of dollars in focusing on law-abiding citizens, rather than where the real problem is,” Madigan said. “We need to focus our efforts on the problem, not on some red herring that’s a shiny thing over here. That might be popular, but its, we need to focus on the real problem, not attacking our, and infringing on our Second Amendment rights. That’s my opinion, and I do feel strongly that should remain in this proposal, this resolution.”
As the town council’s wrangling with McMurray over the wording of the resolution reached a crescendo, Town Council Member Peter Marston Jr., who had remained mostly silent throughout the debate, interjected with an apology to the community members in attendance.
“I apologize everybody,” Marston said. “We had a pretty full agenda downstairs. We did our best and we had, obviously, some strong opinions, all supporting the Second Amendment. However, how to, I guess, wordsmith our support for the Second Amendment, so it will do the best good.”
About seven minutes after Marston’s apology, the Town of Grand Island’s resolution reaffirming support for the Second Amendment and opposing NY gun control was recited and unanimously adopted.
“In bold defiance of the anti-liberty agenda manufactured and force-fed to New Yorkers by the far-left autocrats controlling the entirety of state government, the Town of Grand Island has joined a Second Amendment civil rights renaissance that is growing across Western New York,” 2AWNY Civil Rights Advocate Steve Felano said. “Within the time frame of November 19, 2018 and January 15, 2019, the district attorneys of Seneca, Genesee, Cattaraugus, Yates, Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Steuben, Allegany, Wyoming, Chautauqua, Niagara, and Erie Counties have stated they will NOT enforce the SAFE Act seven-round capacity limit provision because it is unconstitutional. This majority consensus among district attorneys represents a SAFE Act capacity limit non-enforcement zone spanning 76 percent of the Western District of New York. Furthermore, Wyoming County legislators adopted a SAFE Act opposition resolution in early January 2019. What Grand Island has done with their town resolution is add its voice to the growing SAFE Act non-enforcement chorus here in WNY.”
Following are the legal challenges to the SAFE Act and the arbitrary New York State pistol permitting requirement that will build upon the momentum of SAFE Act opposition resolutions and non-enforcement decisions in 2019:
- Libertarian Party of Erie County v. Cuomo– This case, expected to be argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals on February 20th, 2019 (one step away from U.S. Supreme Court review), seeks to nullify New York State’s pistol permit requirement.
- The People of the State of New York v. Benjamin Wassell – This case, expected to be argued in New York State Supreme Court on February 28th, 2019, seeks to reverse a SAFE Act conviction erroneously applied to a Western New York resident.
To learn more about any of the above, please contact Steve Felano at (518) 852-1863 or sfelano@2AWNY.com.
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2AWNY is a force multiplier for the numerous Second Amendment civil rights advocacy enterprises forming the backbone of Western New York’s vibrant gun culture. We act as a 2A news and information distribution, policy analysis, and organizational driver for the many interest groups seeking to defend and expand Second Amendment civil rights throughout the region. 2AWNY is dedicated to assisting in the organization, promotion, and funding of legal challenges to the unconstitutional New York State gun control regime. We seek to make Western New York the epicenter of New York State’s Second Amendment civil rights renaissance. Learn more at WWW.2AWNY.COM.