CATSKILL — Lawmakers on two county committees authorized a pair of resolutions Wednesday in opposition to state gun control laws.
The County Resources Committee approved a resolution opposing an Assembly bill prohibiting firearms to be used as prizes in games of chance. The Public Safety Committee approved a resolution opposing Senate and Assembly bills that would establish state police as a point of contact for conducting background checks for pistol permits and raises the age for an adult supervising a child at a gun range from 18 to 21.
The bills have not been voted on by state lawmakers.
The local Federation of Sportsmen asked the county for assistance in fighting for the right to use firearms as prizes, County Resources Committee Chairman Michael Bulich, R-Catskill, said.
“It’s a huge fundraiser for them to raise money for individuals or clubs,” he said. “They sell raffles for winning a gun.”
Bulich, who is an avid sportsman, supported the resolution.
“I’m fan of the state not interfering with my Second Amendment rights,” Bulich said.
Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley did not see how the law would be helpful.
“These people have to go through all the checks and be the proper age to obtain the gun,” he said. “I have no idea what the rationale behind it is. It seems to me all it does is attack the fundraiser and whatever organization it is for. To me, it is disheartening.”
Public Safety Committee Chairman William Lawrence, R-Cairo, does not see why the other two bills are needed, he said.
“Our local jurisdiction [the sheriff’s office] has been doing a job,” he said. “I don’t see how adding state police would improve the process.”
The state may be using the opportunity to monetize on issuing the permits, Lawrence said.
Seeley suspects the state may completely take over the checks in the future and thinks there would be a duplication of services as a result.
Residents will now have to renew every five years with the state, he said.
“People will not be any safer by doing it,” Seeley said. “It’s just another attack on the Second Amendment.”
Seeley would support the bill if it meant saving lives, he said.
“I’m all for saving lives in Greene County and the state of New York,” Seeley said.
Bulich thinks the bill represents an invasion of privacy.
“I don’t think the state should have that type of control over information,” he said.
Lawrence does not believe it is the state’s job to regulate child supervision.
“It is up to the parents, who are usually over 18 or 21 anyway, although not always,” he said. “Supervision should be left to parents, not to the state of New York.”
Accidents do not usually occur at the firing range, Lawrence said.
“Kids find guns at home and have not been trained,” he said. “Accidents will not be prevented by changing the age of supervision.”
State Sen. George Amedore Jr. supports the county legislature’s efforts regarding the background check and firearm prize bill.
“I join the county Legislature in their opposition to these bills,” Amedore said.