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Assemblyman gives Stockholm ovation for opposition to SAFE Act

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WINTHROP - The Stockholm Town Board has become one of the latest government entities to voice their opposition to the SAFE Act, the gun control legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year.

The town board, without comment, voted unanimously to urge state officials to repeal the new gun control laws that were contained in the SAFE Act.

But there was one difference when Stockholm Town Board members passed a resolution that has been presented to most town and village boards in the county. The Stockholm vote drew an ovation from Assemblyman Marc Butler, who was in attendance at the meeting.

Redistricting resulted in Mr. Butler having nine towns in St. Lawrence County - including the town of Stockholm - moved into his assembly district.

“After the election, I vowed to visit each board in my district. I’m trying to live up to that,” he said, noting Stockholm is the northernmost town in a district that stretches from Winthrop to the Utica area.

Mr. Butler noted he was strongly opposed to the SAFE Act for a number of reasons, including its potential impact on Remington Arts, a gun maker with a manufacturing operation in the Mohawk Valley. He suggested that business gets calls on a nearly daily basis from more gun-friendly states inviting Remington to move their operations to their states.

He told Stockholm Town Board members he didn’t expect to see much action in Albany for the remainder of the year.

“I think the governor was really shook up by the opposition to the SAFE Act and is a little more reluctant to make tough decisions,” he said.

Mr. Butler told Stockholm officials that at last count 52 of the 62 counties in the state had expressed opposition to the SAFE Act.

“Most have called for a total repeal, which I feel is the right move,” he said.

He noted state lawmakers had made some modifications in the budget bill to the initial legislation, including making 10-round clips legal as long as they had no more than seven rounds of ammunition loaded and allowing 10-round clips for law enforcement officials.

“There are still many other remaining issues, and I think the best avenue is probably through litigation,” Mr. Butler said, noting the National Rifle Association and other gun and pistol lobbying groups are already scrutinizing that option.

Mr. Butler used his relatively rare appearance in St. Lawrence County - it’s a 240-mile ride from his home to Winthrop - to cite the traditional Assembly Republican talking points about the schism between upstate and downstate interests and suggested the Assembly would likely be embroiled in a far left agenda in coming months with discussions on the expansion of abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana.

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