Supervisors won't use county money for gun safety
By David Avitabile
Schoharie County supervisors continued their assault on Governor Cuomo's gun law Friday approving two measures against funding the enforcement of the controversial law.
In their first action, supervisors went on record opposing the use of $36 million in the state budget earmarked for enforcement for the gun safety act. They also agreed not to spend any county funds to enforce the law if it is not repealed.
Larry Bradt of Carlisle, who began the board's defiance of the gun law last month, made a motion Friday morning to send a letter to local state representatives to oppose the use of the $36 million in the state budget for the gun law.
He noted that 50 counties have come out in opposition to the new gun law.
The funds, Mr. Bradt added, can be used for many other purposes.
"With all the things going on in New York State, I'm sure they can find a better way to spend $36 million," said Earl VanWormer of Esperance.
This motion was approved without opposition.
Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone then went one step further and made a motion that the county refuse to finance the implementation of the SAFE Act.
He called it just another unfunded mandate passed down by the state.
"It's time to stand up and say no."
He wanted the resolution sent to the governor.
"We're forewarning Albany that we're not going to fund this."
Mr. VanWormer added, "Sometimes there has to be a line drawn in the sand."
Some supervisors warned that there may be repercussions from outright refusal to fund the enforcement of the law.
"Let's see what those repercussions are," Mr. VanWormer said. "They enacted these laws. Let them enforce it."
The state has imposed a two percent tax cap for municipalities, Jim Buzon of Middleburgh noted, and towns and villages have had to cut services to pay for mandates.
He suggested that the resolution be sent to other counties to see if there will be more support.
Dan Singletary of Jefferson was worried about the fallout of the measure.
"This is one of the most significant actions this body has ever taken. What it leads to, I don't know."
He added that he did not know if the county should disobey a law passed by the state.
"It's an extraordinary step. The ramifications could be even more for the taxpayers."
The premise of the motion is good, Mr. VanWormer argued.
"If they want to enforce it, fine. We don't have a moral or personal problem in opposing that bill...
"To push it back on us, for something we don't believe in is not right."
Not funding the law is "for the benefits of our residents," Mr. Milone added. "I'm tired of these mandates. It's time to stand up. Now."
The county is already spending money on the law in the issuance of pistol permits, according to Sheriff Tony Desmond.
He also opposed the law.
"It's a piece of garbage no matter how long it took [to debate].
"I'm not going to go out and take guns away from anybody."
The counties need to take a stand that they will not take guns away from residents, as long as they are used legally, he added.
The motion for the county not to finance the implementation of the gun act passed by a wide margin with only Carl Barbic of Seward, Anne Batz of Broome, Tom Murray of Cobleskill and Mr. Singletary voting no. Bill Goblet of Wright was absent from the meeting.