PRESS RELEASE] New gun law threatens school safety in Yorktown, officials say

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8th, 2013

Contact: Serafina Mastro, 914-497-7460

 

UNSAFE SCHOOLS: YORKTOWN OFFICIALS QUESTION “SAFE” ACT 
L-R: Assemblyman Steve Katz and Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy (picture above) are among the growing chorus of elected officials and public safety experts who have expressed opposition or concern over Governor Cuomo’s new gun law.
YORKTOWN, NY – Yorktown’s local elected officials were to join concerned parents and Assemblyman Steve Katz (R, C, I – Yorktown) today, to question the efficacy of the newly passed New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (NY SAFE ACT). Though the press conference was cancelled due to weather, public officials nonetheless gathered behind Katz in support of his concern with an amendment proposed by Gov. Cuomo that would exempt Hollywood from the NY SAFE Act while the same law prevents police officers to carry their weapons on school grounds.
“The governor said we had to pass this gun law and we had to do it now. Well now that we’re discovering the flaws with the legislation his first priority wasn’t to amend the law to serve the people and protect children. His first priority was the Hollywood elites and their entertainment industry,” Katz said. “If the first priority was truly the safety of our children then allowing law enforcement to properly perform their duties should be taken care of by now. Let’s rectify this wrong and work together for the safety of those most vulnerable.”
Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace, and Councilmen Terrence Murphy and Dave Paganelli also support Katz on this issue.
“It is clear the devil is in the details,” Grace said. “As a result of this rushed piece of legislation our local law enforcement is now hindered in their ability to properly protect our children within their schools.  I applaud Assemblyman Katz for bringing these details to light which allows the town, school administrators and local law enforcement officials the time to properly address these concerns before a crisis occurs.”
“As the father of three young kids I was unnerved to hear that our local law enforcement would be prohibited from entering school grounds without direct permission from school administrators,” Dr. Murphy said. “It is unfortunate but in this day and age communities must take every precaution necessary to protect our kids at home and now at school. This stipulation makes this a flawed piece of legislation and I thank Assemblyman Katz for bringing it to our attention. Our kids are our future and as a parent I know we must do anything to make sure that future is bright and safe.”
“It is disturbing to hear that the students at our local schools could potentially be left vulnerable when they may need us most,” Paganelli said. “Governor Cuomo’s SAFE Act continues to fail the smell test as more information regarding its provisions are unearthed. The original purpose of the bill was to protect the citizens of New York but under the restrictions it places on protecting our children it fails with flying colors.”
“While the Governor’s Safe Act aims to bring meaningful gun control to New York State it misses the mark due to the provision which would prohibits School Resource Officers and other emergency response personnel from school grounds,” said Dorothy Forcina of Yorktown. “As a parent of a student who currently attends the Yorktown Central School District the unforeseen consequences caused by the bureaucracy endorsed by this legislation is too dangerous to be overlooked.”
Fifty of New York’s 62 counties have passed or are currently discussing resolutions to rebuff the governor’s gun law. The law has been criticized from multiple groups for the hastiness in which the law was passed and for the content of the law, Katz said.
In an effort to garner a solution to violence in our community, Katz has assembled a Law Enforcement Advisory Council. The council will discuss comprehensive plans to ensure the safety of our children in school zones among other topics, he said.

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Editor’s note: Attached please find the entirety of Assemblyman Katz’s remarks. For more information regarding the press conference please contact Assemblyman Katz’s district office at 845-628-3781.
“Thank you for coming out here today.”
“I’ve called this press conference to address a serious issue in our state. The governor signed the S.A.F.E. Act into law without knowing how it would affect our state. It will seriously hurt the manufacturing industry in New York. It puts unnecessary restrictions on recreational shooters and sportsmen. It severely impacts the way our law enforcement does their jobs.
“The S.A.F.E. Act on its own is a bad bill. There has already been a lot of discussion to amend certain portions of it because it was so rushed. But today I want to talk about what I find appalling, and that  is the way that this bill treats our law enforcement officers in this state.
“Today, I read to children at Austin Reed Elementary School. It is a very well run, safe school and I give them all the credit for providing such a great environment for those kids.
“But if something were to happen at that school that required the police to come to the property, it would be illegal for them to do so because of the negligence of the S.A.F.E. Act. You see, the governor’s bill did not account for the fact that our police officers use specific firearms in the line of duty, which they now either have to change or be found guilty under the law. So if a police officer were to respond to a potentially dangerous situation at a school, they would be breaking the law in doing so.
“Because there was no discussion, no open forums, no constituent meetings about this bill, those that passed this so-called S.A.F.E. Act are realizing how frivolous this bill really is. This bill has essentially done nothing to prevent crime anywhere in the state, while at the same time, it has handcuffed our law enforcement from doing what is necessary should a bad situation arise.
“And despite knowing this, what chamber amendments have been proposed to enhance or improve the S.A.F.E. Act? Well this past week, the Governor has announced a special provision that would allow Hollywood and the entertainment industry to carry firearms that are banned under his provision. Does this make any sense to anyone? While our police officers and other law enforcement agents would be in violation of the law by simply doing their job, Hollywood has the ability to defy it. The spirit of this bill was to prevent violent gun crimes. Yet rather than give our law enforcement the capacity to enforce the law, the governor would rather allow Hollywood to glamorize violence in our state.
“Ladies and Gentleman, this cannot be the way New York continues to do business. We cannot let the misguided priorities of those in charge hurt the people that protect us. We have already seen over 50 counties propose or pass legislation rejecting this law. I agree with them, and I think that our state officials must understand that this is now a safety issue. I believe this bill must be repealed, so that we can ensure that this law does not put our police or our citizens at risk. Thank you.”
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