Lawmakers push for different SAFE Act rules for upstate and downstate

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This week a group of lawmakers made the argument for two different sets of rules under the New York SAFE Act, one for upstate and one for downstate. 

Capitol correspondent Nick Perreault explains why upstate lawmakers admit it’s unlikely their push for for change will be successful. 

Upstate lawmakers understand Governor Cuomo’s signing of the SAFE Act in 2014 is one of his signature laws. 

“We do believe still that it’s not made New York any safer,” said Senator Joe Griffo.
While they admit they will likely never see the law fully repealed, they feel pieces can be removed to upstate. 
“Fulton county and Herkimer county have each had one arrest in four years under the SAFE Act,” said Assemblyman Marc Butler. “That tells me it’s difficult to enforce and they have better uses for their resources than to be chasing people around under this law.”
Assemblyman Marc Butler’s legislation would remove the requirement that gun owners re-certify for their pistol permits every five years, allow guns to be passed down to family members once someone passes away and allow many hunters to access weapons in their lockers currently banned under the assault weapon classification.
“We’re saying look let’s acknowledge there’s a difference in beliefs and philosophies upstate and downstate,” said Butler.
Upstate lawmakers continue to argue, with longer response times in rural areas, guns serve as protection and recreation upstate. 
Of course for any changes to occur, it has to go through both the Senate and Assembly. While republicans hold the majority upstate, the Assembly is controlled by the downstate democrats, who don’t seem open to the idea.
“Our conference continues to support the SAFE act, we think most New Yorkers support the SAFE Act,” said Morelle. “So I don’t think you’re going to see out of the Assembly much change in our position and I would not expect us to make any changes to the SAFE Act.”
Despite the Assembly’s strong stance, Rome Senator Joe Griffo says this latest effort will not be a lost cause. 
“It’s worth the effort because we’re trying again to draw attention to methods that have been used before in legislation,” said Griffo. “And we believe that this is a method and manner to really address an issue that is really a problem upstate.”
Right now, it appears this may be another bill that passes the Senate and stalls in the Assembly. 

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