There’s only one problem with creating a law to restrict weapons from would-be criminals, Gary Maha says.
Law-abiding citizens will be the only ones to follow it.
“If they want a gun, they’re gonna get a gun,” the legislator said during Genesee County Legislature’s meeting Wednesday. “If you’ve got a shooting somewhere, do you want the good guy without a gun? You don’t just want the bad guy with a gun.”
Maha first proposed that Legislature sign a letter of opposition to the newly adopted Concealed Carry Improvement Act, and send it to Albany for Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Legislature members to see.
He had no idea that about 10 people would show up for the vote, with two of them there to speak during a public hearing about issues other than Concealed Carry.
Glen Adams represented the Genesee County Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs, which consists of about 12 clubs throughout the county. He stood at the podium alone, but spoke for some 1,200 members, he said.
Adams voiced his concern that the Concealed Carry act was not for the average gun owner and hunter, and was, therefore “unconstitutional.”
Likewise, Jim Tuttle, chairman of SCOPE — Shooters Committee on Political Education — appealed to Legislature members to join Maha and fellow legislator John Deleo, both of who have been most vocal about the act’s flaws.
“We all took an oath to support the constitution of the United States, which is the Second Amendment,” Deleo said.
He added his full disclosure that he was a member of the National Rifle Association and SCOPE and pointed to the ill-conceived bail reform problem.
“A criminal charged with having a gun … is let go,” he said. “We’re the salt of the earth here.”
During a prior meeting, legislators discussed Maha’s proposal to send the letter and underscored the prominence of the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and how the Concealed Carry act is no improvement for the typical gun user.
The Second Amendment states that “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The legislators’ resolution states that the act “presents procedural roadblocks in the form of privacy violation, subjective standards, financial burdens, and overt restrictions on individuals seeking to exercise a fundamental right.”
A subdivision of the law was added to state that no license shall be issued or renewed pursuant to this section except by the licensing officer, and then only after investigation and finding that all statements in a proper application for a license are true.
It further states that no license shall be issued or renewed except for an applicant 21 years or older (military veterans honorably discharged are exempt from the age requirement), and be of good moral character, which means having the essential character, temperament and judgment necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger oneself or others.
Legislators Shelley Stein, Gordon Dibble, Brooks Hawley, Christian Yunker, Chad Klotzbach, Gregg Torrey, Delo and Maha voted for the resolution to send the letter. Legislator Marianne Clattenburg was absent.
Will it make a difference? Maha wasn’t sure.
“Well, at least we want to make our voices known in Albany that we oppose this,” he said. “You know, we’re a Second Amendment community out here in Genesee County and many of us grew up hunting and carrying guns. It’s a lot different downstate around New York, and we think these laws are unconstitutional.”
Top Photo of SCOPE Chairman James Tuttle, and Glen Adams, Vice Chairman of Genesee County Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs, as they appeal to Genesee County Legislature to approve a move to send a letter opposing the Concealed Carry act Wednesday at the Old Courthouse. Photos by Joanne Beck.