Several gun safety bills were brought before the Senate Tuesday in Albany. Those bills ranging from banning bump-stocks, extending the wait time for background checks, and the Red Flag Law. Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol questions how fast this legislation was pushed through. He says while gun safety is important, there needs to be a balance.
“We’re making some significant changes," Maciol said. "And I don’t think there's anyone who doesn’t want our communities to be safer.”
One of the laws passed is the Red Flag Law which allows police to temporarily take away someone’s guns if they have been determined by a court to be a threat to themselves or others.
"That exists already," Maciol said. "A report is made to law enforcement regarding a student and something they may have said or done, we're just concerned because that report immediately goes around the law enforcement investigative mode. It basically goes directly to the issuance of the order and then if we seize weapons from someone, the only way we are going to return those weapons to someone is through a court order."
Also passed is extending time for background checks up to 30 days.
"We certainly support background checks on people but New York already has the strictest and thorough background checks in the country," Maciol said. “So our concern is when you’re extending these wait times to 30 days, when a name may hit on an issue, unfortunately it’s going to hit on common names," Maciol continued. "We see consistently that folks who are trying to purchase a weapon who are good people, but they have a common name, it’s hitting as an associate to someone with that same name who may not be a good person."
Sheriff Maciol also touched on having access to out of state mental health records.
"If someone’s got a mental health history and they’re from another state and trying to buy a weapon in New York, I’m not opposed to us having access to their our of state records," Maciol said.
Also on the list, is the bump-stock ban. Sheriff Maciol says a bump-stock give a weapon the ability to rapid fire.
"We've seen the negative affects of bump-stocks and what they can do, and the mass casualties they can cause," Maciol said.
Limiting guns in schools was another law passed, which only allows school resource officers to carry a firearm.
"We firmly believe the teachers job is to teach, law enforcement's job is to protect but we felt the superintendent of that school district should have the authority to grant permission in special cases," Maciol said.
Sheriff Maciol says while it is his job is to enforce the laws, not make them, he is also concerned that these laws only affect law abiding citizens.
"I guess what it comes down to is, we want to ensure that there is a thorough process for the people who obviously have the constitutional right to possess these firearms," Maciol said. "We are concerned because we continue to impose additional laws on the legal, law abiding, stable citizens. Those aren't the ones I'm worried about, I'm worried about the bad guys with guns."
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