O'Mara criticizes legislative process, lack of public input on gun control (Updated)

Thomas F. O'Mara

January 15, 2013

Albany, N.Y., January 15—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) voted against far-reaching gun control legislation advanced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and approved by the Senate, 43 to 18, late last night.

The Assembly is scheduled to approve the legislation today and it then goes to the governor to be signed into law. 

O’Mara released the following statement today:

“As a parent and as a public servant, I was as outraged and as saddened as anyone by the recent events in Newtown and Webster. I agree that as a nation we must respond to the societal breakdowns that lead to these unimaginable acts of insanity and evil.

“A federal policy is the most effective and ultimately meaningful response to the mass shootings that horrify every decent human being. We know that a state-by-state approach only perpetuates ineffective public policy.

“I’m especially discouraged that legislation as far-reaching as this in New York State was put together behind closed doors, with no formal public input or hearings on the final product, and through a questionable legislative process driven by a rush to be first. Too many legislators attempted to seize this politically powerful moment to push through parts of a long-held, liberal, extreme gun control agenda that will not make New Yorkers safer.

"Those of us who have long opposed this agenda successfully rejected a number of the most extreme proposals and ensured that this measure will at least include important, practical and common sense initiatives in mental health, illegal firearms, school safety, first responder safety and other areas that we believe can help keep the focus on where and how these terrible crimes and criminals can and should be confronted. These actions can make a difference going forward, but they should have been even stronger.

“I’m a lifelong sportsman and a strong defender of the Second Amendment. I’m also more than willing to be open-minded about reasonable and potentially effective public safety initiatives. New York was already recognized by responsible gun control advocates as one of America’s strongest gun control states.

“Today’s Constitutionally dubious action in New York State goes too far to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding, responsible, reasonable, decent, stable and respectful citizens throughout my legislative district and statewide.”

Update, January 18, 2013: Governor Andrew Cuomo has posted a "NY SAFE" page on his website "intended to help gun owners in New York understand and comply with the NY SAFE Act, http://www.governor.ny.gov/2013/gun-reforms-faq