Berne board lacks backbone

To the Editor: 

Throughout New York State, in most every county, there has been legislation that is calling upon the governor and state legislators to repeal the so-called “SAFE Act.” This SAFE [Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement] Act legislation was an emotional knee-jerk reaction to the horrendous school shootings in Connecticut.

The problem with the SAFE Act is that it is not safe except that it provides more burdens to law-abiding citizens who choose to protect themselves. Furthermore, this legislation gives open access to criminals to determine who owns legal firearms.

Imagine if a criminal can go into a database and discover who is unprotected (without weapons) and target those homes only. It’s as if this legislation were designed by criminals in order to take advantage of the weak.

Here in my town of Berne we are very civic minded and we despise this SAFE Act since we know the importance of individual liberties and the need for people to be able to defend themselves. For that reason, the Berne Town Hall was jam-packed with residents demanding a repeal of the SAFE Act.

With such a groundswell of concern, the Berne Town Board with the Berne supervisor drafted legislation that would let New York State know that there are people in Berne who are concerned about this issue but in no way did it condemn the SAFE Act and demand that it be repealed.

In fact, one Berne board member, Bonnie Conklin, who is a strong gun-rights advocate, would not even sign on to this watered-down legislation because it was so lukewarm and was simply designed to appease the overwhelming demand by the citizens. She was told that a strong proposal to oppose the SAFE Act might offend the governor.

I did not win the supervisor position last year but, if not offending the governor is what dictates legislation for the town of Berne, then it’s time to get some backbone and stand up like the good citizens of Berne would do and declare with a new slate of candidates that this SAFE Act is to be opposed and condemned.

Bill Keal

Berne

Editor’s note: Bill Keal, who ran on the Republican line for supervisor, was defeated by Democrat Kevin Crosier. He said he plans to run again. Councilwoman Bonnie Conklin is the Berne Town Board’s sole Republican.

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