New York State Police Col. Tom Fazio speaks to a large audience at the Lake Placid Conference Center Jan. 29 about the New York SAFE Act, part of a statewide outreach program on the new gun law.
Members of the New York State Police were in Lake Placid Jan. 29 not to talk about the why of the the newly enacted SAFE Act, but the what.
NYSP Col. Tom Fazio, Assistant Council Kevin Bruen and Senior Investigator Joe DeMaria addressed media and over 50 who attended the SAFE Act public information meeting at the Lake Placid Conference Center.
The trio said that they were not there to debate the rationale behind the law.
"I have never voted on a piece of legislation," Bruen said. "That is the legislature's job, it is the Governor's job to sign the laws and then it falls on us to make sure that people understand and are following the law."
"We are here to present the law and let everyone know what the law says," Fazio said. "Any time that there is a new bill that leads to new laws, there are going to be questions. We are here to inform and enforce the law. Those concerns about why the law was passed should be brought to the legislature and the Governor."
The three talked about the new law, including the timeline for when each piece of the SAFE Act would be put into place. The assault weapons ban went into effect when the law was signed earlier this month, while other parts will be instituted over the next year-plus.
On April 15 of this year, the registration process for all assault weapons begins along with the limit of seven rounds in magazines. Background checks for ammunition purchases and the need to discard, sell or permanently modify any magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds goes into effect Jan. 15, 2014. All assault weapons must be registered with the State Police by April 15, 2014.
Fazio said he felt SAFE would help law enforcement officials.
"I think that the law as designed will help," Fazio said. "Taking the chance to own firearms from someone with mental issues or someone who has a propensity to commit violence is a good thing."
Fazio said that there will probably be more parts of the law that will be addressed as time goes on.
"There are interpretation and judgement issues that we will work together on with judges and legal council to find the answers to," Fazio said. "We want to make sure that we give out the direct answers and that we are consistent with it. We want to make sure that people can understand and obey the law."
"The idea is not to go in and grab people's weapons," Bruen said. "The idea is to get these assault weapons registered and have people who know and follow the law."
During the public comment period, people asked about what the new law meant for their current weapons and magazines, which have to now be modified to hold only 10 rounds if they can hold more. While the modification is for 10 rounds, magazines will only be able to hold seven rounds.
DeMaira also cleared up a question on if a round in the chamber counted as one of the seven rounds.
"A round in the chamber does not count as magazine capacity," DeMaria said. The Senior Investigator and weapons expert also talked about the portion of the law that dealt with "military style additions."
"Depending on the modification, getting rid of the addition would change the effectiveness of the weapon," DeMaria said. "Others are just cosmetic. It's not for me to say why they are part of the law."
Bruen said that he was pleased with the turnout and the discussion that took place at the event.
"Most gun owners, like those here, you want to follow the rules," Bruen said. "Most gun owners are very responsible and follow the rules, although you may not agree with all of them, as we are hearing today. What we want to do is help those gun owners to follow the rules. We are not here to play gotcha."