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As SAFE Act deadline approaches, some gun owners refuse to comply
ALBANY -- A deadline on the controversial SAFE Act is quickly approaching. It requires some gun owners to register their rifles through a page on the State Police website but some people have vowed not to. This is about a week after supporters and opponents of the SAFE Act both rallied at the Capitol.
Those in favor believe the law will cut down on gun violence, while others want the whole act repealed, even though new provisions continue to go in to effect.
"It's our constitutional duty to enforce the laws in the State of New York whether we agree or disagree with what the particular laws are," said Lt. Adam Brainard with the Greene County Sheriff's Office.
In about a week, owners of assault-style rifles will have to register them with the state as part of Governor Cuomo's tough gun control measures, better known as the SAFE Act. But there's no clear indication of who has registered, and who hasn't. About 3,500 people opposed to the SAFE Act rallied in the shadow of the Capitol last week.
"In this country there's a real history of civil disobedience," said Asm. Steve McLaughlin (R-Melrose). "I think that those who are choosing not to register are viewing this in that light."
McLaughlin, a vocal critic of the SAFE Act, says the issue of Second-Amendment rights will be settled in a courtroom rather than in legislative chambers. "That's probably another reason why a lot of these firearms owners are not registered, because they're going to see what the outcome of the court case is," McLaughlin said.
Thousands of people have already pushed to have their records kept private. County clerks in Rensselaer and Saratoga counties were overwhelmed with processing opt-out forms. Greene County Sheriff's Deputies say despite opposition to the law, it is the law. "Do what you're asked to do until the law plays out in court and there's a sort of final decision on if the law is constitutional or not," Brainard said.
Brainard said if someone is found with an unregistered firearm, the District Attorney would decide the charge, if one is appropriate.
"We're not going to be going knocking on doors things like that obviously," Brainard said. "The Sheriff's Office responds to complaints at a private residence and things like that. It would be a matter of us responding to a situation like that and coming across a weapon that would be in question."