In doing so, the village joined a handful of communities, including Yonkers and New York City, in backing the controversial legislation, Mayor Jen Laird-White said.
Just last week, the Rockland County Legislature called for the repeal of the law. The vote was 11-4 and those opposed cited the law’s broad new rules concerning assault weapons and gun registration. At least two dozen communities statewide have also called for the law to be overturned.
On Thursday, thousands of people, turned out for rally and lobby against the law at the Capitol in Albany. The New York Rifle and Pistol Association, an arm of the National Rifle Association, organized the event.
Laird-White noted a memorializing resolution has no legal power but said it sends a message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers that Nyack trustees support their efforts.
The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act was adopted on Jan. 15, weeks after the slaughter of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.
Here is the full text of the resolutions passed last night:
Historically, the Nyack Village Board has refrained from taking action by memorializing resolution on items over which they have no jurisdiction. On this occasion, and with the powerful and painful memory of the good Nyack law enforcement officers who lost their lives to assault style weapon gun violence on October 20th, 1981 in mind, every level of state government needs to unite in support of our Governor and our state Legislature’s Safe and Fair Gun Policy and the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act to Mitigate Gun Violence(NY Safe Act).
In a nation where gun deaths are predicted to surpass traffic accidents by 2015 and living just across the river and a few miles from the site of a shooting that took the lives of six brave educators and, more shockingly, 20 small children, it is imperative that the Nyack Village Board lend our support to any serious effort to find a way to stem gun violence.
The goal in this is sensible: to protect the right to own firearms but to restrict the use by people considered likely to present a higher risk of misuse and to require gun owners to use and protect their weapons responsibly. It also looks at making criminal acts committed with firearms a mandatory life sentence.
Our nation boasts a rate of gun homicide eight times higher than nations of similar economic and political composition. In the last ten years more than 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to gun shot death. It is estimated that gun violence costs us 4 billion a year in healthcare costs, 2.4 billion a year in judicial costs, and more than 50 billion a year in related costs like mental health counseling and rehabilitation following gun trauma.
On average, forty six Americans shoot themselves a day. Suicide rates are extraordinarily high among people who have owned a gun for a week or less. Most suicides are committed with guns that are unlocked and easily accessible in the homes in which they live.
We can not eliminate gun violence, but we can exhaust all efforts to reduce the senseless loss of life. We can support those who are trying to make gun owners more responsible. We can make it more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain guns. We can encourage gun sellers to make sure that the sale they are about to make is to someone who is qualified to own a gun. We can help make sure that gun owners know how to keep themselves and their families safe from unintended and tragic consequences by locking their guns, by assessing their family members’ mental health and by educating and training gun owners thoroughly. And with the proper amendments, we can allow law enforcement officers, active or retired, to properly protect the public whether on the job or off.
Our Governor and our Legislature have done something good here. They are trying to solve a problem, without taking away the rights of responsible gun owners. This law says the right to own a lethal weapon comes with serious responsibilities. We can not stand another Newtown. As a nation, and as neighbors, we have a responsibility to act. To accept mass shootings as common place is unacceptable. To stand by and do nothing now would be deeply wrong. And to not support those who are trying to make things better would be even worse.
THEREFORE, the Nyack Village Board unanimously resolves its support of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s and the State Legislatures NY SAFE ACT as follows:
WHEREAS, the Village of Nyack wishes to express support for the call by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and the New York State Senate and Assembly, whose members respectively approved S.2230 Bill, An Act entitled the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE) on January 14, 2013, and A.2388 Bill, on January 15, 2013;
WHEREAS, such laws will not and should not prevent the safe and responsible ownership and use of firearms by the citizens of the Village of Nyack, the County of Rockland, the State of New York, and the United States of America for sports and self defense purposes, nor impinge on the rights outlined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution;
WHEREAS, such laws will promote and enhance the safety of our children and other people providing the right to grow up and live productive lives free of fear and injury;
WHEREAS, such laws will keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous mental health patients, and ban high capacity magazines and assault weapons;
WHEREAS, such laws will create severe penalties for those using guns, legal or illegal, for criminal activities;
WHEREAS, such laws will protect responsible gun owners and require those less responsible to become so;
WHEREAS, such actions honor the memories of those killed or injured by gun violence but more importantly work to achieve the goal of diminishing gun violence and ensuring safety of children and loved ones;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Nyack Village Board hereby expresses its support for the call to action on control gun violence that is urged by our Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Senate, the New York State Assembly, and the United States Conference of Mayors, as embodied in the NY SAFE ACT; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Village Board hereby expresses its support for amendments to the Act that will allow law enforcement officers, active and retired, to properly perform their duties and protect the public. We encourage the Governor to make amendments necessary to the law to support law enforcement in their public safety mission; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Village Board hereby expresses its support for prompt and effective action to accomplish the purposes set forth above, protecting the safety and well being of our children and all of our citizens, protecting the Second Amendment rights as outlined in the Constitution, ensuring that all firearms are used safely and responsibly, allocating the resources necessary to provide mental health services to those at risk of violent behavior, and to strictly enforce gun laws and severely punish those who disobey them, and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Village Clerk is directed to forward a copy of this Resolution to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Senate, the New York State Assembly, the United States Conference of Mayors, the President of the United States, the United States Senate, and to the United States House of Representatives.
Photo caption: Nyack Mayor Jen Laird-White, far right, attends a Jan. 31 press conference at Haverstraw Village Hall calling for federal action to reduce gun violence . Also pictured, from left to right: West Haverstraw Mayor John Ramundo, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, and Airmont Mayor Veronica Boesch. (Tania Savayan/The Journal News)