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Niagara County DA says she will not prosecute SAFE Act provision

File Photo
Eileen Elibol

With a second regional District Attorney backing away from a provision of New York's SAFE Act, gun rights activists are seeing some success in fighting the law.

The situation stems from a federal appeals court decision in October of 2015.

Initially, Federal District Judge William Skretny, followed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, threw out a SAFE Act provision barring more than seven cartridges in a gun magazine. Some police agencies continued to charge people and some prosecutors continued pressing the cases.

First, Erie County DA John Flynn, and now Niagara County DA Caroline Wojtaszek said they would stop. Long-time gun activist Budd Schroeder said it is a start.

"There's many things in the SAFE Act that we believe are unconstitutional and anybody with an IQ higher than their body temperature will realize that they are not reasonable gun control laws," Schroeder said. "The big one is that just on an accusation, a person can lose four constitutional and civil rights."

Schroeder said his Shooters Committee on Political Education and his new 1791 Society Political Action Committee expect a SAFE Act case will eventually wind its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. They expect the court will throw the law out, as it has thrown out gun control laws in Washington, DC. How soon? Schroeder isn't sure.

Credit Nick Lippa / WBFO News
Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek has joined Erie County District Attorney John Flynn in not prosecuting the SAFE Act provision.

"One of the reasons that the 1791 Society was formed last spring that because we have to go in a different direction," Schroeder said. "We think it's going to be through the courts. We have two bills already being submitted. It deals with the ability to have a weapon in your home and we're going to work from there."

He said gun rights supporters won't go away.
"We'll be fighting to the death on that, because any of the gun control laws has no effect on criminal misuse of guns," Schroeder said. "We look at the gun-free zones as laughable for criminals because for them, it's a killing field. They can go and do their dastardly deeds - if you would - without fear of somebody being there to stop them."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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