The town of Solon, New York has taken what may be the boldest stance yet in the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement, with local officials vowing not to enforce any new gun control laws that may be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The town law that passed after a raucous public hearing last week forbids town officials or employees from participating in the enforcement of any new state gun laws, and prohibits town funds from being spent to enforce new gun control laws passed in Albany as well, but there’s one catch. According to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper in New York, Solon doesn’t actually have a police force of its own.
Town Supervisor Steve Furlin characterized the law as a policy statement.
“With this local law, this town is making a statement, and that statement is, ‘No more,’” he said.
Two dozen people — including Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms, county Republican Committee Chairwoman Connie White and James Uhlinger, a staffer for Claudia Tenney, a former congresswoman and congressional candidate — attended the meeting in the town garage.
Helms, who didn’t speak at the meeting, had previously said he can’t “pick and choose which laws that I’ll enforce” as sheriff.
White, who said she hadn’t read the law, said she supported “the community pushing back” against intrusive state laws.
According to the local paper, several other towns in the area are considering similar language.
In addition to Truxton, the towns of Virgil and Cuyler and the village of McGraw are also considering similar proposals, and a resident of Willet said Thursday night that he intends to push that town’s board to join. At least one town in Cayuga County is also considering following suit.
Furlin said the effort was to counter what he sees as overreach by a state government attuned more to the needs of urban rather than rural constituents.
“We are not New York City. Our lives are vastly different from those in New York City. We are country folk,” Furlin said before the vote. “We’ve been called everything — redneck, hick, cowboy. Well, guess what? I think the government has hopefully met its match with this board. I think it will continue with Truxton, and I think once this rolls, the governor will get a clear understanding that we are not woodchucks, we are not rednecks and we are not hillbillies.”
I wish these towns the best, but I’m not hopeful that Gov. Cuomo is going to get a clear understanding of the prevailing attitudes in these towns. I think it’s much more likely that Cuomo will simply ignore these local laws and why communities like Solon are passing them. After all, Cuomo’s already pushing a half-dozen new gun control laws this session, and Democrat lawmakers are proposing dozens more.
“We should not deny our communities and our state this opportunity that has been granted to us, of controlling both houses and the governor’s office, to pass tough measures of gun control in this session,” said Assmb. Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), who has sponsored several gun control bills.
“I would say this can be one of the biggest years when you go to the history book,” Ortiz said in an interview. “New York State will finally be able to move forward to have real gun control reforms in place.”
“Finally”? New York passed the SAFE Act in 2013, which included registration of so-called assault weapons, a ban on magazines over 7-rounds, and more. To say that the state currently has no “real” gun control laws in place is absurd, but that’s the attitude of many anti-gun politicians at the state capitol.
We’ll see if the local push to defy state lawmakers continues in Cortland County. I hope it does, but at some point the Second Amendment supporters are going to have to get the local sheriff on board, or else the local laws are going to be basically symbolic acts with no real force behind them.