Bonacic issues petition to repeal new state gun control law

Above: A screenshot from state senator John Bonacic's website, urging constituents in the 42nd District to sign a petition to repeal New York State's new gun control law.

With the ink hardly dry on New York State's new gun control law, New York state senator John Bonacic has already begun a petition drive to get the law repealed. Bonacic was one of 18 Republican state senators to vote against the bill.

Bonacic's district, the 42nd, includes all of Sullivan County as well as parts of Delaware, Ulster and Orange Counties.

On January 16, the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York State's gun control legislation into law, Bonacic urged his constituents to sign a petition in support of repealing the law:

While recent tragedies have shaken many Americans, and are truly heart-breaking, I believe that legally purchased weapons owned by law abiding citizens are not the issue. The real issue and threat we face in our community is possession of guns by dangerous criminals and access to guns by the seriously mentally ill.

The new State law does not have to be the last word in this important debate. I believe we should focus on increasing penalties for criminals who use firearms and addressing the issue of mental illness. I invite you to join in this effort by signing my petition in support of repealing this law, and instead enacting laws which truly protect New Yorkers.

In an earlier statement, Bonacic praised some parts of the gun control bill, and opposed others:

There are parts of this legislation I like and would support if they were enacted separately from the rest of this legislation: 

-           Penalties should be increased substantially when crimes are committed with guns;

-           Penalties should be increased for “straw purchasers” of guns;

-           Penalties should be increased for the unlawful possession of any gun;

-           Mental Health concerns expressed by professionals should be able to lead to the suspension or revocation of the ability to own a gun;

-          The State should allocate aid for more school security to protect our children.   

Too often, in a rush to be “first” or “toughest” or in a desire to vote on something that “sounds good” or appeases a particular constituency, substantive policies are carelessly enacted.

Cuomo has taken heat from the media as well as gun rights advocates for rushing the gun control bill through the legislative process. In a recent New York Times article, reporters Thomas Kaplan and Danny Hakim write that Cuomo twisted a few arms behind the scenes to get the bill passed:

The weeks between the mass shooting and the bill signing illustrated the classic Cuomo formula, honed over years in public life and refined during his first two years as governor. Eggs are broken, speed rules, an open process is sacrificed, and results are achieved — sometimes triumphant, often jagged and imperfect. Before New York’s new gun control law was even passed, lawmakers were acknowledging that they would have to pass a second measure to clean up some of its errors.

Another Republican New York state senator, Bill Larkin of the lower Hudson Valley-area 39th District, has also started a petition drive in support of repealing the law.