Annie Rabbitt seeks gun law repeal

Assemblywoman objects to any new restriction, even on military-style assault weapons

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  • Annie Rabbitt (Photo: NYS Assembly)

By Pamela Chergotis

— New York State Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt has called for the repeal of the state’s tough new gun law. She is asking her constituents to sign a petition demanding that it be revoked.

Her position echoes that of National Rifle Association, which, after the Newtown massacre, resisted calls for any kind of gun control — even on the military-style assault rifles used last month to kill 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown and two firefighters in Webster, N.Y.

Rabbitt's objections to the new law focus on “technical problems in the law language” (please see page 12 for the full text of her statement). But she would object to any language that included more restrictions on guns, including rapid-fire assault rifles.

“Assemblywoman Rabbitt believes there should be no further restrictions on gun ownership, there are already enough laws and it is a constitutional right,” wrote Krystal Varrenti, Rabbitt’s Office Director in an email to The Chronicle.

Rabbitt’s own plan to keep assault weapons out of the hands of criminals and sociopaths depends on gun buyback programs and the ability of school social workers to tag troubled youth.

“This is how Assemblywoman Rabbitt feels about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the seriously mentally ill,” Varrenti wrote. “We need to have a serious conversation about how to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the seriously mentally ill. The SAFE Act does not address these concerns and our communities will not be safer until Albany agrees to have an open and honest conversation addressing the root problems of violence in our society. Additionally, I believe we should be aggressively getting guns off the streets and limiting a criminals’ access to guns through guy buy-back programs. Also, we should be placing social workers in schools in order to help identify troubled youth in order to get them the help they need.”

In a whirlwind vote immediately after Newtown, the Senate and Assembly passed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or NY SAFE, by wide margins. The new law strengthens the state’s ban on assault weapons, limits magazines to a maximum capacity of seven rounds, and gives the state greater power to confiscate weapons from mentally ill people believed to be violent.

On Tuesday, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, which calls itself “the official NRA-affiliated State Association in New York,” filed a notice of claim against the state, saying the new law violates New Yorkers’ “fundamental constitutional rights to lawfully possess, keep, bear and use firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes.”

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