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News of Otsego County

gun control debate

LEMONIS: Treat All Writers With Respect
LETTER from ANITA LEMONIS

Treat All Writers With Respect

To the Editor:

As a former long-time resident of Otsego County, I still appreciate our community’s hospital workers, responsible gun owners and polite neighbors – even when we don’t always agree.

Unfortunately, these are things Rick Brockway doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate.

I was struck by the angry and personal tone in one of Brockway’s latest rants when he attacked long-serving public health providers, including Mary Ann Whelan, for recognizing that gun violence is a national health issue.

Brockway should realize that he only won his last election by 150 votes. Given the area is Republican leaning and that his family members are well-positioned in the area, this 150-vote win isn’t much to brag about.

Rather than spreading misinformation and inflaming the community he represents with buzz words (illegal immigrants, Nancy Pelosi), he should appreciate the hard work of the doctors, volunteers and members of the local League of Women’s Voters who care for our community.

I hope people remember his ingratitude at the next election.

ANITA LEMONIS
Vancouver, B.C.

NORTHRUP: Ignore Gun Laws? See You In Court
LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP

Ignore Gun Laws?

See You In Court

To County Representatives:

As elected officials, you of all people do not have the luxury of deciding which laws you will uphold and which you will ignore, much less willfully and publicly flaunt as a partisan political stunt.

If you adopt this scofflaw “gun sanctuary” ordinance, you will be sued for failure to uphold New York State laws – laws that you are free to challenge in court, but laws that you cannot selectively ignore or flaunt to the detriment of the rule of law, to the loss the trust that has been placed in you, or to the breach of your oath of office.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown

Sanctuary Drive Hits Roadblock

Sanctuary Drive Hits Roadblock

D.A. Dismisses Idea; Reps Put Off Action

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The 2A Sanctuary Movement’s effort to banish all gun laws from Otsego County appears at a standstill, at least for now.

“The county board has no real authority or jurisdiction,” county Rep. Dan Wilber, last week, told the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee, which he chairs. “Enforcement is left to the district attorney and the sheriff’s office.”

Wilber said he’s conferring with District Attorney John Muehl and county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. about what comes next.

Meanwhile, he delayed further discussion until the February PSLA meeting, and – picking up on the suggestion of county Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Fly Creek – said he will consider a public forum on the matter for 2021.

For his part, Muehl said later, “I think the county should stay out of it. The courts have found it unconstitutional. I can’t enforce a law that’s been found unconstitutional.”

Devlin said the PSLA Committee is “trying to put this off on John and myself. They don’t know what to do.”

Some PSLA members were expecting a legal opinion from County Attorney Ellen Coccoma on a draft resolution when it met Thursday, Dec. 10, but received a verbal report instead.

“The way I read it now,” she said, the proposed resolution “poses to make a declaration of unconstitutionality about particular laws. That is not an authority that the county board has. Under separation of powers, that decision is given to the courts.”

Muehl and Devlin take an oath “to uphold all the laws of the state,” she added, “which does not allow them to spend money that infringes on their oath of office.”

NORTHRUP: If Sanctuary Passes, County May Be Sued For Failing To Enforce NY Law
LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP

If Sanctuary Passes, County

May Be Sued For Failing

To Enforce NY Law

To the Editor:
As elected officials, you of all people do not have the luxury of deciding which laws you will uphold and which you will ignore, much less willfully and publicly flaunt as a partisan political stunt.
If you adopt this scofflaw “gun sanctuary” ordinance, you will be sued for failure to uphold New York State laws – laws that you are free to challenge in court, but laws that you cannot selectively ignore or flaunt to the detriment of the rule of law, to the loss the trust that has been placed in you, or to the breach of your oath of office.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown

deBLIECK: Governed Also Can ‘Regulate’
LETTER from GARRETT deBLIECK

Governed Also Can ‘Regulate’

To the Editor:

It is ironic that those who achieved an impressive education simultaneously lack the very basics of Constitutional study. Upon the current topic of the Second Amendment seems to illustrate this dichotomy quite well.

The notion that the word “regulated” applies only to that of the government is both taking words out of context and as completely ignoring the very function of the Bill of Rights in the first place.

To exemplify this, the Second Amendment states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to secure a free state, the Right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

This can be split into two general parts. The former is by far the most commonly misinterpreted: “A well- regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.”

If one were to assume that “regulated” is deemed only to that of government, how can a government regulated (which is a method of control) secure a free state? Quite to the contrary, if a government evolved into a tyranny, what stops them from regulating the militia into virtual nonexistence and paralysis? After all, to regulate such in any manner would clearly be within stated
Constitutional grounding.

Current conversation that I have been seeing from our opponents is that such regulations are not even limited to the militia but also to the people themselves. One wonders why the latter portion containing “shall not be infringed” rings any bells.

It is pure nonsense to interpret the word “regulated” as only manifest from the government. To assume so renders the Amendment moot. For if it is permitted to allow government control of an armed populace, how then can such populace secure their republic free? The short answer is that it doesn’t.

The fact of the matter is that government is NOT the sole source of regulation. To the definition, to “regulate” is “to govern or direct according to rule.” Allowing government to control the Second Amendment is logically the same as allowing the prisoners to control the prison.

Rather, our Founders are concerned with a Militia being organized with a system of accountability, restraint, and method of function. All of which are well constituted without government intervention.

A logical parallel can be argued to that of organizational bylaws. Such bylaws form the lawful/unlawful order by which it functions. In other words, the rule is not by virtue of government, but rather to that agreed among the people of said organization.

Brought under this interpretation, the Amendment, as a whole, loses the contradictions and fully makes sense. By being separately regulated among the people from government control(s), the militia does indeed manifest the function to counter check the government if said government strays from the Constitutional Law and into despotism. Therefore, it secures a “free state”.

Further, by removing government controls and entanglements, there also is no longer the contradiction to the latter portion of the Amendment that “the Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

It serves proper advisement to the county representatives to heed Thomas Jefferson’s advice concerning Constitutional interpretation to rebuke such flawed arguments. For one to ignore the very purpose of our Bill of Rights and to ignore the innate contradictions in holding such flawed positions, only the uneducated would embrace such, and the fool to follow it.

GARRETT deBLIECK
Unadilla

WHELAN: These Facts Correct: Guns Are Killing Us
LETTER from MARY ANNE WHELAN, MD

These Facts Correct:

Guns Are Killing Us

To the Editor:

In his most recent letters to the editor on the subject of gun regulation, Mr. Brockway seems to have the shoe on the wrong foot when it comes to factual statements, a particularly bad error for a blacksmith.

In addition to his past claims that the Democratic presidential candidates all wanted to take your guns away, which he surely knew to be false – none of them had ever said any such thing – he has now decided that Kirsten Gillibrand wants to put you in jail for not surrendering them. Oh please.

And with regard to the consequences of the Australian gun buy-back program, the statement that there was a 400 percent increase in gun violence as a consequence was long ago flagged by Facebook as false information. In fact there has been a decrease in gun-related shootings and crimes of violence since the measures taken in Australia.

Here are some facts for him, and if he disagrees with them he can argue with the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine and Pediatrics, which is the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

From Pediatrics, 2019: STATE GUN LAWS AND PEDIATRIC FIREARM-RELATED MORTALITY: “States with laws requiring universal background
checks for firearms purchase in effect for equal to or more than five years had lower pediatric mortality rates.”

From Pediatrics, 2017: “The shooter playing with a gun was the most common circumstance surrounding unintentional firearm deaths of both older and younger children.”

From the New England Journal of Medicine, 2018: Fifteen per cent of all deaths in children and adolescents were firearm related. Of all firearm deaths at all ages, 26 percent occurred among children and adolescents.

In March and April of 2020, gun sales soared, a typical American response to feeling threatened, this time by a virus – perhaps people thought they could shoot it – and pediatric deaths from unintentional shootings by children increased by 45 percent compared to the rates in the preceding three years, as more guns became domestically available.

These facts add up to an appalling number of firearm related deaths, many of which could be prevented by banning assault weapons, reducing permissible magazine loads, and requiring safe storage and documentable ownership.

Screening out mentally unstable persons from access to ownership is also entirely appropriate, and in fact has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The Second Amendment was never meant to confer any right to indiscriminate ownership or use.

Mr. Brockway for some reason refers to deaths occurring in urban “war zones” as being “questionable”. What in the world does that mean?

And what is the relevance of opioid-related deaths, DWI deaths, or the Twin Towers? I’m glad not to be blamed (as a physician) for contributing to the opioid epidemic, but I would never take legislation intended to prevent over-prescribing personally.

The fact remains that firearm related deaths can be reduced by sensible legislation; that sanctuaries are for people, not inanimate objects, and that the courts of New York have held that nothing in the SAFE Act is in conflict with the Second Amendment.

It does not impede target practice or traditional hunting. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is. If you don’t like it you could try to overturn it by legal means – Adrian Kuzminski, in a recent piece in this paper, offers the model of appeals to the principle of “Home Rule” – but as a state law it does surely confer an obligation for enforcement, both on the part of county board members and the police, as it stands.

And you don’t need assault weapons – which were not even conceived of by the framers of the Second Amendment – to hunt, target shoot, or protect yourself in your own home. It’s fine that Mr. Brashear and his friends and family wouldn’t want to be around people who don’t respect their firearms, but it should also be a legal obligation to register them, keep them safely away from children and adolescents, and take full responsibility for their use and transfer, which obviously isn’t happening now. What are the objections to that?

MARY ANNE WHELAN, MD
Cooperstown

KUZMINSKI: SAFE Foes, Pay For Challenge
LETTER from ANTOINETTE KUZMINSKI M.D.

SAFE Foes, Pay For Challenge

To the Editor:

If gun enthusiasts wish to challenge the constitutionality of New York State gun laws, the ensuing court cases should be done on their own dollar.

This will end up in the taxpayers’ lap if the county Board of Representatives agrees to a “gun sanctuary.”

For the county board to take on this role would be financially highly irresponsible, especially in light of the budgetary constraints which just forced layoffs of 58 employees.

ANTOINETTE KUZMINSKI M.D.
Fly Creek

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