BY MICHAEL RICONDA
Suffern – The Ramapo Town Board met on March 13 to discuss matters business, but attracted significant attention for a recent gesture expressing support for the controversial gun control provisions of the New York State SAFE Act. The memorializing resolution supporting the law had passed unanimously and with little fanfare at the last meeting, but drew the ire of local gun owners who felt it was not subject to discussion and mirrored the passage of the state law in being approved on short notice with minimal discussion.
Robert Romanowski of Monsey explained that the town board’s support was a mistake which approved the criminalization law-abiding citizens, did not address the real causes of crime, and did not express the prevailing opinion of gun owners in the town of Ramapo. “As a resident of the town, this board represents me and other people in the town,” Romanowski said. “Before you passed this resolution, why didn’t you ask the town residents for their opinion?”
James Bron elaborated on Romanowski’s discussion of crime, citing FBI statistics showing a relatively low percentage of murders with rifles as compared to murders with hammers or by hand. Bron also mentioned a Harvard study citing a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime.
“If we control the weapons, we will have a rise in crime.” Bron said. “You are making us more likely to be victims. It is time for the Town of Ramapo to un-resolve their resolution.”
Though the board made no further action upon the measure, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence reaffirmed his position, adding the board supports Second Amendment rights and had their own concerns about the SAFE Act’s magazine capacity limit’s applicability to law enforcement personnel.
“This board believes in safe guns,” St. Lawrence said. “I believe in the Second Amendment and the right for people to bear arms. I think everybody on this board does.”
St. Lawrence went on to explain the board’s friendliness to gun owners had been made apparent by efforts to organize ham shoots for county residents and establish a gun range for law enforcement personnel. A resolution in the county legislature calling for a repeal of parts of the state law was passed last month.