MASSENA - After attending his fourth village board meeting in Massena, gun rights advocate Will Gray said hell be back next month for his fifth time after Mayor James F. Hidy said the village board has no plans to pass a resolution opposing the SAFE Act.
After reading the article today (Tuesday), I have to agree with Steve Yugartis and say you should be taking your complaints to the state or county, Mr. Hidy said, referring to an article in Tuesdays Daily Courier-Observer detailing how Mr. Yugartis, who serves as mayor in Potsdam, and Trustee Ruth Garner said the village doesnt have jurisdiction over the issue.
Ive explained to Mr. Gray that village board members werent elected to represent village residents opinions on gay rights, gun control and abortion, Mr. Yugartis said. Im reluctant to overstep those bounds.
I was hoping to be on the agenda tonight, Mr. Gray said Tuesday evening at Massenas board meeting, after stating Monday night that he was expecting Massenas Village Board to pass a resolution opposed to the act.
Despite not being on the agenda and the village board not passing a resolution, Mr. Gray said he at least feels welcome in Massena.
I have to tell you it is a lot nicer coming here than going to Potsdam. Its a little friendlier, he said. You know Im not going away.
Mr. Gray, whose comments were limited to five minutes, then gave another presentation in an effort to persuade the board to pass the resolution hes looking for.
He noted that while the United States is ranked number one in the world in terms of gun ownership percentage, the nation is ranked 28th in gun violence.
Mr. Gray also pointed to legislation in Keenesaw, Ga. requiring the head of household in each home to own a gun.
They havent had a killing since 1992, he said, reiterating the point he made on Monday in Potsdam that criminals dont want to get shot.
Its a proven fact, Mr. Gray said. The more guns a nation has the less crime they have.
He pointed to a recent series of incidents in Chicago, a city with one of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, where there were six murders in one hour.
Mr. Gray said he doesnt want anyone to think he doesnt have sympathy for the victims of violence. He said he just feels gun control isnt the answer.
Everyone feels bad about Newtown. I feel bad about Newtown, but you cant legislate against psychiatric problems, he said of the shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.
Mr. Hidy said he feels like Mr. Grays concerns were addressed when the county legislature passed a resolution opposing the SAFE Act.
Mr. Gray the noted that with so many other municipalities passing resolution opposing the SAFE Act he was surpsied by the stance taken by village boards in Potsdam and Massena. The more the merrier, he said. All anybody is looking for is their government to support its constituents.