Repeal SAFE Act upstate

New York state has always been two places: New York City and the rest of the state. It’s good to see the state Legislature accepting that reality.

Last year, the Legislature approved, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed, a minimum wage increase that is higher in New York City and other big cities than it is for rural areas where the cost of living isn’t as expensive. It was a surprising realization from downstate Democrats that the needs of New York City and the state’s other big cities are starkly different from rural areas like Essex and Franklin counties.

Following that same logic, legislation has been introduced in the state Senate and Assembly that would repeal much of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in upstate New York while leaving the legislation in place in Kings, Queens, Richmond, New York and Bronx counties.

The legislation would reverse many elements of the SAFE Act including gun licensing recertification requirements, storage mandates, firearm seizures and registries, and information collected on gun owners. It would end the five-year recertification requirement for pistol permits, fully repeal an ammunition database, repeal the as-yet-unimplemented statewide License and Record Database, and authorize the transfer of firearms, rifles and shotguns to family members as part of an estate.

The SAFE Act has accomplished nothing for Franklin and Essex County residents. It has made more work for law-enforcement agencies, hassled legal gun owners and done nothing to prevent guns from ending up in the hands of criminals.

If the act is popular among the citizens of New York City, then removing the SAFE Act’s restrictions on the rural counties in New York state is an acceptable compromise. The state Legislature should pass this legislation, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo should sign it.