Goodell: Legislation shows ‘unbridled animosity toward any guns’

A series of bills aimed at making the state’s already tough gun laws even stricter was passed by the Democrat-controlled New York Legislature.

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, said he supported two of the six bills brought to a vote Tuesday, one of which will make it illegal to sell or manufacture bump stocks, devices that can increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic weapons.

Such a device was used by the gunman who opened fire from a Las Vegas hotel room in 2017, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds of others.

Goodell also voted in favor of a bill that would allow states to seek and obtain mental health records for those applying for a gun permit.

However, the Jamestown Republican said he was against several other bills that passed Tuesday.

“The legislation shows the unbridled animosity toward any guns,” Goodell said. “Unfortunately, it does not take into consideration the realities of rural communities.”

Goodell said he opposed legislation to prohibit schools from allowing teachers and other school employees to carry guns in schools. He said schools in rural areas without a resource officer will be without an option should a gun be needed.

“It’s a decision that should be made by local school boards,” Goodell told the newspaper from Albany. “They were elected for that purpose. In rural areas, officers can be 15 to 20 minutes away in good weather. If no one is armed, it would be a shooting gallery. With all of these mass shootings, it only ended when someone with a gun showed up.”

Some local superintendents have already come out against arming teachers in schools.

“No guns on school grounds unless you are a resource officer,” said Jamestown Schools Superintendent Bret Apthorpe over the summer. “I can’t see any reason ever for any teacher to have a gun in school.”

Apthorpe said the conversation isn’t relevant in the areas where school campuses are closed and contained, unlike the open campuses without hallways in more southern states.

“Our schools are locked up solid,” Apthorpe said.

Goodell said he also opposed legislation that would authorize parents, teachers and school administrators to ask a judge to evaluate a child they believe is a threat to themselves or others. The judge could then order the confiscation of firearms in the child’s home. That measure is known in Albany as a “red flag” bill.

The gun control legislation was the first approved in Albany since Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in early 2013, when Republicans controlled the Senate. The tougher gun laws known as the SAFE ACT passed just weeks after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The latest round of gun control legislation comes in the first month of Cuomo’s third term. He supports the measures and is expected to sign them into law. Cuomo called the new legislation “a big step forward” for commonsense gun control.

“There is a solution, and we have six years of history to show that the planet does not stop spinning, people don’t lose guns, it doesn’t bankrupt an industry,” Cuomo said earlier Tuesday at a state Capitol news conference with anti-gun violence advocates.

The package of bills also includes measures to create a municipal gun buyback program and to extend the waiting period from three days to 30 days after an inconclusive background check before a gun can be purchased.

The Associated Press contributed this story.