Village of Ellenville tackles gun control issues
The village of Ellenville worked on some gun control legislation of its own, passing a resolution urging Ulster County, New York State, and the president to expand mental health treatment, boost school security, and more controversially, put tighter restrictions on guns. YNN's John Wagner has the details.
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ELLENVILLE, N.Y. -- "At the end of the day, it's got to start somewhere," said Jeff Kaplan, Ellenville mayor.
Ellenville Mayor Jeff Kaplan didn't want to wait for lawmakers in Albany to take up the issue of gun control. He proposed a ban on handguns and assault rifles days after the Newtown tragedy. Following local backlash, the village board passed a resolution that simply asks top levels of government to expand mental health treatment, boost school security, and tighten gun laws.
If the village resolutions actually became the law of the land, every shooter would be required to pass licensing tests, there'd be a ban on high capacity magazines above ten rounds, and safer firearm storage would be requisite. With NRA members quoting the Constitution, certain wording to ban assault rifles and a requirement that new guns use fingerprint technology and be tracked through GPS was dropped.
"You want to balance emotions with the possibility of getting something accomplished that will really work," said Mayor Kaplan.
“An armed society is a polite society. These people go into places where they know there will be innocent unarmed victims to be murdered. They’re not shooters, these people are murderers," said Jonathan Conlon, Ellenville resident and NRA member.
This village resolution comes exactly a month after the tragedy in Newtown. Gun control advocates worry that if the state and federal government don't propose and pass tighter gun laws soon with their current national momentum, no real changes will happen and they say the firearm debate will wait months or years to flare up again with the next mass shooting.
Legal gun owners recognize there's a need for change, especially for gun toting criminals. They supported a measure that would make illegal possession of an unloaded unlicensed handgun a felony. They also supported making any gun related offense a mandatory 25 years to life sentence.
“If you make the penalties so bad, the criminals will stop using the handguns," said Conlon.
"I think just a moment of silence and saying that's just too bad, really isn't an appropriate response," said Mayor Kaplan.
The mayor hopes his village serves as an example to the kind of discussion and compromise he hopes to see on a national level.