HARTLAND — A candidate for the Niagara County Legislature plans to make Niagara County pay for a lawsuit to overturn portions of the New York SAFE Act gun control law, after county taxpayers have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to further a local lawsuit by the Town of Lewiston.
Niagara County Legislature candidate Derek Caldwell released a draft resolution to members of the grassroots gun rights group Second Amendment for EVER, Inc. (SAFE) Tuesday night that would require the county government to fund and pursue a lawsuit against the controversial gun control legislation, one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s key legislative accomplishments.
“Since 2004, county taxpayers in every one of our 12 towns and three cities have been forced to fund half the cost of a lawsuit against the CWM chemical landfill by the Town of Lewiston,” Caldwell said. “It’s not fair to make people who live in Royalton and Hartland pay and pay and pay for Lewiston’s priorities while the county has, for eight years, done little more than give lip service to fighting an all-out attack on their Constitutional rights.”
Caldwell, who is seeking the 15th District Legislative seat, said he objected to his neighbors being taxed to pay for a lawsuit in the hometown of Legislature Chairwoman Rebecca J. Wydysh while their own legal needs have been all but completely ignored by county government. “When I talk to my neighbors, many of them remain shocked that their state government restricted their Second Amendment rights, and they’re mad that, eight years on, county government’s response has been to pass non-binding resolutions,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell noted that county lawmakers rushed to announce the formation of a new “citizens advisory group” on gun issues just hours before his advertised appearance before the SAFE gun rights group. “The county’s boldest step yet is to create a non-binding advisory group to decide what color to paint the County Pistol Permit Office,” Caldwell said. “Meanwhile, the only path forward for restoring our gun rights is the courts, and our county, which has standing on so many issues, hasn’t done a thing to push back on this state gun control mandate.”
Under Caldwell’s proposed legislation—which he said he will introduce at his first Legislature meeting if elected—the County Treasurer is directed to set aside one dollar every year for every county resident of legal age to own firearms, and the County Attorney’s Office, which routinely hires outside counsel for various issues, is instructed to hire legal representation to challenge vulnerabilities in the SAFE Act.
“The State Legislature will never repeal the SAFE Act. Andrew Cuomo will never admit it was a bad law. But we’ve seen limited victories against it in court when private citizens have sued. Why has our county government hired lawyers for every single thing under the sun and yet refused to take up the issue of the SAFE Act?”
Caldwell is seeking the Republican line in the June 22 primary.
FEATURE PHOTO (04/13): Niagara County Legislature candidate Derek Caldwell addresses Tuesday night’s meeting of the SAFE (Second Amendment for EVER) gun rights group in Hartland.