Lawmakers Bicker Over SAFE Act

12:13 PM, May 29, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - NYS Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D-149th District) recently took Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard to task, for Howard's stance on the NY Safe Act.

Now, a fellow member of the Assembly is calling out Ryan for doing that.

Howard recently said he would not be enforcing New York's controversial new gun laws, mostly because believes them to be unconstitutional.

Ryan then berated Howard, saying the Sheriff does not get to pick and choose which laws to enforce, while also suggesting that Howard could be endangering battered women, for example, by not seizing the weapons of their abusers as the Safe Act now requires if orders of protection are issued.

However, in a letter to Ryan, Finger Lakes region Assemblyman Bill Nojay (R-133rd District) says he finds "galling" that Ryan would allude to protecting abused women in particular, in light of Ryan's continued support of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver

Silver recently admitted he handled a situation involving former Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez incorrectly, when he helped orchestrate secret payments to women, to settle claims that Lopez had sexually harassed them. Lopez, a Democrat, resigned from his 53rd District seat on May 18th in the wake of the scandal.

"If Sheriff Howard doesn't get to pick and choose which laws he's enforcing why does Sean Ryan think Sheldon Silver and the leadership of the State Assembly get to pick and choose what acts of sexual harassment they cover up?" Nojay asked, during an interview with WGRZ-TV.

"There's a difference between violence against women, which is what we're talking about, and sexual harassment," said Ryan.

"It's the exact same issue," countered Nojay. "It's discrimination against women because they are women. Sean Ryan can't have it both ways."

Nojay, who plans to help lead an anti-NY SAFE rally at the capitol in Albany on June 11, also plans to join his fellow minority Republicans in the Assembly on Wednesday in calling on Democrat lawmakers to denounce Silver.

Ryan says he hasn't written back to Nojay, but looks forward to seeing him so that they can discuss their "policy differences".

"Our country is based on a two party system where the two parties often clash on policy," he said

Click on the video player to watch our report from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Norm Fisher. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2

WGRZ-TV, wgrz.com

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