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Albany County Legislature approves new bipartisan gun control package

The Albany County Legislature has passed legislation aimed at curbing the availability and use of illegal guns.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle approved a resolution to establish the Detailed Instruction Supporting Community Violence Education and Reduction (DISCOVER) program.

Republican and Conservative Conference Leader Frank Mauriello says he's happy to be a co-sponsor of the resolution, which he says closely mirrors the SIGN Law he proposed.

“In Albany County, the problem is with those that possess illegal guns, and that's been echoed by both the county sheriff as well as the DA. So we try to amend one of the local laws that was introduced and tried to then focus on eliminating legal guns. Well, that was defeated. So we resubmitted it as its own standalone legislation. And we then modified it a bit after a couple of discussions with the sheriff. And we reintroduced it as a local law, “ said Mauriello.

Mauriello says the Democrats followed up by introducing the DISCOVER law, which essentially was the SIGN law with an added component where the sheriff would also provide pistol training courses for firearm licensing and gun safety.

The DISCOVER Program will also create an illegal gun tip line, institute gun buyback programs and distribute free gun locking devices.

11th district legislator Frank Commisso Sr. expects DISCOVER will discourage the flow of illegal firearms into Albany County and its buyback component will result in more guns being surrendered.

"There's a larger amount this time. $500," said Commisso.
"We think that's a large amount, and that it was surprising when we started off, I believe it was some time ago, there was a $50 reward. And quite a few people stepped up and helped us get some of these illegal guns off the streets. But as time went on, it seemed like the problems grew. And the legislature seeing fit to come up with this resolution that you now have seen."

County Legislature Majority Leader Dennis Feeney, also a Democrat, says he hopes once the measure goes into effect it will make an instant impact.

"I think we're going to try to roll it out very quickly," Feeney said. "We have to coordinate that with the sheriff. And I believe it still needs to be approved by the county executive."

County Executive Dan McCoy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Legislature also adopted a local law to ban the possession of deadly weapons and dangerous instruments in Albany County facilities by individuals other than those on official business authorized to carry such weapons.

Signs will be posted at county buildings warning individuals that possession of a firearm, rifle shotgun or other deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, explosive device and/or poisonous gas is prohibited. Violators could be charged with an unclassified misdemeanor and subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment up to 90 days.

The local measures come after parts of New York’s new concealed carry gun law were halted by a district court judge in October. The ruling found parts of the measure violated the 2nd Amendment. The law was approved this summer after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned New York’s century-old concealed carry law. The new measure expanded background checks for license applicants — requiring them to provide years of social media posts and prove “good moral character” — and established “sensitive locations” where weapons are not allowed. A three-judge panel on the Second Circuit must decide on the motion to stay the ruling.
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