If signed by the Governor, the law wold take effect immediately, likely in time for the fall hunting season. The bill was requested by the County Board of Supervisors in May. The only real resistance has been from a few legislators downstate.
“I’m still for it,” said Charles DiPasquale, Town Supervisor for Mt. Morris. “I think Livingston County has not grown so much that we can’t handle rifles.”
Indeed, the bill has seen overwhelming support from upstate politicians.
The Senate passed the bill early this month 57 to 2, the only “nays” coming from Senators Brad Hoylman and Jose M. Serrano, both of whom represent districts in New York City.
The Assembly passed it 126 to 9, with only New York City Representatives not in favor.
The new legislation still comes with a few restrictions. For one, it will not allow hunting with any autoloading or fully automatic firearms, as defined by current regulations. There will also be no hunting with long firearms holding more than 6 rounds of ammunition, or firearms equipped with silencers.
An important part of the push for rifle legalization is on the grounds of pubic safety. Hunting advocacy groups have said that when used properly, powerful centerfire rifles present no more public threat than bows, muzzleloaders, shotguns and handguns, all of which are currently legal and widely used for big game hunting in Livingston County.
These groups cite Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) statistics that suggest tree stands for bowhunting and offroad vehicles hurt far more people annually than rifles do.