Suffern Mayor Dagan Lacorte called out two Rockland County Legislators, and two of his opponents in this year’s Rockland County Executive, for their stance on recent gun control legislation.
This week, the legislature passed a law urging the state to make changes to the recently passed NY SAFE Act. The resolution was originally brought to the legislature by Legislators Ed Day and Chris Carey, and was amended by Legislator Frank Sparaco, all Republican legislators. The resolution, however, passed with bipartisan support, 10-5, at Tuesday’s meeting. One Democrat who voted in favor of the resolution was Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, who, along with Day, is running for county executive later this year.
“In the midst of the first real gun debate this country has seen, County Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, one of my Democratic opponents in the race for Rockland County Executive, has taken a position on gun control that is wildly out of touch with Rockland County Democrats,” Lacorte said in a statement released Friday. “Through political maneuvering, Mr. Schoenberger succeeded in having the Rockland County Legislature oppose sensible gun control legislation; including reinstatement of President [Bill] Clinton’s Assault Weapons Ban and Governor Cuomo’s SAFE ACT.”
On Friday, Schoenberger noted that the county’s resolution is a memorializing legislation.
“It did not cause any assault weapons to be banned or not to be banned,” he said.
Instead, Schoenberger referenced an announcement Lacorte made earlier in the week in regards to revitalization in Suffern beginning with the opening of a new ACE Rainbow Hardware Store that some have criticized because of the possible problems the store could provide for an older hardware store in the village.
“It endangers businesses that have been there for a century,” Schoenberger said. “He should concentrate on running the Village of Suffern while he’s the mayor instead of memorializing legislations.”
Lacorte’s statement also criticized Day as well.
“Republican Ed Day, a career law enforcement man, would have Rockland voters believe that he needs to get clarification on what is and is not ‘an assault weapon,’” Lacorte said. “He should just be clear in whether he is ‘up or down’ on a re-instatement of an assault weapons ban.”
Lacorte’s statement finished up with his own thoughts on gun control.
“I couldn’t be clearer on my position regarding gun control. As the only Progressive Democrat running for Rockland County Executive, I support sensible gun control laws. I’m a strong supporter of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act, and I believe we need to reinstate, on a federal level, the Clinton-era assault weapons ban,” he said.
“However, I do not believe that guns should be confiscated from lawful gun owners. Sensible gun ownership of non-automatic weapons and shotguns should be permitted in a free society. The Journal News acted irresponsibly in printing the gun map, and it, in no way, moved the debate forward. With that being said, I am proud to be the only candidate for Rockland County Executive who doesn’t own a gun, and a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition.”
Day could not be reached for comment on Friday, but his campaign manager, and son, responded to Lacorte’s comments.
“His position on gun ownership is a straw man and betrays his lack of knowledge of guns and their features and functions,” said Christopher Day. “Automatic and select fire weapons are banned throughout the United States, and have been banned for decades without challenge, so trying to draw a distinction between them and semi-automatic weapons in his position is either based on ignorance or a deliberate attempt to confuse the matter. His obvious confusion about the term ‘assault weapon’ as bandied about by politicos shows the exact need for a more specific and fair definition and validates my father's position. The actual weapons being discussed are in fact all semi-automatic weapons, just ones that bear a physical resemblance to military-style rifles and can accept a magazine, as, again, all semi-automatic weapons can."
Day continued to say his father opposes the assault weapons ban because as it is phrased currently, it bans weapons that aren’t actually assault weapons. He said his father’s position on guns isn’t extreme in either position, but instead he supports Second Amendment rights and laws that “do not place an unfair burden on legal gun owners, such as background checks, cross-checking of bulk purchases of ammunition against the background check database and magazine size restrictions.” Christopher Day clarified that his father supports magazine size restrictions, but not those as strict as Cuomo.
“No one needs 100 rounds in a magazine,” said Christopher Day, an Army veteran. “Even the US Military only carries 30 round magazines, and one person with a 100 round magazine renders a dozen concealed carry citizens completely useless in a standoff situation.”
Christopher Day also noted that his father’s resolution received bipartisan support in the legislature and was based off recommendations made from the New York Sheriff’s Association in response to the NY SAFE Act.
“The best way to deal with gun crime is to attach extremely punitive punishments for illegal possession of a firearm or commission of a crime with a firearm, and to ensure that mentally unstable persons are unable to legally purchase firearms,” he said. “Further, all of the planks he put forth in his resolution, as supported by a bipartisan coalition of legislators, were direct recommendations from the Sheriffs' Association, and nearly all dealt with closing loopholes left by the rushed and haphazard process by which the law was passed. They are eminently reasonable and supported by a broad coalition of citizens and law enforcement.”