The 2007 legislative session came to an end on Thursday, June 21, with gun owners and sportsmen seeing some victories and a few disappointments. The good news: none of the anti-gun agenda of the Astate Assembly's Democratic Majority's was brought forward by the State Senate. The package included an expansion of the "assault weapon" ban, and a .50-caliber firearm and an ammunition ban. More good news -- companion bills A 6064A and S 3219A, sponsored by State Assemblyman Jim Bacalles (R-136), which expand the number of counties that allow the use of rifles for hunting deer and bear to include Chemung, Steuben and Yates counties, were approved by lawmakers and now head to Governor Eliot Spitzer's (D) desk.
Disappointments included the State Senate's confirmation of long-time anti-gun, anti-sportsmen Assembly Member Alexander "Pete" Grannis (D) to head the State Department of Environmental Conservation. True to his city-dwelling, anti-sportsman nature, Grannis has already moved to ban certain types of trapping. Also disappointing was the legislature's failure to act on some of the pro-gun and pro-hunting bills, such as Assembly Bill 7962, Assembly Bill 6900, Senate Bill 857, and Assembly Bill 1850. A 7962 sponsored by State Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte (D-138), would have allowed the possession and use of a handgun at a shooting range by those age 14 and over. A 6900, sponsored by State Assemblywoman DelMonte and companion bill, S857, introduced by State Senator Dale Volker (R-59), would have created a special classification of hunting license allowing those ages 12 to 15 to hunt big game with a qualified, licensed adult. Finally, A 1850, sponsored by State Assemblymen Clifford Crouch (R-107), would have established a youth hunter mentoring program.
Though the legislature has recessed and is tentatively not scheduled to return for the remainder of the year, it is possible that they could come back to Albany as early as July to deal with "unfinished business." We will be sure to keep you posted of their comings and goings.