I’m an avid outdoorsman and will always remain a strong advocate for the ideals, rights and traditions that sportsmen and sportswomen have long cherished. I firmly defend our Second Amendment right to bear arms. I am a member of the NRA and have received an “A” rating from the NRA Political Victory Fund, which recognizes me as being a “solid pro-Second Amendment/pro-hunting candidate who supports sportsmen and gun owners.”
As we all know, the Second Amendment has been under siege in New York State for many years. That’s especially been the case since the enactment of the NY SAFE Act in early 2013. I was one of 18 state senators who voted against the SAFE Act and, since then, have stood together with many citizens, sportsmen, law enforcement officers and other local leaders from across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions in opposition to the Act. Equally important, we’re opposed to the shoddy legislative process that produced a law so full of failings and shortcomings, and one that places even more state-imposed burdens on already hard-pressed upstate citizens and localities.
At a large SAFE ACT protest rally outside the Capitol in Albany in the spring of 2013, Senator O’Mara expressed his strong opposition.
I’m continuing to co-sponsor legislation to repeal the SAFE Act. We understand that the odds are more than long that Governor Cuomo or the State Assembly Democratic leadership will ever suddenly reverse course and agree to repeal it on their own. But this protest has had a lasting impact. The SAFE Act is a vehicle giving voice to the importance of the Second Amendment, but also to long-simmering frustrations and anger at a state government largely controlled by downstate, urban-oriented, liberal powers-that-be who couldn’t care less about upstate New York’s economic decline, upstate’s tax burden, our traditions and values, or our way of life.
On a more personal note, fishing is my pastime of choice. I often fish our Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario. As Chairman of the Chemung-Schuyler Red Cross, I helped organize the Annual Red Cross “Reeling for Relief” fishing tournament held each July on the Finger Lakes. I have been and will always be a strong supporter of programs to preserve and enhance our natural resources, and the hunting and fishing traditions which have for so long been a foundation of our economy and culture. I believe in a cooperative approach to fish and game management favoring inclusion of our sportsmen’s organizations in the process.
And never forget that hunting and fishing — the outdoor industry overall — is big business locally and throughout New York State, to the tune of more than $8 billion in annual economic activity. It’s a reminder that the traditions carried on by our sportsmen and sportswomen are truly anchors of upstate New York’s way of life – making irreplaceable contributions to the economy and the culture, and leading the way on conservation.