STOW - The purpose of elected officials is to represent those who elected them. The North Harmony Town Board believes this isn't happening on two local issues.
At its monthly meeting in February, the North Harmony Town Board passed two resolutions: one offering support for the sale of the County Home, and one opposing the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.
Many towns and villages in the county have voiced their distress over the failed vote to sell the County Home, and the town of North Harmony is no different.
"The will of the people is important, and when you have polls out there that show the majority of the people are in favor of selling the home, you need to listen to the people," said Dick Sena, councilman on the North Harmony Town Board. "When over three-quarters of the people are saying that (the county) can't afford to retain the home, I think the politicians who represent those people should listen."
Similar to the County Home, Sena believes that those representing the people of New York are not listening to what residents have to say about the recently passed SAFE Act.
"Ever since (the SAFE Act) was passed, everyone has been talking about it," said Sena. "I think (Cuomo) is using an emotional situation to craft these ridiculous laws, and virtually everyone I know thinks that this (law) is ridiculous."
During an interview, Sena wanted to be perfectly clear that he believes there are facets to the law which have the potential to do good, such as the segments related to mental health evaluation. However, as a whole, he believes the law was hastily passed - especially since it received little to no public input.
"The mental illness part and the criminal part of it - certainly most of us that support Second Amendment right ... think that's what they should really be talking about," said Sena. "Criminals, by definition, break the law. It's simple: They're not going to abide by these laws. They're not going to buy a gun legally and go through a background check. They're going to do whatever they need to do to (obtain a firearm). For example, take the .22 caliber rifle: That's a target rifle. Those are the guns we used to use in rifle club when we were kids, and most of those come with 10-round clips. Manufacturers don't even make seven-round clips for most of these firearms. It just seems so excessive, since New York already had a 10-round maximum. What it does is make almost every gun owner in New York a criminal."
Sena added that the law does not have an exemption clause in it for police officers, which means that every officer who uses a handgun on the job that carries more than seven rounds is also breaking the law.
"I really think the law needs to go back to 10 rounds," said Sena. "That would help so many people, law-abiding people, who either can't afford to modify their guns or can't find a way to modify their guns to this seven-round restriction."
Sena said that, while passing a resolution in North Harmony can't overturn the SAFE Act, the board hopes that with enough support, Albany will get the idea that revisions should be made.
"It seems the more people that come out for a repeal ... the better chance we have of making that happen," said Sena. "The whole act does not need to be rewritten, but there certainly needs to be some modifications."