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Officials approve firearms producers

Members of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors voted on several state-related issues at the board's meeting Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved several matters related to state legislation, including one protecting New York’s firearms manufacturers.

The board passed a resolution at the County Office Building urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reject as “ill-advised” a proposed state Legislature bill which supervisors claim would “enact unconstitutional law harming firearms manufactures.”

“Herkimer County and some other counties have been included in this since the beginning of last week,” county Administrative Officer Jon Stead told the board.

Stead said Senate Bill S7196/Assembly Bill A6762 was “not seen on the radar screen” lately by counties.

The bill might impact the Rem Arms LLC — formerly Remington Arms — factory in the Herkimer County village of Ilion that reopened in May eight months after its previous owner closed the facility.

Fulton County’s resolution indicates that the proposed bill “seeks to impose liability on law-abiding firearms business for criminals’ misuse of firearms, which is contrary to the will of Congress, which enacted the Protection of Lawsuit Commerce in Arms Act of 2005.”

The bill will impose liability on firearms manufacturers who lawfully design, manufacture, market, distribute, import and sell firearms in compliance with all federal, state and local laws, the resolution says.

“This poorly thought-out legislation will set a negative precedent on liability on other lawful businesses (i.e.: car companies, beer and marijuana sales, etc.),” the resolution adds.

The resolution mentions Rem Arms as a major employer in upstate New York. The company is a “major contributor to the viability and stability of the region’s economy and provides important jobs to support middle class families,” supervisors said.

State Assemblyman Richard Smullen told the board, “This bill was brought up specifically to go after New York state’s gun manufacturers.” He said he spoke out on the Assembly floor against the proposal, which he said is against federal law.

“This law makes no sense to me,” said Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Warren Greene.

In other action, the board passed a resolution requesting the rescinding of a state fiber right-of-way fee.

Supervisors said the 2019-20 state budget contained language that enacted a right-of-way use and occupancy fee for any fiberoptic cables located in or crossing a state-controlled right-of-way. It also authorized the state Department of Transportation to work out permits with fiberoptic installers.

In early 2020, organizations, businesses, legislators and residents of northern New York became aware of the law because DOT started charging the fee.

Fulton County’s resolution states: “The DOT fiber right-of-way fee is acting as a significant financial deterrent to broadband buildout in rural areas, particularly northern regions upstate.”

The board felt that in the rural counties of the North Country, it is “virtually impossible” to install fiberoptic cables for any distance without utilizing or crossing a state right-of-way and development requirements within the Adirondack State Park.

Supervisors passed a resolution supporting state Senate Bill S4410A to create a state 250th Commission for the Semiquicentennial of the American Revolution. The resolution has been recommended by county Historian Samantha Hall-Saladino.

The bill is a necessary requirement for New York state to be the recipient of any funds from the federal Semiquincentennuial Commission or the national public-private partner organization, America250.

“The bill provides for heritage organizations to be the focal point of the commemoration and a commitment to economic development through active support for heritage tourism and other local business initiatives, thus generating tax revenues and supporting local taxpayers,” the resolution says.

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