SAFE Act deadline today; Sheriff, residents respond

CHENANGO COUNTY – Today is the deadline for New York residents to register their assault weapons, per the Safe Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013.

County Sheriffs, politicians, and residents from across the state have expressed their lack of support for the SAFE Act since it was passed, including the Chenango County Sheriff.

“This is one of the biggest failures of the Governor, enacting a law under the cloak of darkness,” said Chenango County Sheriff Ernest R. Cutting Jr. “He took no consideration the will of the people.”

“While I may or may not own a firearm that falls under the SAFE Act, I have no plans to register anything I own,” said Sherburne resident Matthew Jenne. “The SAFE Act is nothing more than an effort to track and control a free people. While some may say ‘think of the children’ or ‘If you have nothing to hide…’ as arguments for this legislation, history proves these arguments to be false and leading down a road to total tyranny and oppression.”

Sheriff Cutting said his office is there to work for the people and their interests. “When you (Cuomo) do stuff like that, it’s socialist, and people are against that. We’re supposed to be here working for the people, not some sort of socialist agenda,” he said.

Cutting added that anger and frustration of residents comes from the Governor’s lack of consideration of the will of the people of New York. That frustration built when the legislation was enacted overnight, he said.

Said Jenne, “I personally refuse to comply with any law which infringes on my rights to life, liberty and justly acquired property. I choose to live my life by two simple principles: the non-aggression Principle and the self-ownership principle. I seek to do no harm to anyone with my property – including my firearms – unless it is in defense of my life, liberty or property.”

“I am here to try to do the right thing, and when you have a constitution that says ‘shall not be infringed,’ that’s pretty specific,” said Cutting. “At least to me, it’s pretty specific, and to many others throughout the state… shall not be infringed. That’s how the founding fathers wanted it.”

“The SAFE Act stops criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, increases penalties for people who use illegal guns, mandates life in prison without parole for anyone who murders a first responder, and imposes the toughest assault weapons ban in the country,” said Gov. Cuomo. “For hunters, sportsmen, and law abiding gun owners, this new law preserves and protects your right to buy, sell, keep or use your guns.”

The New York State Police, the lead agency responsible for overseeing implementation of the NY SAFE Act, was not available for comment.

The deadline to register assault weapons is today, and can be done online at

To see if a firearm is classified as an assault weapon, visit to complete the questionnaire.

Chenango County Clerk Mary Weidman said there are links and informational tools on the county’s website for those seeking information.

“Why must I ask permission to defend myself or register a tool to be used in my defense? This is insane and illogical,” said Jenne.

“This is a free society,” said Cutting. “Not a socialist dictatorship.”

Failure to register an assault weapon by the deadline is punishable as a class A misdemeanor and forfeiture of the weapon.

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