Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 16, 2013

Local lawmakers, gun enthusiasts speak out on Safe Act

Local lawmakers, gun enthusiasts speak out on Safe Act

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Petrie said the state should be doing more tackle underlying issues that he believes have led to high-profile shooting incidents in recent years, including concerns about care for the mentally ill and violence that is often associated with video games. 

“You’ve got to look at the whole, overall picture and attack the real situation and not just go after whatever’s easy to go after,” he said. 

Of course, there are those who welcome the new measures, including Michael Cole, a Niagara Falls resident who has worked in recent years with the local anti-violence group, Operation SNUG. 

Cole said he supports tighter restrictions on guns, saying more must be done to prevent tragic shootings like the one that happened in Newtown, Conn. 

“I really do think that it’s something we should have been taking a look at a long time ago before something drastic happened and lives have been taken,” Cole said. “A life is a life — whether it is a child’s life or an adult’s life or a teenager’s life.” 

Operation SNUG — guns spelled backward — operated with state financing and was developed to work with area law enforcement officials and the city’s police department to prevent local kids from joining gangs or getting involved with crime and violence. The program’s funding dried up late last year, but Cole said he continues to work with area youth on his own. 

For the most part, Cole said he does not see a big push among area teens to acquire semi-automatic rifles and other higher-powered firearms. However, he said, he would not rule out the possibility that any one of them could acquire such weapons, noting that if the money’s right, people of all ages can buy just about anything. That’s one of the reasons why Cole believes it’s wise to impose limits on guns. 

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