I've been hunting since I was a kid, and I'm 100 percent committed to maintaining the right to keep and bear arms for all of us here in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.
I like to head out to the field with my son each season, and spend the day with a great group of people making memories. The things you learn out on the field can't be taught in a classroom, and this tradition is supported by something incredibly important — our fundamental right to keep and bear arms, recognized by our Founding Fathers and expressly protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Many states are attempting to legislate those rights away. That should be stopped. The NY SAFE Act is an example of overreach at a state level that motivates me at the federal level. I don't support the SAFE Act because it unfairly burdens law-abiding citizens and infringes on our constitutional rights while demonstrating a clear trajectory of future anti-gun legislation.
Fifty-two counties in upstate New York have passed resolutions to repeal or amend the SAFE Act, with Tompkins County the lone holdout among the eleven in the 23rd Congressional District. My opponent was chairwoman at the time of passage, giving her an opportunity to stop the legislation. She chose not to do so. My opponent had also chosen to unfairly restrict the rights of sportsmen by banning rifle hunting in Tompkins County long before the SAFE Act.
It's no surprise to hear my opponent refuse to go on record opposing the SAFE Act while she was accepting generous donations from anti-gun extremists in Washington. I signed the SCOPE anti-SAFE Act pledge because I care about western New York values and I have no problem putting my views on paper. My opponent has yet to sign the pledge.
Gun ownership is a right, and with that comes great responsibility. Our rights need to be protected, but we must also be responsible with our firearms and ensure that proper safety measures are taken at every turn. Because I care, I taught my children at a young age to remain diligent and respectful of firearms. The same must be done for our rights in western New York.
We need to focus our efforts on safety measures and doing everything possible to keep weapons out of the hands of children and criminals. In addition, we need to attack the root cause of gun violence and ensure we provide help for the individual behind the gun and care for individuals with mental health needs in America.
I took an oath to uphold the rights of all U.S. citizens, including the law-abiding citizens of western New York. I will stand firmly in protecting our Second Amendment rights and fight the many one-size-fits-all proposals out of Washington that jeopardize these rights on a regular basis. This is the right thing to do.