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Cochecton opposes new gun control legislation

By Linda Drollinger
February 20, 2013

By a four-to-one vote at its February 13 monthly meeting, the Town of Cochecton board passed a resolution opposing new gun control legislation enacted by the New York State Assembly and Senate. Larry Richardson cast the dissenting vote, stating that as a longtime gun owner and hunter himself, he did not find the new legislation unduly restrictive to sportsmen; his statement was the only discussion by board members prior to the resolution vote. However, during the public comment portion of the meeting immediately following adoption of the resolution, a Sullivan West school board member read aloud a statement that expressed concern for the safety and welfare of students, faculty and staff in the wake of a spate of recent school shootings, and urged support for new state and federal gun control legislation.

The board resolution reads in part: “Legislation passed by the New York Assembly and Senate infringes on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and would ban the possession and use of firearms now employed by individual citizens of the Town of Cochecton, for defense of Life, Liberty, and Property and would ban the possession and use of firearms now employed for safe forms of firearm recreation, hunting and shooting conducted with the Town of Cochecton, Sullivan County, NY, and… the Town of Cochecton Board believes there are many other less intrusive means available, other than rash, confusing, and inarticulately drafted firearm laws that would effectively control, manage and reduce violence in our society, such as, mental health reforms, anti-bullying programs for schools, enforcement of existing laws to the fullest extent possible, and proper psychological counseling for those in need or who request it… ”

The language was nearly identical to resolutions passed in the towns of Deerpark, Thompson and Callicoon. Full text of the resolution, as well as minutes of the meeting, can be found under the public notices tab on the town’s website at www.townofcochectonny.org.

In other business, the meeting opened with a moment of silence in memory of the late Ralph Virgil Calkins Jr., who died on January 23. A lifelong resident of Cochecton and a member of its planning board for more than 21 years, Calkins served as planning board chairman from 1988 to 1989. A memorial tribute to Calkins was read by supervisor Gary Maas, and then presented to Calkins’ widow, Edna Calkins, of Lake Huntington.