Troy City Council president wants colleagues to show support for - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Troy City Council president wants colleagues to show support for SAFE Act

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TROY, N.Y. -- The president of the Troy City Council wants her colleagues to sign a letter of support for New York's new gun law.

Lynn Kopka wants to send the letter to the governor supporting the SAFE Act and explain how she believes it will help curb gun violence.

The letter would seem simple enough -- one page, five paragraphs expressing support from the City of Troy for the state's new tougher gun control legislation. 

But it's the very first phrase that some have taken issue with.  Kopka wrote "on behalf of the residents." And as opposition to the SAFE Act continues, some say it's just not right for the city council to weigh in like that.

So far council members confirm 6 have signed the letter, and 3 have declined.

"There have been a number of rallies that I'm sure your station has covered, of people who are raising issues about second amendment rights being curtailed, and I'm certainly a supporter of the second amendment, but I think it puts in place some common sense measures," said council member Nina Nichols.

Nichols was one of the six city council members sign the letter. She tells NEWS10 gun violence is an ongoing problem in the city -- last year alone, 6 people died as a result, and she says this legislation will help turn that around. 

"If Ms. Kopka feels that she feels so strongly about this -- let her send a letter herself. I just don't feel this is an issue she should be putting words in people's mouths," said council member Mark McGrath. "Criminals are going to get their hands on illegal guns. I mean that's what we should be focusing on, putting more police on the street, undercovers."

Since the letter says it's on behalf of the residents of the city, NEWS10 asked residents what they thought.

"I don't care for their support for it either," said Troy resident Joseph Flynn.

"Not everyone supports it, so I mean it's just the city council supporting it," said Sarah McGaughnea.

"I'm not in favor of it. I don't think they should," Kathy Lowden.

Tonight during Troy's city council meeting, residents spoke out against the letter, saying it shouldn't state it speaks for everyone.  Council president Kopka says it was an internal draft that was not meant to be circulated and had not yet been sent to the governor.

"I do not support the gun law," says Charlene Dobert.  "I do not want anybody speaking for me, because I'm here and I'm speaking for myself."

"The new draft will be circulated to council members reflecting your concerns," says council president Lynn Kopka.  "The biggest concern was paragraph one, which said we were speaking on behalf of all citizens.  That was in the draft, that will not be in the final letter."

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