[Video] Iraq War Vet Rails Against New York Legislators Over SAFE Act

Leah Barkoukis

7/7/2013 2:19:00 PM - Leah Barkoukis

Aaron Weiss addressed the Dutchess County Legislature during a debate to repeal the NY SAFE Act in March, but the video is just now sweeping the Internet—and for good reason. Weiss, an Iraq combat veteran and law enforcement officer, criticized lawmakers who described their quick passage of the SAFE Act as “courageous,” given that the sweeping anti-gun bill was rushed through in what the NRA described at the time as a “secretive end-run around the legislative and democratic process.” There were no committee hearings and no public input, according to the NRA statement.

“Apparently, my definition of courage differs from yours,” he says, almost visibly disgusted. “You see, if it was really so courageous a bill, and it took so much courage to pass it, then why was it done in the middle of the night when no one could see it or read it? That’s not courage. That’s a mafia style sit-down to divvy up what’s good for the bosses.”

“Courage,” he continued, “is taking the right and true course of action, not the politically expedient one. Anyone proud of this law must also be proud of the PATRIOT Act, the TSA (Transportation Security Agency), imprisoning Japanese citizens in World War II, since all these actions were spurred by emotional fear and rammed through in the name of public safety.”

Acting one month and a day after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, New York became the first state to pass gun control laws when Gov. Cuomo signed the bill in January. At the time of the signing, Cuomo said it was not only the first bill, but the “best bill.” This statement couldn’t be further from the truth, however, and criticism about the new law has been widespread from New York law enforcement officials.

So far, nearly 60 New York counties have passed nullification measures and the New York Sheriff’s Association has blasted the law, saying in a public statement that the enforcement of the new regulations will “significantly increase the hazards of an already dangerous job.” Weiss touched on this point in his conclusion:

“Since voting to take away someone’s rights is totally different than being asked to enforce it, I want you to consider this. If you support the SAFE Act so wholeheartedly, are you willing to stand with law enforcement members who lead from the front to enforcement? What I mean by that is if a constituent of yours feels so alienated by this law and the manner in which it was passed and they refuse to comply with it, are you willing to stack up on their front door and go in first?”