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SAFE Act should help to reduce gun violence

Rod Watson recently took Gov. Andrew Cuomo to task over the state’s SAFE Act.

Watson, an unabashed champion of minorities, uses his column as a forum for the same; he holds Cuomo in disdain for the state’s more reasonable and reasoned gun-safety measures. Watson presumes to speak for the black community in Buffalo. Is he speaking for it on this issue? If so, he does a disservice to the black community and to black youth in particular.

The Children’s Defense Fund recently released its Protect Children, Not Guns report and it conveys some very harsh truths about gun violence in America. And particularly, black America. In 2008 and 2009, gun homicide was the leading cause of death among black teens. Young black males die from gun violence at a rate two and a half times higher than Latino males, and eight times higher than white males. Gun injuries are suffered by black teens at a rate 10 times higher than white teens.

Yet Watson dares to castigate the governor for the SAFE Act, when Watson should be supporting the law as a proponent of those for whom he presumes to serve as a spokesman.

One would question the need for anyone to be carrying a gun loaded with more than seven rounds in the glove compartment of his car. Only in this gun-crazed society would one question the right of a police officer to hold and question those in a car who had engaged him in a chase.

Watson stated, “The last thing the governor needs now is the SAFE Act back in the news.” The vast majority of New Yorkers support the act, and in particular the assault weapons restrictions, common-sense background checks, magazine limits and the ban of Internet sales.

Paul McQuillen

Hamburg