Monroe County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell: Working to Keep Our Streets Safe


County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell of the 29th District and assistant minority leader, continues to make his stance clear on the importance of educating and highlighting the importance of legal gun owners locking their firearm up, when they’re not home and in an event the weapon is stolen, it is the crucial obligation of the owner to immediately report it to the proper authorities.

Mitchell’s legislative bill: The Safe Firearm Storage Act, he introduced would address the previous mentioned measures if it had passed in 2015. The bill got buried by the opposing party through a party-line vote.

However, Mitchell have turned to the community and join forces with neighborhood organizations whose missions and aims are to stop homicides before it happens and has continued to reach-out to his colleagues across the aisle, keeping The Safe Firearm Act well in the purview of the Board.

We recently sat down with Mitchell.

Our conversation is transcribed in his own words below.

Not a year in my term, they had a mass shooting at the Boys and Girls Club on Genesee Street and on Woodbine, where I lost a cousin. When we were speaking to city officials asking, “Where are people getting these guns from. I was told at that time, the majority of the guns confiscated from someone who commits a crime was owned by legal gun owners.

The worst part of this is that only 13 percent of guns used in those crimes were reported stolen. I was told that “67 percent,” of the guns being confiscated that was once owned by legal gun owners, only 13 percent is being reported as stolen. There’s a problem there. When it’s spelled out, we’re saying that “54 percent,” which is more than half of guns used in crimes are stolen and not reported.

So, that’s when I went in and we worked on The Safe Firearm Storage Act.

It’s a bill that tell folks if they’re not home lock their guns up and if their gun is stolen, you must report it immediately. If we know, we can do our best to recover the weapon to prevent that gun from being used in a crime.

My bill in no way holds any legal provision or argumentative sway to take an owner’s gun away.

Its only purpose and function are to highlight and raise awareness on how safely storing your gun under lock and key can increase the safety levels at your home and in your community.

The legislation ensure owners are being responsible with their guns and in return increase the probability that weapon will less likely find its way into our communities.

The argument against commonsense legislation like The Safe Firearm Storage Act begins with guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But people with guns is what kill people.

A person can’t shoot a bullet from his or her finger, so you need the person and a gun to fire the weapon. Yes, people do kill people but today it’s too common that the tool used to kill people is a gun. The open-unhindered access to guns is the problem.

The centers for disease control have some of the most complete comprehensive data on the cause of death in the united states available. In the most recent year for which full national data is available, 2013, 33, 169 individuals were killed by a firearm. About one third of those deaths- 11,208- were homicides. An additional 21,175 lives were lost to those who committed suicide with a gun.

Monroe county should join a growing list of government, including the State of Massachusetts, the Cities of Rochester, New York, and Albany,and Westchester County, in requiring gun owners to keep their weapons locked up when that are not in their immediate possession or control. Crucially, this legislation designates specific, third-party standards that storage containers or locking devices- must meet relying on national-recognized minimal security standards established by Underwriters Laboratories for storage cabinets and statewide standards for firearm locking-devices set by the New York State Police.

We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to staunch the flow of powerful weapons into our community that are destroying lives and give those struggling with depression a fighting chance to access mental health resources and overcome urges to end their own lives. This type of law has been held up by the United States Supreme Court as not conflicting with the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

To review The Safe Firearm Storage Act visit:

To contact legislative Mitchell: Phone: (w)585-201-1807; (o) 585-753-1940, by e-mail: [email protected]
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