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Iraq war veterans are among many in Genesee County concerned about how the SAFE Act will affect their right to own a gun.

Nearly 400 local residents packed the Stuart Steiner Theatre at GCC last night for a forum on the state’s new gun control law.

One vet noted that many of her comrades are suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and she worries that could disqualify them under the mental health provision of the SAFE Act.

Tom King, an NRA board member, said the vets have a legitimate concern.

“If that mental health professional says that they are a danger to themselves or someone else," he said, "then their guns will be taken and/or they won’t be able to get a pistol permit. That’s why this law is so, so dangerous. It’s going to make literally hundreds of thousands of people disqualified from owning a gun.”

Last night’s forum at GCC was organized by State Assemblyman Steve Hawley. He was among 44 legislators who voted against the SAFE Act.

Hawley says the issue is an example of what he calls…the two New Yorks.

“This is a prime and typical example of two New Yorks," Hawley said. "It was advanced by downstate interests and pushed through the dead of the night. So, yes, this is another example of two New Yorks – upstate and downstate – where the voices of upstaters, regardless of party affiliation, are often times ignored.”

Hawley has co-sponsored two bills that would repeal the SAFE Act, but most political observers and analysts give the repeal a slim chance of passage.

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