Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has vetoed a local law that would allow children as young as 12 to legally hunt deer with a firearm in Erie County under the supervision of an experienced adult hunter.
The veto makes Erie County the only county in upstate New York to ban the practice.
In his veto letter, Poloncarz said there was an “inherent danger” in allowing 12 and 13-year-olds to shoot deer with a gun or crossbow.
The Erie County legislature voted 6-5 to pass the new law on Thursday.
“There have been many unfortunate gun accidents across the state and the country, particularly those involving youth hunters,” he wrote in his veto letter to the Legislative Assembly. county.
Jeff Jondle, president of the Erie County Sports Clubs Federation, said Poloncarz’s veto was based on a “bogus set of facts” that now makes Erie County an outlier among counties in the State and country.
“In 49 states and 56 counties in the upstate, this is not a problem,” he said. “We had just joined the rest of the country, and now we are not.”
Because the youth hunting law was only passed by the Legislature with six out of 11 votes, lawmakers are unlikely to muster enough votes to overturn Poloncarz’s veto.
Children as young as 12 are already allowed to hunt under adult supervision and can use firearms to shoot small game, including game birds, squirrels, rabbits and coyotes. But they are limited to regular compound bow hunting for deer.