BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Legislature passed a law on Thursday that allows 12 and 13 year olds to hunt big game with firearms and crossbows under supervision. Conservative legislator, Joe Lorigo, said hunting plays a big role in the lives of many Western New Yorkers.
“Legislators who voted against this bill today really misrepresented what it’s all about,” Lorigo said. “All it really does is allow hunters who are 12 and 13 years old to use the same guns they used for small game to hunt deer.”
This new law states that the young hunters do have to be supervised, but the supervision does not have to necessarily come from a parent or legal guardian.
Democratic legislator, Timothy Meyers, voted against the bill.
“The way the law reads, it says any 21 year old,” Meyers said. “I have a problem with that. I would not send my 12 or 13 year old with any random 21 year old.”
Some legislators who voted against the law say it promotes teens using guns.
“I hope and pray we don’t have a tragedy like we do every hunting season, and I think this expands the opportunity for that to happen,” Meyers said. “I hope I’m wrong on that.”
Until this vote, Erie County was one of only two counties in the state that did not adopt New York's youth hunting pilot program.
“This is something done under adult supervision to teach them proper gun etiquette and to help with conversation and the expanding deer population,” Lorigo said.