The two sides of the issue are firmly entrenched. The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or NY S.A.F.E. Act, was quickly approved by the State legislature in January following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Besides its new definitions on what constitutes a banned assault weapon, and limits on number of rounds of ammunition permitted in a weapon’s magazine, the law also targeted ammunition purchases by dealers and gun owners.
Before it was even passed, gun owners, and others opposed to the law, banded together. Rallies in Albany, letters to state legislators and the governor flooded offices. Soon, there was a movement to have the law repealed. This included the lawn signs that began popping up throughout the state, especially in the more conservative rural communities.
No sooner had the sign movement taken hold, then homeowners began complaining of sign thefts. One State Trooper, residing in Newark, had his sign disappear from his front yard on a Saturday in September.
On Thursday (11/21), a vehicle pulled up in front of a house just after 10:30 a.m. on East Townline Road in Williamson. The driver, a woman, got out of the vehicle and snatched up the “Repeal S.A.F.E. Act” lawn sign.
The homeowner, Vicki Erwin, spotted the sign thief and the car drove off, stopping at a neighbor’s yard where another “Repeal S.A.F.E. Act” sign was posted. The driver quickly got back in to her vehicle and sped off.
At this point Vicki called for her father out in the barn and told him what was happening. Chuck Steehler chased the woman down to Pearl Street in Williamson and confronted the sign thief. He asked for the sign back, but the woman told him that, since they were calling the cops, to have them come get the sign.
Police did not have to go far…it was the homeowner’s own pediatrician who works for Williamson Pediatrics at 4425 Old Ridge Road in Williamson. Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies went to the Doctor’s office and searched, finding five of the signs in the dumpster.
Police arrested Dr. Annamaria Kontor, age 46, of Valewood Run in the Town of Penfield for Petit Larceny, “after she was observed stealing a “Repeal S.A.F.E. Act” sign from a yard in Williamson.”
Calls to the Williamson Pediatrics group were met with “No comment” by the girl answering the phones. The girl also said Dr. Kontor had the day off on Friday.
The Rochester General Health System, which is assocaited with Williamson Pediatrics, issued a statement on Friday afternoon. “ Rochester General Health System has learned of the arrest of Annamaria Kontor, MD, a pediatrician who practices at Williamson Pediatrics, part of the Rochester General Medical Group in Wayne County. Dr. Kontor has been with the medical group since 2003. As is the case with any personnel matter, RGHS is unable to make any comment.”
Dr. Kontor’s biography states that before joining the Wayne Medical Group in 2003, Dr. Kontor earned her Medical Doctorate in 1993, graduating summa cum laude from Semmelweis University School of Medicine in Budapest. Her broad health care experience includes working as a midwife and a medic during medical school and as an ambulance physician prior to immigrating to the U.S. in 1994. She completed her pediatric internship and residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and since has worked as a board-certified primary care pediatrician.
Vicki Erwin said she is pulling her children from the Williamson Pediatrics immediately. “I cannot trust her with my children”, she stated. “I’m frustrated. Me, I’m a conservative, not a gun owner, not a gun-toting advocate, but I have the right to my own opinion.”
According to Dave Dentico, the owner of Custom Shop Gun Shop in Walworth, the “Repeal S.A.F.E. Act” signs are sponsored by various civic and gun-advocate groups throughout the State. The local chapter of S.C.O.P.E. (Shooters’ Committee On Political Education) has the signs for sale at $8 around Wayne County. Dentico said, in his travels around the State, he has seen the signs sponsored by church groups, fire departments and even women’s rights groups.
“I have heard from people who have had three, or four signs stolen. Some thought they had just blown away, but I guess not. People have their own agenda, but I guess freedom is not on their agenda. The left is always battering the right. It takes a lot of nerve for those who want absolute tolerance, but don’t want to offer it for anything they disapprove of,” added Dentico.
Dr. Kontor is scheduled to appear on the charge in Williamson Town Court on January 15th at 4 p.m.