Assemb. Dan Losquadro, the first state lawmaker who will face...

Assemb. Dan Losquadro, the first state lawmaker who will face an election after backing New York State's new gun law, is taking intense criticism from gun rights advocates over his vote. (Nov. 13. 2012) Credit: Gregory A. Shemitz

Assemb. Dan Losquadro, the first state lawmaker who will face an election after backing New York State's new gun law, is taking intense criticism from gun-rights advocates over his vote.

The Shoreham Republican, who is running in a March 3 special election for Brookhaven highway superintendent, is getting heat on a Facebook page called "Dan Losquadro is Dishonest." The website Long Island Firearms, which claims 6,000 members, has posted more than 30 critical comments about Losquadro's gun vote.

"Voting for this ridiculous bill . . . was a mistake," one man wrote. "You will pay for that mistake with your job." Another said: "Losquadro has turned his back on legal gun owners."

Losquadro, a supporter of gun rights who trap shoots and has a pistol license, said he does not expect protests to "take me off track or distract me from my campaign in any way."

He said he voted for what he termed "a compromise package" because it included provisions he favors, including mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes, and easing of restrictions for involuntary commitment of mentally ill people who could pose a danger.

Losquadro said he has concerns about other parts of the bill, including reducing the size of permissible magazines from 10 rounds to seven bullets, which he termed "window dressing," and restrictions on passing down guns to relatives. He said he will propose changes to fix flaws.

"Like many things that happen as a negotiated package, I could not bring myself to vote against all the good things, but there are areas that need improvement to protect the rights of legal gun owners without endangering public safety," he said.

Town board member Kathleen Walsh, who is running for highway superintendent on the Democratic line, declined to comment. Walsh is a Republican who has switched her enrollment to the Independence Party, though the changeover does not take effect until after the special election. In the past, Walsh has supported Second Amendment rights.

Last year, four GOP state senators who supported the gay marriage law faced a backlash for their votes. Three did not return to office this year -- one retired, one lost in a primary and the third lost in a three-way race in which a more conservative candidate drew votes away from the GOP incumbent.

A danger for Losquadro is that in a low-turnout special election, organized special interest groups that turn out even small blocs of voters can have a significant impact.

Marc Alessi, Brookhaven Democratic chairman, said while the gun issue "typically has nothing to do" with the highway job, Losquadro's vote shows that he "says one thing and does another."

Suffolk Conservative Party chairman Edward Walsh, who backs Losquadro for the highway spot, called Losquadro's stand "a bad vote," but doubted any impact on the upcoming race. "The highway job is concerned with who can do the roads right at the least cost to the taxpayers," Walsh said.

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