Pro-gun voices converge

| March 1, 2013 | 0 Comments

Gun rights supporters turned out by the thousands
on the muddy West Lawn of the Capitol on Thursday
to make their opposition heard to Gov. Andrew
Cuomo’s gun control legislation passed last month.

Buses from across the state showed up for the New
York State Rifle & Pistol Association’s fifth
annual Lobby Day and Rally, which drew a record
crowd of more than 5,000 people and was headlined
by National Rifle Association President David
Keene. The crowd was energetic, waving signs and
flags, engaging in spirited conversations about
the law they uniformily despise, chanting against
Cuomo and roundly applauding a cavalcade of
speakers who took turns preaching the rights of gun owners.

Lost among the crowd on the lawn was Galway
resident Darryl Hill, who described the event as
“awesome” and “great.” The event’s advocacy for a
total repeal of Cuomo’s Secure Ammunition and
Firearms Enforcement Act, known as the NY SAFE Act, resonated with him.

Included in the law is a limit of seven bullets
in a magazine, an enhancment of the state’s
assault weapons ban and the creation of a gun registry for firearms.

“They’re infringing on our rights to bear arms,”
said Hill, a gun owner. “It affects us personally
because they’re outlawing guns that we’ve used for 30 years.”

He was also concerned about the possibility of
the state coming to his home to confiscate his
guns once the law was fully implemented.

The crowd enthusiastically endorsed the
announcement from state Sen. Kathy Marchione,
R-Halfmoon, that she has introduced legislation to repeal the NY SAFE Act.

Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, also
highlighted his own legislation, which would
amend the law to allow any guns made by Remington
Arms in central New York. “I’m pretty confident I
won’t get a message of necessity to get that bill
through,” he added to laughter, a commentary on
the rush to pass the NY SAFE Act. The law
received a gubernatorial message of necessity,
which allowed it to be immediately passed by the
Legislature without the customary three-day delay
between the introduction of a bill and a vote.

NRA President David Keene weighed in on the
rushed passage, which he said cost the state
Legislature its ability to debate the
legislation. Although state legislators couldn’t
voice their opposition then, he noted that they
were getting a chance to speak on Thursday.

“I’m here today because of you and the rights
that you have under the Constitution of this
country … and the willingness you have shown to
stand up for those rights,” he said.

“We’ll help you defeat the politicians that would
deprive you of your rights,” Keene added.

A major point highlighted by the crowd was that
the Second Amendment wasn’t added to the U.S.
Constitution to preserve hunting rights, which
has been a rationale Cuomo has used for limiting
the number of bullets in a magazine, because
hunters don’t need a large capacity. The crowd
also bristled at the governor’s assertion that
they represented a “vocal minority” and
repeatedly vocalized their claim that they are the majority.

The event featured signs and flags with colorful
language, which varied in tone and scope. Signs
described Cuomo as Adolf Hitler or a fascist, and
at least one described the NY SAFE Act as the
bidding of the United Nations. Many called for
the repeal of the law. Flags included the
American flag, the Confederate flag and the
Gadsden flag, with its “Don’t Tread on Me” motto.
There were also some professional NRA placards being handed out at the event.

Attendees came from all corners of the state,
including 26-year-old Tim Castantino, who
traveled with 12 other people from outside of
Buffalo in a limo. “We all chipped in $100 to arrive in style,” he said.

A military veteran, Castantino returned from
service overseas to New York shortly before the
Newtown, Conn., school shooting, which he called
a tragedy. But it didn’t change his feelings
about guns; in fact, he said, “I started buying more guns.”

His decision was motivated by the likely passage
of gun control legislation in New York.

Also speaking at the rally was former Assemblyman
George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, who challenged the
crowd to continue the fight for their Second Amendment rights.

“We’re going to carry the fight on,” he said,
garnering cheers from the crowd. “We cannot allow our fury to diminish.”

Before speaking, the event’s emcee suggested that
Amedore use this opportunity to announce that he
will be running again for state Senate. He declined to make any announcement.

Pro-gun voices converge.

Category: NY & CT Firearm News

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