More than 400 people gathered at the Salisbury Ridgerunners Clubhouse Wednesday evening for an informational session on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new gun control law.
The session was supposed to give attendees a better understanding of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, but the forum quickly turned into a question and answer session with Assemblyman Marc Butler, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King, Herkimer County Sheriff Christopher Farber and Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent Bono.
“Cuomo’s idea is nothing but a gun grab. He negotiated this bill behind closed doors to get rid of all firearms,” said Robert Fitch, of Ilion. Fitch was among a number of people in attendance at Wednesday evening’s forum who wore a T-shirt that stated “Cuomo Made Me A Criminal.”
“I don’t understand how this bill went through the way it did. It doesn’t seem American,” said Andrew Reimer, of Norway. “How come they didn’t go after the mental health law when that’s the real problem.”
“How can someone who put their hand on the Bible and swore on the United States Constitution take the Second Amendment away? This is someone who upholds our Constitution,” said Duke Fredrick, of East Herkimer.
“If limiting gun violence was the objective of the governor’s gun control law, it fails to stand up to that task and instead tramples on our Second Amendment rights and threatens the jobs of my constituents,” said Butler, R - Newport. “This poorly crafted law was forced on law-abiding citizens overnight and under a veil of secrecy. My constituents and I demand better for our state.”
To help protect gun owners and jobs in upstate New York Butler has introduced a bill aimed at reversing the provisions of the law that will impact the manufacture of firearms at Remington Arms.
The new bill will seek to amend the definition of “assault weapon” to exclude pistol grips, muzzle breaks, muzzle compensators, thumbhole stock rifles and pistol shrouds with specific characteristics and common use for lawful purposes. To push the bill Butler is planning a Second Amendment rights rally in Albany on Feb. 28. The rally will also seek to repeal or make amendments to the SAFE Act.
“As president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, I share the anger and frustration felt by Assemblyman Butler’s constituents over the content of Gov. Cuomo’s gun grab and the unnecessary urgency with which it was passed,” said King, a member of the National Rifle Association board. “I commend Assemblyman Butler for trying to rectify the more onerous aspects of the gun control law pertaining to legitimate firearms manufactured by Remington Arms. I empathize with the residents and employees of the Mohawk Valley who will be impacted by this troubling law.”
Page 2 of 2 - New legislation being passed around addressing liability of gun ownership projects an estimated cost of between $2,000 to $16,000. “Where is this money going to come from,” asked Farber. “All I know is that Cuomo’s gun bill is not going to reduce gun violence. Once this bill goes through the only people who will have guns will be criminals. Law abiding citizens are being trampled on.”
With the restrictions included within the SAFE Act set to take effect on April 15, King announced the National Rifle Association has taken action and filed a lawsuit to overturn the legislation.
“About two weeks ago the NRA served the Attorney General and as soon as the suit is filed it will be available on the NRA website for everyone to view,” said King. “Right now we’re working with the best of the best Second Amendment attorneys and they are confident this will work in our favor.”
Although King is confident he admitted it will take time to affect any change.
“Unfortunately, this will be a two year plus project which we hope will make it all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said. “This will cost about $700,000 and we don’t want to cause taxpayers any more pain. At times the NRA acts as a lobbying group and at this time we need some help.”
After King made his statement, a hat was passed around by a member of the audience for those in attendance to make a donation.