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Thousands Join Anti-Gun Control Rally

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A rally against New York’s newly enacted gun control laws drew one of the largest crowds to the State Capitol in recent decades.

The several thousand mostly white men, many dressed in hunting outfits and carrying American flags, filled the one square block park outside the Capitol. They expressed their anger against the recently-enacted toughest in the nation gun control laws championed by Governor Cuomo and approved by the majority of state legislators.

Many held signs, including one that equated “Cuomoism “ with “Stalinism” and “Nazism." Another called the new statute the “Civil Rights Assault Law." They chanted that they would not obey provisions that will require them to register more types of guns. 

“Your governor is willing to sacrifice the constitution, your rights as citizens and the prerogatives of his legislature on the altar of his own ambition,” said Keene. “Because that’s what this is all about.”

“Cuomo must go," the crowd chanted at various times throughout the rally.

A handful of Republican State Senators who voted against the gun law spoke, including Senator Mike Nozzolio, who represents a mostly rural region near Rochester.

“We have a constitutional right to bear arms and that’s what this is all about,” Nozzolio told the crowd. “We will not take this erosion of our rights. Together, we will prevail.” 

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, of the Hudson Valley, was the lone Democrat to speak. She told the crowd she’s an NRA member and owns a pistol.

State police estimated the crowd at around 5,000, making it one of the largest demonstrations at the Capitol in recent years, but short of the 10,000 that organizers predicted.

James Lytle of Horseheads, who held a sign saying “with guns we are citizens, without them we are slaves," said he doesn’t own a gun himself, but came to stick up for the principle of the second amendment.

“I believe primarily, the founders wanted the right to carry guns in the constitution to protect ourselves from an unjust government,” Lytle said. “I want my neighbors to have them.”

Governor Cuomo was not at the Capitol. The governor was giving an address about his State of the State message and budget plan in Brooklyn.

One day earlier, the governor said 70 percent of New Yorkers support the new law, but he respects the right of the 30 percent who don’t to protest. And he says he knows it’s controversial, adding that it's “one of the reasons why society hasn’t done anything about guns and one of the reasons why we’ve lost so many innocent lives." 

Senate co-leader Jeff Klein, a Democrat who voted for the gun control measure, said he considers it a major accomplishment.

“We should all be proud,” Klein said. “It saves lives, and I’m very confident that we will continue to have it intact.”

Governor Cuomo and lawmakers are planning some minor amendments to the gun law. They inadvertently forgot to exempt police officers from possessing some of the assault weapons. They are also talking about making an exception for movie productions who may use assault rifles when making films in New York.  

Protesters at the rally said it should be repealed altogether.

Watch a video of part of the rally below.

Produced by:

Annmarie Fertoli

Editors:

Julianne Welby

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Comments [4]

Ginger from Texas

Governor Cuomo, please, show us the evidence based data that backs your claime of "one of the reasons why we’ve lost so many innocent lives." Show us the evidence that your strict laws will prevent loss of life. It didn't work for the UK or Austrialia. I'm sure you are familiar with the statics.
Respectfully, a former, NY'r

Apr. 11 2013 11:43 PM
fftk from Vermont

James, if the New York gun control laws do nothing to the ownership of hunting riffles and pistols... Why is it called New York gun Control Laws? Not Gun Registration Laws?

Apr. 01 2013 01:28 PM
Poor James from New York City

Your are a fool....and hopefully one day you will see the big picture. I am not a Republican or a Democrat. But anyone that is infringing upon the rights of any and all Americans is wrong. No more lives will be saved from this. You live in a dream world if you ever think we will live in a society without firearms.

Have you looked at Justice Scalia voting record? He is hardly that conservative. And stop trying to tell people what you think the secondment amendment means. I have the right to bear arms because the Founding Father's were wise enough to know that Governments can and will eventually turn civilians into mindless drones. Just read "1984" and if you have and you feel this way...then you clearly missed the point.

Oh and by the way we live in a Republic and not a democracy. And you can take all the guns in the world away and guess what....people will still kill people and you will never be able to stop evil. There are more deaths by hammers per year then by Assault weapons....and isn't it funny how Homeland Security and the TSA manuals call AR15s as "Personal Defense Weapon but if I own one it is called an Assault Weapon.

The only gun laws that make sense are background checks when selling a firearm, no felons, or mentally-ill. Magazine or clip size hardly makes a difference. I can change a ten round magazine in a matter of a few seconds. And they want you to believe that those few seconds will save lives...they are wrong. We have the right to defend ourselves and telling us what weapons we can and can't own is infringing upon my right to bear arms and protect myself. Funny how I can't own an AR15 while all the politicians and judges have themselves and their families protected by guards with fully automatic weapons with large magazine sizes.

If you don't like guns...then don't own one. But don't tell me I can't own one because you don't like them and thing no one should own them. I think if people want a gun, they have the right, as long as they follow proper laws. And when I mean proper laws I mean no guns to felons and mentally ill. Gun control laws do not work. They just make law abiding citizens helpless against criminals and the day the government turns on it's own people. Call me crazy but it will happen one day. Do you really think that if the government ordered the military to kill American citizens....do you really think the soldiers wouldn't follow orders? maybe a few won't but those orders will be done. Hate the NRA all you want. Hate guns all you want and pass all these guns laws but just remember this....after all of this...evil will always be there and innocent people will die because some people are just plain evil. Stop telling other people what they can and can't do just because you don't like it. Both Democrats and Republicans only care about their parties agendas and you must think for yourself and protect yourself. You really think the police and government will be there to protect you whenever you need them?

Mar. 03 2013 04:59 PM
James from New York City

Neither the Second Amendment nor private ownership of handguns and hunting rifles is implicated in any way by New York’s gun control law. This is but another NRA distraction. Even the most conservative Justice Scalia, in affirming the Second Amendment as a private citizen’s right to bear arms in District of Columbia v. Heller, hailed by the NRA, emphasized that the Constitution in no way permits the carrying of weapons intended for “any sort of [civilian] confrontation”; that is, it is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose”: “[T]he Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.” “[T]he right secured by the Second Amendment is not...a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” “[N]othing in our [reading of the Second Amendment] should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms . . . . [or] the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons’ . . . that are most useful in military service - M-16 rifles and the like.“ The comments of at least one of these Albany protesters reveals what we all know, that their militaristic desires are influenced by a design to resolve by force their differences with a democracy they deem to be an “unjust government.”

Mar. 01 2013 04:08 PM

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