Albany rally to highlight ‘civil disobedience’ of SAFE Act

ALBANY — Gun-rights advocates will rally at the state Capitol on Tuesday and call for law enforcement officials to disobey portions of New York’s gun-control law.

Police, county clerks and mental-health professionals have raised concerns since the New York SAFE Act was adopted in January, contending that the law is unconstitutional and will be hard to enforce.

Assemblyman Bill Nojay, R-Pittsford, said the noon event outside the Capitol will urge law enforcement officials and other public leaders to reject compliance with the law, which has been championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“The crowd is going to be heavily weighted toward the government employees that are most affected by the SAFE Act,” said Nojay, who is an organizer of the rally. “And the thrust of a lot of the comments is going to be civil disobedience and resistance to its implementation.”

Gun-rights advocates and state lawmakers are also planning to submit more than 100,000 petitions to Cuomo’s office in opposition to the gun-control law, which was adopted less than a month after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn. Nojay said the rally would also begin to galvanize support for the 2014 elections, when state lawmakers and Cuomo seek re-election.

The state Sheriffs’ Association last month joined a lawsuit by the state Rifle and Pistol Association, the New York arm of the National Rifle Association, seeking to have the law overturned.

A few sheriffs have said they would not enforce the law, and others said they would enforce it but still oppose it.

The law lowered the number of bullets allowed in a magazine from 10 to seven and bolstered the state’s ban on assault-style weapons. It also increased the registration requirements for certain firearm holders and failure to register by mid-2014 could lead to a misdemeanor charge.

County clerks are protesting a part of the law that requires opt-out forms for any pistol-permit holder who does not want their information public. Clerks said the paperwork is overwhelming, and many said they have no plans to ever release details about permit holders — even those who do not complete the opt-out forms.

Cuomo has warned officials that they are required to enforce the laws. Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss said last month that Cuomo urged him and a few other law enforcement officials to not speak openly about their opposition to the law, saying it could infringe on their ability to enforce it.

But sheriffs said they have a right as elected officials to offer their opinion.

The Sheriffs’ Association said in its legal brief May 14 that its members “are entrusted with the critical responsibility of ensuring law and order. In very real and direct ways, the challenged laws increase disorder.”

The state Assembly last month passed legislation that would exempt retired police officers from the ban on assault-style weapons. The Senate has yet to act, and it’s unclear whether Cuomo would sign it.

Speakers at Tuesday’s rally are expected to include Jeanine Pirro, a television host and former Westchester County district attorney, and Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman who ran against Cuomo for governor in 2010.

Buses from around the state are expected to come to the event. There have been at least four rallies at the Capitol since the law passed, including one last spring that drew several thousand people.

“People want the SAFE Act repealed. It’s an unconstitutional law,” said Stephen Aldstadt, who lives near Buffalo and is president of Shooters Committee on Political Education, a New York gun-rights group.

“It was put through without the proper vetting process,” he said. “It mainly negatively affects law-abiding citizens and doesn’t really do much of anything to affect crime.”


Posted on June 10, 2013, in Government, Guns/NRA, New York, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Good article. ““The crowd is going to be heavily weighted toward the government employees that are most affected by the SAFE Act,” said Nojay”

    I’m not sure if this excites or disturbs me. The devil may be in the details. There is a lot more wrong about it than from the gov employees perspective. But a “protest” its still good news. Some will enforce it while saying they oppose it. And county clerks complaining about the “paperwork” in the opt out process, and reassuring people not to fear they have “no plans” on releasing any of that info makes me feel real good. So is this about buying the support of LEO, and satisfying gov employee complaints, or about what is wrong with the law? I wonder.

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