I am pleased to report a state Supreme Court judge agreed Friday to hear concerns that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rush to implement new gun controls may have violated the state Constitution. The governor issued a “message of necessity” to get around the normally required wait on signing a bill, and it wasn’t even debated in the Senate.
The plaintiffs also say the law violates their Second Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. The NYS Rifle & Pistol Association filed the Notice of Claim.
I attended the Anti-SAFE Act / Second Amendment Rally in Albany Thursday, Feb. 28, along with some 5,000 other gun owners, though a few of the State Police I spoke with estimated the number at closer to 10,000. Prompted by those seeking repeal of the governor's SAFE Act, it was one of the largest such rallies held in Albany. I'm pleased to say it was neat, polite, orderly and to the point, with no confrontations from opposing groups.
Despite the impressive number of attendees there likely would have been even more had the weather not been so bleak, cool and generally unpleasant, with occasional light showers. Actually, it did little to dampen the enthusiasm of those who did attend. Speakers included NRA President David Keene, NYS Rifle & Pistol Association President Tom King, NYS senators Kathy Marchione and James Seward, former Assemblyman George Amedore and many others.
For those of you unfamiliar with the issue, the rally was to support repeal of the governor's hurried, middle-of-the night gun control act, which most gun owners feel is unnecessary, fails to consider other alternatives and was written and rushed through passage without the due diligence normally afforded such matters.
The governor essentially ramrodded it through the Legislature to avoid opportunity for dissent. Legal gun owners also consider it a violation of their Second Amendment rights.
CUOMO CITES POLLS
The governor offered little solace in subsequent interviews and said while the attendees rallied in favor of repeal, recent polls show New Yorkers favor tighter gun laws. Unfortunately, that sounds much like the technique used six or seven years ago when a group wanted to reintroduce wolves in the Adirondacks. Remember that?
Their surveys, initially taken primarily in the North Country, showed little interest in the project so they just moved to New York City for their next round of surveys. It should come as no surprise that the response there was substantially more positive, but remember this was the Big Apple, where people will agree to anything - especially if it doesn't concern them directly. Pollsters seeking increased validity for their efforts always go where they're most likely to meet with approval.
GOV. PLANS TWEAKS
In all fairness, even many legal gun owners favor some gun control, but only what is needed to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and other malcontents. Gov. Cuomo's SAFE Act is a few short steps removed from total gun confiscation, but don't mention that to him because he'll deny it.
In any event, the governor has said he plans to reexamine the act and tweak it a bit to address some shortcomings. Unfortunately, addressing those shortcomings may not be enough for most Second Amendment adherents. I’ll have more on this in a future column.
HALL OF FAME
Congratulations to Greg O'Hara of Inlet on his recent election, along with six other outstanding sportsmen, to the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame. Among his many accomplishments, he is the founder of the Central Adirondack Search and Rescue Team. In the past decade CASART has been involved in almost 40 search and rescue missions. Greg is also a licensed hiking and camping guide and has presented many seminars on safe hiking practices.
He will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at the group's annual Banquet April 27. A plaque signifying his induction will be placed on the "Wall of Fame" located at the Adirondack Wildlife and Sports Educational Museum near the intersection of state routes 30 and 29 in Vails Mills. The museum also houses the Hall of Fame.
Actually, Greg will receive two plaques, one for his own use and the other to be posted on the wall. The hall contains over 200 plaques of inductees, including dedicated conservationists, leaders of sporting organizations, prominent outdoor writers, television personalities, state political figures, hunting and fishing guides and others.