FIRING LINE — “The Shot Heard Around New York” drew a crowd that included Springville Mayor William Krebs, NY gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, State Assemblyman David DiPietro, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard and members of the Fiddler’s Green Militia, SCOPE, Erie County Federation of Sportsmens Clubs and Springville Field and Stream Club.
SPRINGVILLE — In an act dubbed “The Shot Heard Around New York State,” opponents of New York state gun laws fired a symbolic shot, at noon on Jan. 11, to protest what they call an encroachment of their Second Amendment rights.
The protest specifically targeted the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 – passed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo a little more than a year ago. The protest originated in the town of Concord, where the Springville Field and Stream Club hosted an event at its headquarters, located just outside village limits.
Organizers invited protesters to fire a round wherever they were safely and legally able to do so. Because discharging a firearm is prohibited within the village of Springville, the field and stream club opened their range to the public. Shots fired from re-enactment artillery accompanied a firing line of pistols, rifles, shotguns and even 18th century replicas fired by members of the Fiddler’s Green Militia.
The protest “was better than I thought would ever happen,” said Richard Kazmark, president of Springville Field and Stream and organizer for the event.
State Assemblyman David DiPietro, who fired his shot in Concord, said, “It’s a huge day for people against the SAFE Act. It continually shows the widespread support – throughout the country – the people who are sympathizing with us in New York state, about how bad this is.”
Kazmark said the turnout was excellent, and included appearances by DiPietro, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, who fired a Desert Eagle pistol with the firing line, and NY gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.
Kazmark estimated that 200-250 people gathered on club grounds, although many more participated at home, in clubs and on shooting ranges within the state, as well as nationally.
“In the state, over 250,000” joined in, said the organizer, who based his estimates on Facebook statistics and other means of contact by fellow protesters. Nationally, he said, people in more than 30 states fired in solidarity.
KABOOM — Pete Mueller, of the Fiddler’s Green Militia, looked on as cannon smoke rose from replica artillery, fired off during the Jan. 11 SAFE Act protest. Photos by Joshua Gordon.
Historical parallels between “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” that kicked off the Revolutionary War in Concord, Mass., and the modern-day protest in Concord, N.Y., were intentional.
According to organizers, “‘Embattled’ farmers met at Concord Bridge to confront British regulars who had marched from Boston in the dark of night, in order to seize their firearms. There, they fired ‘The Shot Heard Round the World.’ Patriots in Concord, N.Y. will fire a symbolic shot ... to protest the first anniversary of the NYS SAFE Act, passed in the dark of night.”
The historical underpinnings of the event were at the fore for Howard, who said he chose to participate in Concord’s firing line because of the historical parallels.
“The similarities between the grievances that were listed in our Declaration of Independence, and what government is doing now, are astounding,” said Howard. “If you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence, it’s time that you do, because the people who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
READY — Members of the Fiddler’s Green Militia, dressed in period garb, fired replica rifles during the Jan. 11 protest.
“We have been asleep too long,” continued Howard, “and while we’ve been asleep, we’ve lost control. The United States of America is intended to be governed by the consent of the people, and New York won’t even listen to the people.”
Kazmark said Springville Field and Stream is planning future events regarding the SAFE Act, though none had been finalized, by press time.
For more information about Springville Field and Stream, visit www.facebook.com/SpringvilleFieldAndStreamInc, springvillefieldnstream.org or call 592-7941.