SPRINGVILLE — The new year is set to go off with a bang, not a whimper.
In an act of protest against the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, sportsmen, gun owners and gun enthusiasts plan to fire “The Shot Heard Around New York State” at noon on Jan. 11.
Signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, in reaction to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the NY SAFE Act steps up background checks and restricts gun and ammunition sales, among a slew of tightened gun restrictions.
Richard Kazmark, president-elect of the Springville Field and Stream Club, and an organizer for the event, sees a connection between modern protesters and the opening volley of the American revolution, known as a “shot heard ‘round the world.”
“It kind of parallels what happened in 1775, on April 19th, with the ‘shot heard ‘round the world’ in Concord, Mass.,” said Kazmark. “Well, we’re in Concord, N.Y. The British came in the middle of the night, to confiscate their [Americans’] firearms and their ammunition; well, our governor [Cuomo] here, in the middle of the night, passed this SAFE Act.”
Kazmark called the protest “the biggest, single pro-Second Amendment event in the state of New York.”
“We figured this was probably the easiest way to connect and have somebody do something,” he said. “I’ve been to probably at least 70-80 percent of the rallies, throughout the state; you only get maybe 1,000, 2,000 people at those. We want to involve more people. And we are – we’ve already involved 130,000 plus.
“It’s big, and it’s amazing,” he continued, “mainly because we’ve had a lot of people outside the state say they were going to participate in it, including a group from the original place where the original ‘shot heard ‘round the world’ took place, in Concord, Mass. It’s going like wildfire!”
Kazmark’s group organized the event through paid advertisements, Facebook and word of mouth.
“We started out giving some presentations at clubs, at the Safari club, the [Erie County] Federation [of Sportsmen’s Clubs], all those kinds of things. I said, there’s not a lot of time to do a whole lot more of this. I said, let’s start using the Internet to get to people. Then, we went on Facebook, and that’s where things really started to take off! It was almost like the thing went viral,” he said.
According to statistics on the event’s Facebook page, Kazmark said the group has received hits from around the world, including Japan, Sweden and Germany.
“I don’t know why they’d want to be involved,” he laughed. “I can see why people in the United States would want to be involved, because what happens here will sometimes trickle down into their state. Especially our bordering states here.”
Wherever protesters are on the 11th, organizers have encouraged them to fire a safe, legal shot at noon.
“The main thing that needs to be stressed, you need to make sure that the shot that you take is legal and it’s safe,” Kazmark cautioned.
“To be safe, don’t shoot up into the air,” said Kazmark. “You need to shoot into the earth. We certainly don’t want anyone shooting anything into the air, because you have no idea where that’s going. And it could be going miles, if you’re using a rifle.”
Kazmark said Springville residents will have to take care not to run afoul of local regulations. “If you live in the village of Springville, you cannot fire a firearm, legally [within village limits],” he said.
“If you’re in that situation, go to your local gun club on the 11th and shoot,” he continued. “If you don’t have a gun, or you live in a village or a city limit that you can’t fire, at noon, go out and blow the horn on your car. Or, if you’ve got a fog horn, if you’re a boat owner or whatever, blow that. Anything like that, just to show your support and your participation.”
Kazmark said Springville Field and Stream plans to host an event on club grounds on Chaise Road in Springville, where a covered space will be available in case of bad weather.
“If the weather’s not really great, we can shoot 50 individuals at a time on a firing line, in our covered area,” he noted.
The organizer said several dignitaries from around the state were invited to attend, including an RSVP from Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard.
Kazmark said his club has asked the sheriff to bring additional security.
“We’re going to have a lot of security,” he explained. “We know we’re going to have Tim Howard there, the sheriff, but we’re trying to connect with him now, to be sure we’re going to have another sheriff there for security, at the entrance to the club, and then we’re going to have a couple of other members with that officer. They’re going to be checking cars as they come in, so that we don’t have to worry about people roaming around with loaded firearms.”
What they won’t be checking for is field artillery.
“We also have a fellow coming that’s a re-enactment person,” said Kazmark, “who has five or six cannons that he’ll be shooting off. That is going to be unbelievably noisy.
“These cannons can be heard for 8-10 miles on a normal day. We have others who are going to set up cannons in other areas, around the state. So there’s going to be a lot of noise on the 11th at noon.
“You might want to bring earplugs,” he added.
For more information about The Shot Heard Around New York State, visit the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/456320794486823, or email Kazmark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Springville Field and Stream, visit www.springvillefieldnstream.org, see their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SpringvilleFieldAndStreamInc, or call 592-7941.