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Rod, Gun and Game: New York state firearm rights issue more than a discussion

UP IN ARMS — “Safety first!” says former Elma, N.Y. resident and NRA firearm safety and home defense expert instructor, Larry Barciniak, shown with his Ruger SR1911. Photo by Forrest Fisher.
SPRINGVILLE — No matter where law abiding folks and sportsmen gather in New York, discussions arise that address Gov. Cuomo’s recent comments implying that gun owners and those with similar conservative viewpoints might consider moving from New York.

When the New York SAFE Act was passed in overnight legislation, about 14 months ago, law-abiding firearm owners in the state were awakened to the pending changes. Some folks did not wait to fight for change and decided to sell their homes and move to warmer climates that include lower tax rates and more legally considerate firearms laws.

The destinations for the exodus are warm states like Texas, Missouri, Florida and Georgia, and about 30 other states, if firearms laws were the only consideration. Individual firearm owners are not the only folks in the mix.

A few days ago, the Military Times reported that America’s oldest gun maker, Remington® Outdoors, a New York-based company in Illion, plans to open a new 500,000-square-foot factory facility in Alabama that would employ 2,000 workers. The story also states that the 1,300 jobs at the existing New York plant would not be affected. Cuomo’s office concurs with that message. The United States government just provided an $80 million order for 5,000 sniper rifles from the Illion plant, but the expansion outside New York must generate some concern for Remington followers.

One old friend, Larry Barciniak, decided to leave Elma, N.Y., for a small town outside Atlanta, Ga., some 20 years ago. Barciniak is a U.S. Air Force Vietnam veteran and now, at 68-years-old said, “After the SAFE Act was pushed through back home in New York, last year, I could not be happier about the move that me and my wife of 46 years made in 1994.” He added, “Georgia is an A-plus state for firearm owners and my total taxes today are $1,200 per year. I love it. I can shoot when I want, I am not limited to buying seven-round magazines or not buying a military-style rifle, but most of all, I feel safe and feel the Constitution is supported down here. ‘Joe the Plumber’ would like it down here.”

Barciniak practices safe firearm use and he donates his time to share his safety training skills with others. Barciniak is a National Rifle Association-certified basic practical and pistol instructor, NRA-certified range safety officer and a NRA-certified defensive firearm training instructor for a course called, “Refuse to Be a Victim.”

Like other dedicated NRA instructors, Barciniak conveys the ultimate message of gun safety and personal protection.

Barciniak and his wife, Lakkana, practice handgun shooting skills at least twice a month. He pointed out that safe firearm use requires familiarity with a firearm of your choice, knowledge, training and practice. Barciniak said, “This simple combination will build confidence in your personal firearm survival capability to protect yourself.”

Barciniak went on to explain the details of changes in many states around the country, citing California and New York as examples. He added, “The northern population seems too busy to concern themselves with the purpose and direction of the U.S. Constitution as it was written, and many may be caught up with the busy nature of modern life, their cell phones and laptops.”

He continued, “They drive to work, hit the gym, eat light, get up early to get to work to beat the rush, but many never seem to see the light of why American freedom is so dependent on the Constitution, particularly, the hinge-point of the Second Amendment. That defines the ability for any responsible American to protect themselves, their loved ones and their personal treasures, with their choice and right to keep and bear arms.”

Barciniak said, “At the same time, common sense and attention to detail are required to maintain firearm safety. One lapse in safety attention can result in a tragedy, at home or at the range. So, there is no excuse for not keeping the rules of safety always present in your mind.

In Georgia, it is legal to borrow a handgun from another firearm owner, even if that firearm is not on your permit. Not so in New York, where any handgun in your possession is required to be on your permit, or it is a felony.”

If Barciniak has a pet peeve, it is the misuse of the media word for assault weapon. “Military personnel use assault weapons and they are different, in the sense that they can be switched to fully automatic mode. That is, press the trigger and gun keeps firing. Civilians cannot buy assault firearms; they are illegal and have been illegal since Prohibition days. Civilians are allowed to buy the civilian version of assault firearms, like an AR-15, but they are single-shot look-alikes. You need to pull the trigger one time, for every shot to be fired.

“Think about when the Constitution was written,” he continued. “America’s citizens had fought a nasty British government and just won freedom. The scribes and founders of our great nation knew that armed citizens were the only real defense against a government that wanted all their rights and most of your money in taxes.”

So, it would seem that disarming citizens today, with prohibitive overbearing firearm rules, would seem contrary to the intention of our nation’s founders. Add firearm registration and the No. 1 fear of gun owners is realized: registration of firearms leads to confiscation, as it did in World War II Germany and many other countries. The ultimate concern is that confiscation leads to suppression and loss of democracy.

One of the best new things we discussed was an environmentally-friendly gun cleaner and protectorant that also acts as a lubricant called “FrogLube.®” It can be purchased in a liquid or paste and is completely non-toxic, though it removes gun powder residue, carbon, grease and other corrosion-causing contaminants left on your firearm after firing.

When applied to warm metal, FrogLube “seasons” deep into the pores of the metal and Barciniak demonstrated to me that with repeated applications, it forms a slick, protective surface that reduces friction that is so noticeable, I began wondering why manufacturers don’t use it on all new firearms, since it also prevents corrosion during storage.

After applying it topically to your firearm metal parts, especially sliding parts, Barciniak said to use a hair dryer to lightly warm the surfaces, to allow the product to seep into the pores of the metal. Once dry, the finish will not attract dirt and grit like regular, oil-based lubricants. It causes moisture to bead on contact and roll off. Made from biodegradable, food-grade materials, FrogLube lubricates all firearm parts including bolts, rails, lugs and bearing surfaces. It can also be safely applied to plastic, metal, wood and rubber. You can order this product from many sources, but is a popular website stop for firearm owners, just click to the gun-cleaning chemicals section.

Since Barciniak shared so much about firearm training and safety, I asked if he had a favorite firearm. While this gentleman of the safety industry enjoys shooting with many different firearm models, his all-time favorite is the relatively new Ruger® SR1911 in .45 caliber automatic Colt pistol cartridge size. Among other reasons, there are several Ruger-inspired modifications to the original classic 1911 design, including a stainless steel barrel, slide and frame, adjustable trigger and a three-dot sight.

“The best part about the SR1911,” said Barciniak, “is that every part is made in the USA. The stainless steel frame and bushing are produced on the same machine, from the same metal bar stock lot, allowing for precision tolerancing and performance perfection not found in many other 1911 model makers.” The cost is about $700, with two seven-round magazines, though Barciniak prefers the special eight-round magazine also offered as an option.

This handgun is handsome; the bead-blasted low glare finish and precision checkered hardwood grips make it a desirable piece for shooters to simply look at, but as I found out at the target range, it also shoots to perfection.

New Region 9 biologist

In early December, aquatic biologist, Chris Legard, was hired to join the Region 9 Fisheries Unit from the Buffalo office. Legard received his Masters Degree at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, brings experience from the USGS Biological Station in Oswego and 10 years of U.S. Coast Guard experience, prior to that. The new biologist will assume fisheries management and environmental protection responsibilities for the Niagara River when long-time Region 9 biologist, Mike Wilkinson, retires in 2014.

Lake Erie ice fishing

For the first time in a decade or so, Lake Erie has ice of 15-20 inches, in many areas.

The Department of Environmental Conservation advises and warns anglers to be very cautious when ice fishing Lake Erie and to keep close watch for pressure cracks that result when the wind starts blowing and then changes direction. East winds usually push the ice to the west and north and often result in dangerous widening cracks, disabling angler access back to shore. Keep a cellphone or radio with you out there.

Mike Todd of the DEC reported that anglers have been ice fishing out of Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek. Sturgeon Point fishing has been up and down and the trail from the marina area rough, until the pushed ice becomes smooth, about a mile or so out. Most anglers head to 50-55 feet of water, about 1.5-2 miles out, and fish live or salted emerald shiners on typical, two-hook crappie or perch rigs, with many anglers using tip-ups, too.

Take a wind break or shelter, to reduce chill factor issues. Yellow perch are the primary target fish, but just like summer days, a few white perch, goby’s, walleye and bass are also caught.

Outdoor calendar

Feb. 21: Indoor Winter 3-D Archery, West Falls Conservation, located at 55 Bridge St., Friday fun shoot, 7 p.m., $5 per week, all archers may attend. For more information, call Mike Cummings at 337-0126.

Feb. 22: Ducks Unlimited, Southtowns Chapter, Annual Banquet, Creekside Banquet facility. For more information, call George Rocky at 674-3075.

Feb. 23: Western New York Winter 3-D League Shoot, Glencoe Conservation, open to the public, 7 a.m. -2 p.m. For more information, call Mike Matala, at 337-0126.

March 6-9: Western New York Sport and Travel Outdoor Show, Erie County Fairgrounds Agri-center Building Complex.

March 15: Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Annual Banquet and Awards Dinner, Father Justin Hall, Cheektowaga. For more information, call 941-6159.

Send information for the outdoor calendar, 10 days in advance, to


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