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Rod, Gun & Game: Albany SAFE Act rally draws 15,000 firearm owners

SECOND AMENDMENT — Amidst hundreds of informative poster signs, more than 15,000 individuals attended a rally in Albany, to voice their views regarding the New York State Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, last week. Photo by Forrest Fisher.
SPRINGVILLE — Thousands of citizens and gun rights activists traveled to Albany, last Thursday, to attend a rally aimed at informing officials that the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 does not meet with attendees’ approval and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Many people said that they believed the state has made them instant criminals. Attendees said that they face being forced to give up their firearms, while criminals are left to illegally retain their guns, to commit crimes.

Former President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by your president or any other public official.” It is possible that Roosevelt was incredibly prophetical.

I grew to realize how strong the public reaction is, to this legislation. Many groups from Erie County and other places, all across the state, traveled to the state capitol, to take part in the rally, held in “The Well.”

The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen organized a six-bus group that departed from Eastern Hills Mall. Representatives from Channel 2, Channel 4, local radio stations and other news services were busy conducting interviews with local attendees, organizer Rich Davenport and Erie County Federation President Chuck Godfrey.

I ran into two people who did not own firearms, but who were upset about the manner in which the SAFE Act was passed. They both told me that they were planning to purchase firearms, as soon as possible. I surveyed other people and found 13 additional local attendees who did not own firearms. Each lamented about how fast the gun control bill was processed, by the state government. These people said they felt that they had to do something, to lend their attention to their birthrights as free Americans.

The attendees ranged in age from 22 – 85 years.

Once the buses arrived in Albany, everyone had to enter a 300-yard-long waiting line. Attendees were funneled into a single security scan machine, similar to those in airports.

The Well is a park-like area that featured bare trees, concrete sidewalks and ankle-deep mud. Everyone was contained to a 200-by-400-foot area, with the Alfred E. Smith office building on one end and the New York state capitol building on the other.

Multiple speakers provided a formal agenda, via an amplified sound system that could be heard half a mile away.

The 80,000-square-foot space was approximately 70 percent full. The walkways on both sides of the park and steps into the capitol building were also full.

Although this gathering was held in the middle of a work week, during February’s coldest winter weather, it was the biggest rally Albany has ever hosted.

A legislative meeting scheduled for the day of the rally removed many legislators from their offices. Attendees were frustrated that they were unable to express their views directly to their representatives.

Sen. Tim Kennedy’s administrative assistants said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was attending a New York City meeting, during the rally hours.

I visited Kennedy’s office, along with two members from the East Aurora American Legion and Sons of Legion, three members from the Niagara County Shooters Committee on Political Education, one member from the Finger Lakes SCOPE and three representatives of the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen. Several of these were veterans.

During a recent meeting with this group, Kennedy said that he would never support an anti-gun bill, but, since then, he has done just that. After 30 minutes of discussion, Kennedy’s assistant admitted, “WNY is in need of economic assistance. That assistance needs to come from Albany and, sometimes, it is not possible to support all of the interests of all the constituents.” Does that mean that Second Amendment rights have been traded for local economic support?

Another official admitted that he may have been mistaken, in supporting the SAFE Act.

Regardless of what Western New York’s legislators do, 85 percent of voters in the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate represent New York City.

Every official we visited admitted that he or she had never seen an Albany rally that was as big or as loud as this event.

I believe this event sent the right message, expressing attendees’ frustration with the NY SAFE Act. Only time will tell.

State of Lake Ontario meeting

The annual State of Lake Ontario public meetings will be held in Niagara County on March 19 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, located at 4487 Lake Ave. in Lockport. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the United States Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources will make a number of presentations, including updates about the status of trout and salmon fisheries, forage fish, stocking programs and fisheries management plans.

For more information, visit

Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support populations of fish, including trout, salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch and panfish. A recent statewide angler survey estimated that more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and its major tributaries. The estimated value of the Lake Ontario fisheries exceeded $112 million.

New NYS license fee structure
A new license fee structure has been proposed, to simplify the variety of tags for hunting and fishing, reduce license costs, especially for out-of-state individuals and change the start date for fishing to when an angler bought his or her annual license; the hunting year will still begin on Sept. 1.

Lake Erie tributary survey
The fourth Lake Erie tributary survey accumulated 1,779 interviews from eight stocked tributaries, between September 2011 and May 2012. The total tributary effort was approximately 182,000 angler hours, which was a 10 percent decline, from the 2007 – 08 survey.

Overall trout and salmon catch rates averaged 0.35 fish per hour, which was a 42 percent decline, from the previous survey.

The large majority of the Lake Erie’s tributary catch was comprised of steelhead. Among angler opinions, a modest majority of interviewed anglers said that they preferred the prevailing fishing regulations and otherwise opposed liberalization of tributary regulations, to accommodate dropper fly rigs or allow the use of multiple hook points.

The recently-prepared angler survey report provided detailed information about survey methods and statistics and is available on the Lake Erie reports page of the DEC’s website.

Outdoor calendar
– Through March 10: WNY sport and travel show, Erie County Fairgrounds, Hamburg. Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, visit
– March 10: NYS Canada goose season ends, in the southern zone.
– March 15: NYS northern pike, pickerel, tiger musky and walleye seasons end.
– March 31: NYS crow season ends.

Send outdoor information for the Springville Journal’s Forrest Fisher column, 10 days in advance, to

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2013-03-12 | 09:54:48
2013-03-12 | 10:36:56
The "SAFE" (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement) Act was debated in closed session without committee hearings, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it into law within an hour of its passage -- after waiving the required three-day public comment period. This 80 page legislation was passed late into the night... literally and figuratively under the cover of darkness. There existed no exigent need as claimed, of the Act’s 60 sections, only three (3) took effect on its adoption into law. Cuomo bragged that New York now has the "toughest assault weapons ban" in the country but claimed that the law respects the Second Amendment and preserves the rights of "hunters and sportsmen." The former is true; the latter is not. The most widely reported provision of the law is the total ban on the sale of military-style rifles classified as "assault weapons," effective Jan. 15. The provision forever prohibits anyone other than a law enforcement agency from acquiring such weapons, including the popular hunting and target variants of the AR-15 rifle. Current owners of such rifles must register them with the state by 2014, and the registration must be renewed every five years. This gives the state a list of persons from which to confiscate them in the future, and the five-year renewal provision gives the state the opportunity to deny ownership once every five years. Current owners of such rifles may never sell them to another New York State resident in the future or pass them down to members of their family. Shockingly enough, in many ways the "assault weapons ban" is actually one of the statute's lesser infringements on the Second Amendment. The statute criminalizes, potentially criminalizes, or places under state surveillance even the most innocuous, banal, and pedestrian forms of gun ownership, and it restricts the right of self-defense. The new law prohibits the sale of any quantity of ammunition by anyone other than a licensed dealer and requires that such dealer perform a criminal background check on the purchaser and forward the purchaser's name, address, age, and occupation, and the quantity, caliber, and make of the ammunition, to a State Police database. Thus, the ammunition database creates a de facto universal long gun registry. A hunter who purchases a box of five 12-gauge deer slugs will have the effect of documenting ownership of a 12-gauge shotgun. The law affirmatively requires that a person's firearms must be confiscated if any order of protection is filed against them -- no matter how meager the complaint may be. It also requires that a "mental health professional" (including a physician) who believes that an individual is a danger to himself or others must report his or her diagnosis to the police for purposes of firearm confiscation. Such a diagnosis is highly subjective. But the law exempts such "professionals" from civil liability; thus, any "mental health professional can initiate the confiscation of a person's firearms, and the gun owner is forbidden to file a civil suit to challenge the "diagnosis." The SAFE Act also severely infringes on the right of self-defense from criminal predation. Although Article 35 of New York Penal law allows the use of deadly force in the event of a home invasion, the SAFE Act restricts the ammunition capacity of all arms to seven rounds. If you possess a magazine loaded with more than seven rounds in your own home, you are guilty of a criminal offense. If a criminal with a stolen handgun and an illegal 15-round magazine invades your home and you shoot at him with more than eight rounds (seven plus one in the chamber), you will be criminally charged, and your magazine (and possibly your firearm) will be confiscated and destroyed without compensation, because you have now used it in the commission of a crime. Beyond that, since a handgun permit in New York is not merely a permit to carry, but a permit to possess, after you have been charged with the crime of shooting at the home invader with a high-capacity magazine, your permit will be revoked, and all of your handguns will be confiscated. The seven-round magazine limit effectively bans or severely restricts the use of perhaps 75% of the firearms designed in the past 100 years. Seven-round magazines simply do not exist for common firearms such as the 10-shot Ruger 10/22 rifle, five million of which have been manufactured since the 1960s. Although the Act "grandfathers" existing ten-round magazines, it forbids owners to put more than seven rounds in them, and it requires lawful owners of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds to sell them out of state, surrender them, or destroy them. This is clearly an unconstitutional deprivation of private property, in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The law also prohibits the private "sale" or "exchange" of any firearm to any person unless a licensed dealer performs the "sale" and a background check. The politically correct law exempts parents, spouses, children, stepchildren and "domestic partners," but if a serial rapist and murderer is on the loose, you may not give a shotgun to your sister for self-protection. You may not give your brother or nephew a .22 rifle on Christmas Eve. The law does not clarify how long someone must be in possession of a firearm before such possession is understood to be an "exchange"; thus, it is possible that lending a rifle to your brother-in-law for deer season without a dealer transfer and a background check could be construed as an illegal exchange." You would then be a criminal, and the gun used in the "crime" could be confiscated and destroyed. Finally, the SAFE Act requires that gun owners report any "loss or theft" of a firearm or ammunition to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so is a criminal offense. Read literally, a deer hunter who drops a single 12-gauge slug in the snow and cannot find it is a criminal unless he reports the loss to the police. The New York SAFE Act is one of the most brazen assaults on the Constitution and on individual liberty in the history of the United States. Cuomo has thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court's Heller and McDonald decisions in 2008 and 2010 affirming the right to keep and bear arms. The intent of the law is to suppress and criminalize the common use of firearms, including guns not defined as "assault weapons." This legislation does not have the support of our law enforcement community, which Cuomo failed to consult or exempt, despite being tasked with its enforcement. In fact, the NY State Sheriffs Association has specifically opposed the act. The New York State Association of County Clerks and the New York State Association of Counties have also passed resolutions opposing the NY SAFE act. More significantly, 50 of New York's 62 counties have either passed, or are in the process of passing, resolutions calling for the repeal of the SAFE Act, that list continues to grow. New York has the highest taxes in the nation. It is ranked as the least "business-friendly" state in the country. The implementation of this legislation is not only going to cost NY state 36 million dollars a year, it has created a hostile environment for both in-state and out of state sports men and women who now risk committing crimes for the countless technical criminal violations created by the SAFE Act for possessing items which can be purchased over the counter in all our neighboring states.
2013-03-12 | 11:26:07
"security scan?"
Let me see if I got this right. To gather in a public place to redress the government's actions, members of the public had to submit to a SECURITY SCAN? Where, oh where are the Teddy Roosevelt patriots? New York, thy name is Tyranny. Your residents are subjects. In Wisconsin we freely walked the capitol grounds and assembled inside the Capitol building without "security scans." I spoke personally with two police officers there, one a Capitol police officer and another a UWM police officer, and neither expressed any concern for their security. Is this in NY all we can expect from "cold dead hands" patriots?
2013-03-12 | 11:49:49
Safe Act
Personally, I was hoping the second "revolution" might start in New England as the old one did in the mid 1770's. NY state has become too controlling. Instead of punishing those that commit crimes, they want to punish the law abiding citizens. Try doing that in a jail or prison setting, and you will have a riot on your hands in no time. The posting below "SAFE ACT" is nothing short of "scary". The NY Safe Act should give everyone in this country a call to action to ensure our elected officials stop such "overboard re-actions" and "knee jerk" responses to things we are not a part of. I had nothing to do with any of the criminal acts that have cropped up recently.....and I will not be subjected to the ramifications of a bunch of scared politicians and tree huggers.
2013-03-12 | 11:52:41
Did not realize SAFE Act was so anti-constitutional. Never liked it anyway, but am suprised the citizens haven't risen up yet. Maybe this rally was the govt's "last chance" to right the wrong. Wouldn't want to be a politician that voted for that one!
2013-03-12 | 12:27:42
age range
the attendees ranged from 14 up, a friend of mine was there with his son, who is 14
2013-03-12 | 15:48:56
January 10, 2013 “What’s the answer?” (A loved one asked me this question; I will now do my best to answer it) Dear Governor Cuomo, Mr. Cuomo your six point plan will not save one life should a madman decide to fulfill his perverted lunacy. Any more then keeping the wasteful COBIS system running would have; which you thankfully put out of its misery. In NYC the daughter of a wealthy radiologist had successfully stockpiled enough weapons and bomb making material to do massive harm. Last I checked the “Sullivan Law” was in full force there, and so were hundreds of other regulations with regard to the transportation, and use of explosives. President Obama after every horrible event like this has caused the same reaction in the public thanks to his irresponsible comments. Horror happens, he tries to soothe the broken hearted and the lost (I sincerely thank him for that) then he uses some of the worst language a President could choose and the whole show starts again; and then you get in the act and do the same immature dance. Firearms clear the shelves, ammunition is sold by the truckload, and then the factories get cranked up to do it all again. Because so long as we dope our kids up on these drugs, fail to turn boys into gentleman, and girls into women we can guarantee that these acts of terror will continue. Let’s try to stop the next one by not creating the very thing we all want to avoid in the first place. In the long run we want our children to pick up an iphone find out where there friends are and to grow up in peace and prosperity; while they try to sort out life's challenges, just like we did. Now, New York is one of this nations primary “melting pots” and has some spots of extremely high density of population. Thus, it must have fairly restrictive laws to allow residents time to understand what citizenship is all about before they decide to pick up a firearm, much less understand it’s not for hunting deer. As I’m certain you are aware of the history of the “Sullivan Law” and what happened to Mr. Sullivan I won’t trod through old ground or even train tracks. But we must deal with the here and now in a nation that is going in the other direction no matter what happens here with regard to firearms. Because we are not going to leave The Union and drop the bridges and inspect every package like in the old East German days. What you seek to ban will find it’s way here, and it is only raw luck that it has not hit one of our schools yet considering how some children are raised, and how some parents have abandoned the responsibility to be good parents. Our modern world has many casualties; one of them seems to be selfless parents. Regardless, let’s proceed in the spirit of compromise and wisdom that our parents once had; because that wisdom was hard won, and it would be a shame not to apply to the reality we face today. We all can all read the statistics on crime. We all know historically what races and economic classes engage in what kinds of nefarious behaviors, and that it has high odds of putting them in the morgue. We all agree in New York that we have accepted our egalitarian responsibility to do what we can to lift those up, towards that noble end, we provide a ladder and push them up that ladder in an effort to break that cycle. Some say that we are nuts for doing this. But, when I’m at Carmines and I listen to the stories of my fellow NY’s it tells me that we are tough as nails for doing this, but we have hearts of gold. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t easy or cheap. But we do get it done and we turn out some very tough Americans of every race, color, or creed. Let’s apply the same focus on firearms. Let’s acknowledge that we need good guys and gals with pistols near schools as a permanent fixture. Please don’t forget we lost the Twin Towers because we took guns away from pilots. That’s a sobering thought. That one act of disarmament changed world history. To allow the insane even that much breathing room is too much and we have an obligation to defend our children from this foreseeable risk just like we do airplanes. Pistol permits are a disaster in New York. On the one hand the “rich and famous” get them, but they live lives of ease and comfort, and the odds of them needing one are astronomically low unless they want to end it all; but the odds of that business woman who is on the train heading home to her husband and kids might he not need one late at night? The answer is yes - she might need one. So let’s find a way to make that happen for those who want to shoulder that awesome responsibility. Finally, “military style firearms and their accouterments.” Whatever they may be. Whatever they may look like. It would be far easier and less costly to institute a simple requirement that says NY’s must present a CC permit from any State (assuming it requires the basics) to obtain such a firearm than trying to ban them. Just look at a map or hang out at a rest stop on I95, preferably not with Jim McGreevey. These thoughts ought to be expressed as a compromise between both Democrats and Republicans at the State level and at the Federal level as well. Simple solutions that are the least costly will provide the best results. They always do, it’s why you are not married, and it’s why I am. By the way? Why is that? You should make an honest women out of her. People like weddings. They like Presidents with wives. Respectfully, Joe Doakes