Tuesday's rally will
encourage law enforcement officials to resist SAFE Act
6:26 PM, Jun 9, 2013
ALBANY — Gun-rights advocates
will rally at the state Capitol on Tuesday and call for law-enforcement
officials to disobey portions of New
York’s gun-control law.
Police, county clerks and mental-health professionals have
raised concerns since the New York SAFE Act was adopted in January, contending
that the law is unconstitutional and will be hard to enforce.
Assemblyman Bill Nojay, R-Pittsford, Monroe County,
said the noon event outside the Capitol will rally law-enforcement officials
and other public leaders to reject compliance with the law, which has been
championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“The crowd is going to be heavily weighted toward the
government employees that are most affected by the SAFE Act,” said Nojay, who
is an organizer of the rally. “And the thrust of a lot of the comments is going
to be civil disobedience and resistance to its implementation.”
Gun-rights advocates and state lawmakers are also planning
to submit more than 100,000 petitions to Cuomo’s office in opposition to the
gun-control law, which was adopted less than a month after the school shootings
in Newtown, Conn. Nojay said the rally will also begin
to galvanize support for the 2014 elections, when state lawmakers and Cuomo
The state Sheriff’s Association last month joined a lawsuit
by the state Rifle and Pistol Association, the New York arm of the National Rifle
Association, seeking to have the law overturned.
A few sheriffs have said they would not enforce the law, and
others said they would enforce it, but still oppose it.
The law lowered the number of bullets allowed in a magazine
from 10 to seven and bolstered the state’s assault-weapons ban. It also
increased the registration requirements for certain firearm holders and failure
to register by mid-2014 could lead to a misdemeanor charge.
County clerks are protesting a part of the law that requires
opt-out forms for any pistol-permit holder who does not want their information
public. Clerks said the paperwork is overwhelming, and many said they have no
plans to ever release details about permit holders — even those who do not
complete the opt-out forms.
Cuomo has warned officials that they are required to enforce
Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss said last month that
Cuomo urged him and a few other law-enforcement officials to not speak openly
about their opposition to the law, saying it could infringe on their ability to
But sheriffs said they have a right as elected officials to
offer their opinion.
The sheriff’s association said in its legal brief May 14
that they “are entrusted with the critical responsibility of ensuring law and
order. In very real and direct ways, the challenged laws increase disorder.”
The state Assembly last month passed legislation that would
allow exempt retired police officers from the assault-weapons ban. The Senate
has yet to act, and it’s unclear whether Cuomo would sign it.
Speakers at Tuesday’s rally are expected to include Jeanine
Pirro, a television host and former Westchester County district attorney, and
Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman who ran against Cuomo for governor in
Buses from around the state are coming to the event. There
have been at least four rallies at the Capitol since the law passed, including
one last spring that drew several thousand people.
“People want the SAFE Act repealed. It’s an unconstitutional
law,” said Stephen Aldstadt, who lives near Buffalo
and is president of Shooters Committee on Political Education, a New York gun-rights
“It was put through without the proper vetting process,” he
said. “It mainly negatively affects law-abiding citizens and doesn’t really do
much of anything to affect crime.”