New York gun owners are PISSED. As you’d expect. Their legislators passed a bill attempting to strip them of one of their fundamental civil rights, and did so without even reading the drivel they were voting on. While the constitutionality of the bill is currently under challenge in the courts, the people are making their displeasure known. A massive rally outside the capitol building in Albany – attendance was estimated at 12,000 – gathered yesterday to protest the bill, a crowd some legislators said was the largest they’ve ever seen. The Times Union picks up the story with some notable quotes . . .
“This is probably one of the most egregious acts by government I’ve seen defying our nation’s history,” said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua. “It’s time to repeal this law.”
And, of course, the president of the NRA was on hand to make his displeasure known.
“Your governor is willing to sacrifice the Constitution, your rights as citizens and the prerogatives of his Legislature on the altar of his own ambition and the ego of Michael Bloomberg of New York City,” said Keene, referring to the Big Apple’s billionaire mayor, a staunch gun control advocate.
This issue really does have the potential to have a lasting impact on the state of New York. There has always been a feeling that politics in the state are dictated by the residents of the city, with the mostly Republican upstaters being completely ignored. My money is still on the state splitting a la West Virginia. But either way, it shows exactly how divisive this issue has become in our country.
And here’s the account of reader Aaron W. who was on the scene:
I went intermodal today and parked at the Croton On Hudson spillover lot early this morning. Took an early train to Albany. Passenger load was light, even when a group of fellow travelers boarded in Poughkeepsie. The NRA hats and camo tipped me off. I minded my own business until there were about 20 mins left to go. I introduced myself, and as usual amongst beleagured NY gun enthusiasts, we quickly bonded and chatted until we got to the Empire Plaza . . .
As we approached, I saw protestors disgorging from buses. “Hmmm… that’s that NRA protest they’ve been talking about” said the front seat passenger. I caught the woman next to me staring at my NRA shoulder patch. I asked the driver if I could leave since I already found what I was looking for. “Those are my people” I should have said, but I just fled the minivan and merged with the teeming masses of RKBA enthusiasts.
Everyone drifted into the cavernous underground corridor beneath the Plaza. It connects all of the important government buildings, so for the functionaries that keep NY functioning, there is no need for exposure to sunlight and fresh air. The main Plaza was “closed for the winter” anyway – we gathered in a smaller, but still substantial part of the complex.
There were already a few thousand people, and more were coming in by bus. I would say the crowd peaked around 12:30 or so. Max attendance was probably between five and eight thousand people.
Many people addressed the crowd – I didn’t catch their names, and out of the perhaps dozen or so only two seemed to be particularly effective or forceful. Sorry to say, but David Keene wasn’t among the better speakers. The National Anthem was sung brilliantly by a young woman, another person whose name I didn’t catch.
Lots of State Troopers were present, mostly to make sure people crossing the street to and from the main body of the crowd didn’t get clocked by intracity drivers. They seemed generally friendly. They let people pet the horses, and smirked politely at the various iterations of “FU Cuomo” shirts and signs.
Someone pointed out an overwatch – a trio of men with a tripod mounted camera were surveiling us from a nearby rooftop.
Crowd periodically chanted “Cuomo must go!”, a deafening chorus of disapproval that made the hairs on my neck stand up – not just from the vigor and volume of it, but the unity of purpose that it represented.
The signs weren’t super-creative or witty, but there were a few decent ones mixed in. LOTS of AR-15 “come and take it” banners, both in Greek and the original English. Also quite a few crude representations of Cuomo and/or Obama as Hitler.
The saddest part of this is that we had to spend time, money and energy to try to roll us back to where we were. If we could run a sort of Windows system restore on the NYS government, we’d still be back to the Sullivan laws on handguns, a non-sunsetting AWB, mag limits, feature restrictions and all that jazz.
I’m still glad I went. It’s great to be amongst fellow pro-RKBers and speak as one voice to our so-called leaders in Albany.