During the annual Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration, re-enactors from New York, Canada and the Northeast demonstrate the ground battles that occurred as a naval battle took place simultaneously on Lake Champlain. They also march in a parade with their muzzleloaders, flintlocks and black powder rifles and camp on the grounds of the local historic museum.
But there’s a problem this year. State Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, a Democrat representing the 115th district, says New York’s new gun law specifically prohibits all those activities. …
“The new law the way it’s written reenactors are not allowed to carry a firearm, a musket loading type rifle, black powder rifle, flintlock rifle, whatever because it’s in violation of the new law. The new gun law of New York state has claimed its first casualty: the Battle of Plattsburgh. It’s the first event happening after the new law went into effect on the 1st. There’s nothing in the law that let’s an exemption happen or a waiver happen for an event in a historical significance like we have here in Plattsburgh. We have over 70 reenactors that were coming to this event. Very disappointing.”
Battle of Plattsburgh reenactor chair PJ Miller says some reenactors have canceled their appearance at this weekend’s events.
“Essentially the reenacting community is sort of afraid. Many people are uncertain what’s going to happen. We have had reenactors who have said that they would rather not come just in order to protect themselves and you know not get in trouble. That’s not what any of us would like to do. Because of concerns about bringing flintlocks and not being able to do their presentations as they normally would we have had cancellations unfortunately.”
In a written statement, a spokesperson for the governor says:
“Governor Hochul passed new public safety laws to protect New Yorkers and keep them safe from gun violence. These laws allow historical re-enactments to occur, and we will work with legislators and local law enforcement to ensure these events can legally and safely proceed.”
But Assemblyman Jones said he has been trying to get a response from the governor’s office for days.
“There’s been other reenactments throughout the state that have been cancelled. We have been calling the governor’s office trying to get answers on this for the past, uh, 36 hours ago I’m going to say. And we don’t have anything on that front. This is what you get when you rush through legislation.”