More than a year after the New York governor’s landmark gun control law was enacted, thousands of New Yorkers poured into the state house in Albany to protest his governance and leadership.
Astorino, who spoke to the crowd state police estimate at 3500, said the people were energized and enthusiastic about the Second Amendment. “It’s an issue that deals with individual rights and cuts across the political spectrum.”
It was also a diverse crowd, he said. “With many women, minorities and children.”
Kenneth V. F. Blanchard, who is an internet radio broadcaster and one of the featured speakers, said the state police underestimated the crowd numbers. “There was probably 12,000 people there.”
The rally was well organized and a huge success, said the author of “Black Man with a Gun.”
Blanchard, the creator of the “Black Man with a Gun” blog and podcast, said in his posting about it that the rally was organized like a military operation.
“They came in chartered busses. They came by train. They carpooled and caravanned. They came by motorcycle. On April 1st 2014, over 10,000 men, women and children assembled peaceable at the state capital of New York. They used the first amendment of the US Constitution to defend their second. The weather was great. The sight was beautiful. It was American,” he said.
The biggest issue for New Yorkers is the way in which Cuomo, for the purpose of grandstanding, pushed through a law that the people had no chance to counter, he said. “He didn’t even go through the proper channels – try to get a consensus from the electorate.”
Opposition efforts will most definitely effect the race for governor, he said. “Cuomo has at least 10,000 people against him which can and will influence other people.”
Astorino said it was important for leaders in Albany to see that New Yorkers are angry about being steamrolled by Cuomo.
Cuomo strong-armed the legislature to quickly pass the SAFE Act as a headline reaction to the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, he said.
“Cuomo jammed the measure through in the middle of the night with no debate. His response to the tragedy was to demonize law-abiding gun owners and turn them into criminals.”
Westchester County’s Safer Communities initiative, a very different approach, is addressing breakdowns in the mental health system and breakdowns in school security, said the second term county executive.
“Our efforts are actually making Westchester stronger and safer,” said Astorino. “The initiative is ongoing with thousands of mental health professionals, school administrators and law enforcement participating in the program.”
After an 11-year countywide ban on gun shows instituted by former county executive Andrew Spano, Astorino lifted the ban in 2010 showing his commitment to individual rights verses an encroaching government, he said. ”
If individual liberties is an issue the people care about, then they should make sure they exercise their rights at the ballot box, he said. “Be registered to vote and make sure to vote if we want to have a voice and control who is in office.”
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association which is – second to the National Rifle Association – the largest gun rights’ group in the nation, is the first Second Amendment group to endorse Astorino for governor.
“Astorino is very pro Second Amendment,” said Thomas H. King, president of NYSRPA who attended the rally. “He is smart and politically savvy.”
King said he has never seen people as incensed over an issue as they are now. “It’s been over a year and there is still massive objection to the SAFE Act for both constitutional reasons and for the way in which it was passed.
In the dead of night, Cuomo declared a “Message of Necessity” which is a procedural measure to bypass the 3-day waiting period for debate on the bill. The governor wanted to enact the law quickly so that no opposing viewpoints could be heard, he said.
“Besides the gun aspects, the people are angry that their rights have been compromised.”
Cuomo cut-off budget debate on the same day as the rally, he said. “He used the ‘Message of Necessity’ to, once again, bypass the 3-day waiting period for debate on the bill just so he can get an on-time budget.”
Opposition to the SAFE Act has translated into a political fervor that will have its effect on Election Day, said King who is an NRA board member. “We are going to attempt to unseat anyone who voted for the SAFE Act and support those who loudly and decipherably speak out against it.”
Grassroots organizer for the Patriot Action Network, Carl R. Gottstein Jr., who assisted with security at the rally, said power-hungry politicians like Cuomo cannot continue to ignore our constitutional rights.
“The law’s requirements are draconian and authoritarian; it will have the net result of property confiscation,” he said.
The SAFE Act is a misnomer, said the NRA member. “It makes no one safer and in fact punishes the innocent. It makes felons of non-compliant citizens who are counting on their constitutional rights to protect them.”
Enjoy this video of Madison Rising signing the “Star Spangled Banner.”