Gun rights battles marks Empire State's upstate, downstate divide

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

New York’s recently enacted gun control law, the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, rushed through the legislature by Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo divides rank and file Republicans.


“Republicans and Democrats who supported this bill are acting on emotion.  We ought to be addressing common sense solutions based on facts,” said Republican Deerpark Town Supervisor Karl A. Brabenec. Deerpark is a small town in Orange County 65 miles north of New York City.

Karl A. Brabenec
Karl A. Brabenec

“We looked at the numerous studies that show no effect between gun control laws and curbing violence,” he said.

“We enacted a unanimous resolution in support of the Second Amendment,” he said.

“By ourselves we may not have an impact, but if hundreds of resolutions are passed across the state, maybe our legislature will take a second look,” Brabenec said.

“This fight belongs in the courts,” said Daniel Peterson, former president of the New York City Young Republicans.

“Right now we have subfreezing temperature and people are at risk due to fuel costs that are through the roof,” he said.

“We have the means to lower fuel costs by implementing hydrofracking, but Governor Cuomo is blocking it,” he said.  “Even President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency says hydrofracking is safe with proper regulation.”

Peterson, who is a 2013 Republican candidate for New York City Council, said he agrees that the Second Amendment is an important component of the Bill of Rights. “It is not the most important issue facing New York State.”


Scott Kingsley, the Republican committee chairman of Wilton, a mostly suburban 35 miles north of Albany, said, “We are up in arms that the legislature would jam a bill of this magnitude without public input.”

While some Republicans in the state legislature put up a good fight against the bill, the downstate Republican coalition operate to protect their power base whether it restricts the rights of law abiding New Yorkers or not, he said.

“Our committee adopted a resolution opposing new gun restrictions,” he said.

“I hope this movement spreads around the entire state and country,” he said.

“If we do not stand for something right, we will lose our freedoms,” said Kingsley, who is also the vice-chairman of Saratoga County Republicans.

According to its press release, the Town of Wilton Republican Committee:

“The right to bear arms is set forth in the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. It was authored by Thomas Jefferson, who insisted it be added to the draft of the constitution being considered as a condition of his support. In fact the American Revolution began when the British attempted to seize the arms stored by Patriots at Concord and Lexington. We ought not to support the seizure, even by attrition, of firearms today, 237 years later.”


Suffolk County political consultant, Dr. Jay Golub said, “The GOP needs to stand for economic and government-issue sets, not the present ‘guns and god’ litmus test.”

Fifty percent of the nation will never vote for a Republican because of the ‘guns and god’ precept, even though they completely agree with the smaller government and lower taxes message, he said.

Suffolk County, is a Republican stronghold, is located approximately 50 miles east of New York City, he said

“A monolithic platform does not help Republicans attract new voters,” Golub said.

“Democrats have been able to brand the Republican Party with demagoguery and Republicans have branded itself into a box,” he said.

“We are the party of entrepreneurship, lower taxes and smaller government,” he said.

“For the GOP to be successful, its core issue sets need to be palatable to enough voters to win a national election and/or to win statewide elections in so-called blue states,” he said.

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