ALBANY, N.Y. – Gun Rights activists headed to the state Capitol Tuesday morning to oppose the recently passed NY SAFE Act.
The 'Gun Rights Rally, Lobby Day' event took place in Capital Park at Washington Avenue and Swan Street in Albany. Hundreds braved the gray skies and treacherous winds to stand together against new gun legislation.
One of the more vocal critics of Cuomo's NY Safe Act, and Cuomo's cabinet, is former gubernatorial challenger Carl Paladino.
"They think that they're better than everyone else. They can afford to have a legion of protectors around them, but the individuals in this state, they want that right too," said Paladino.
That right, borne out of the second amendment -- the right to bear arms.
Paladino says the new legislation, which bans assault rifles and other guns and strengthens ammunition regulations, violates that constitutional right. And people like those gathered on the west lawn today, Paladino says, will remain vigilant.
"What you're seeing now is that people are waking up to the illusion and theatrics of our government and they're drawing a line in the sand," said Paladino.
Paladino says new gun laws will do nothing to curb gun violence in the empire state, but that urban education reform is the key.
"These school districts in our urban areas in the state of new ok have a graduation rate of something like forty percent. Where do you think those dropouts go? They go out on the streets, and we all know that, and they join gangs and they sell drugs," said Paladino.
The new law strikes an especially sour note for New York's veterans. Many vets are calling the new laws a violation of their second amendment right to bear arms, and a slap in the face to those who risked their lives defending the rights and freedoms of this country.
"I want to keep my weapons. I can't see them taking my rights away. I fought for it. I want to keep them, that's all," said Bob Scott of Wyantskill.
"I served in Vietnam, and I took an oath I still hold very dear -- to support and defend the constitution of the United States. When I took that oath I wasn't sitting in a nice warm office like our governor. I was on my way to the jungles of Vietnam," said Charles Breiner of Claryville.
The event was sponsored by many pro-Second Amendment groups, including the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA), S.C.O.P.E, and Turn Albany Upside Down.
The event featured speakers such as Senators Kathy Marchione, Greg Ball and Lee Zeldin; NYSPRA president Tom King, Former Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Arizona Citizens Defense League Charles Heller, Assemblypeople Steve McLaughlin, Steve Katz, Claudia Tenney, and George Amedore, among many others.
The rally was held from 12 a.m. until 2 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. attendees met with their representatives in the legislature.
Governor Cuomo signed the New York SAFE Act into legislation last month, making it the first gun control legislation to be passed since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The day may not be without conflict, a second "One Million Moms for Gun Control" rally is planned at the Capitol building from noon until 1 p.m.
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