Albion Gun Shop in SAFE Act crosshairs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Second Amendment groups will rally after gun shop’s records demanded by police

Photos by Tom Rivers – Joe Palumbo, owner of the Albion Gun Shop, had some of his records seized by state police on Thursday, igniting a firestorm among Second Amendment rights groups.

ALBION – Gun rights’ activists are planning a rally Monday outside the Albion Gun Shop after state police told shop owner Joe Palumbo to turn over a list of customers who purchased an AR-15 with a bullet button.

Palumbo reluctantly complied with the request, turning over 164 names of people who bought the gun since the SAFE Act passed in January 2013.

Palumbo believed the guns, which require a tool to release a detachable magazine, were legal under the SAFE Act. But the State Police told him on Thursday those guns were illegal.

“We were told they were legal and then it changed,” Palumbo said. “I don’t want to go to jail and I don’t want my customers to go to jail. Hopefully we can stay in business for 50 years.”

The situation has infuriated many pro-gun groups and drawn media attention from outside the area. Several groups, including SCOPE and New York Revolution, are planning a rally outside the gun shop at 6 p.m. on Monday.

Palumbo said the AR-15’s are the most popular gun he sells. People use them for hunting, shooting targets and vermin that plague their homes and farms.

Palumbo opened the Albion Gun Shop two years ago on Hamilton Street at a former shoe store and equipment rental business.

He and his attorney are hoping to negotiate an amicable conclusion with the State Police, and Palumbo said the state needs to specify what is and isn’t legal.

“Right now there is a gray area that is 2 miles long,” he said. “New York State doesn’t define what a detachable magazine is.”

Palumbo, 29, grew up in Brockport and opened the Albion Gun Shop two years ago. He said Albion and Orleans County have been an ideal location for the gun shop with local officials and most law enforcement in support of the right to bear arms.

“This is about as pro-gun of a county as you can get,” he said.

Every village and town elected board, as well as the County Legislature, last year passed formal resolutions stating their opposition to the SAFE Act and calling for its repeal.

Palumbo said his phone has been ringing near constantly since the State Police visited his store on Thursday, giving him 24 hours to turn over the records. He said many of his customers and other gun rights’ supporters worry that the police are violating the privacy of gun owners.

“It’s been a tough few days,” Palumbo said. “I can’t sleep or eat. I don’t know what will happen with the store.”