Crowd sounds off on SAFE Act

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 April 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – About 200 people gathered outside the Orleans County Courthouse to protest the SAFE Act on Saturday.

ALBION – Roseanne Regan of Holley joined 200 other people at a Second Amendment rally in Albion, braving the cold and wind on Saturday. Regan didn’t deliver a fiery speech from the podium.

She hoped her presence with others would send a message to Gov. Cuomo and state legislators who approved the SAFE Act in January, which was designed to tighten gun control laws.

“I believe in the Second Amendment,” a shivering Regan said. “I’m sick and tired of people speaking for us and the government dictating. This isn’t the Soviet Union or Germany.”

The legislation, and its passage without a public hearing, has fired up many New Yorkers, including the contingent gathered in Albion on Saturday. New York Revolution formed soon after the SAFE Act’s passage. Gia Arnold of Holley is regional coordinator for the group and she helped organize Saturday’s event.

Conservative talk show host Bob Lonsberry, who has railed against the SAFE Act on WHAM in Rochester, addressed the crowd in Albion.

Talk show host Bob Lonsberry from WHAM in Rochester urged the group to follow the example of Rosa Parks, who refused to give in to unjust laws. Parks wouldn’t move to the back of a segregated bus, a bold move that helped embolden blacks in the Civil Rights struggle.

Gun owners shouldn’t accept the new state laws, Lonsberry told the crowd in Albion. He quoted from Martin Luther King Jr., who urged “civil disobedience” in the fight against oppression.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley has co-sponored legislation that would repeal the law. State Sen. George Maziarz noted several lawsuits also seek to repeal legislation that will begin to take effect on Monday.

Maziarz said he’s not against background checks for gun buyers. But he thinks the state can better direct the fight against criminals by “focusing on cleaning up the streets and the murderers.” He called the gun control legislation “The Unsafe Act” because he said it targets law-abiding citizens rather than criminals.

The new state law deprives residents of constitutional freedoms, several speakers said at the rally.

Many in the crowd chanted, “Cuomo has to go,” during the rally. Someone carried a sign that referred to “Comrade Cuomo.”

Hawley said New Yorkers should feel angry at the majority of the Legislature and governor for passing a law “that turns law-abiding citizens into law-breaking citizens.” One controversial piece of the legislation requires magazines that can hold no more than seven bullets, when most magazines hold 10.

The legislation was hastily crafted without any vetting from the public, Hawley said, leading to bad policy.

“Now that we’ve had time to analyze and dissect this bill, we can see why it was forced on us so quickly,” Hawley said. “It is full of flaws and mistakes that even the bill’s authors have no excuse for.”