ALBANY — The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the rights of law-abiding citizens were the chief themes Thursday as thousands of gun supporters rallied at the Capitol against the recently enacted NY SAFE law, including some local officials who spoke during the event.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “willing to sacrifice the Constitution, your rights as a citizen and the prerogatives of his legislature on the altar of his own ambition and the ego of (Mayor) Michael Bloomberg of New York City,” David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, told the crowd.
The line drew a chorus of boos from crowd in West Capitol Park.
Cuomo signed the NY SAFE Act into law Jan. 15, within a half-hour of its approval by the state legislature.
Its restrictions, described as some of the toughest in the United States, ban magazines that hold more than seven rounds, classify more guns as assault weapons, ban their sale and require people who already own them to register them with the state, among other provisions.
Keene was unsparing in his criticism of Cuomo, accusing the governor — when he was secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the 1990s — of threatening to destroy gun manufacturers who didn’t go along with then-President Bill Clinton’s attempts to rein in firearms.
“We fought them off in the ’ 90s,” Keene said. “We’ll fight them off now.
“For those of us who believe in those (constitutional) rights, and who, unlike some of our political leaders, have not only read the Constitution (but) know that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply simply to squirrel hunting, and understand the importance of the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights to the nature of the country we live in, we all have a special interest in our future and the kind of country we’re going to pass on to our children and grandchildren.”