By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star
---- — Gun enthusiasts plan to rally in Albany today against the New York state’s recently passed NY SAFE Act, with at least three busloads of firearms supporters leaving from Oneonta, according to a gun-shop owner who is organizing the bus trip.
“Right now, you’re looking at 160-some people,” Jim Losie of Losie’s Gun Shop said Monday.
The protesters oppose the NY SAFE Act, which was signed into law last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the aftermath of a massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, in which a heavily armed and reportedly mentally disturbed man killed 20 children and six adults in less than a half-hour.
The law, among many provisions, prohibits the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and bars loading more than seven rounds into them. It also expands the number of weapons defined as assault guns and strengthens penalties for violations.
Many gun owners say they are furious about the law’s provisions, and are already planning another Albany rally for Feb. 28.
“Why do we have to give up our guns that we enjoy?” Losie asked, referring to the AR-15, the semiautomatic civilian version of the M-16 military rifle that has been added to the list of banned weapons.
“People say, ‘Oh, well you don’t hunt with ‘em,’” Losie said Monday. “We do hunt with ‘em.”
That wasn’t his only complaint about the law.
“It’s everything,” he said. “The whole thing comes down to is that they’re scared to death of the American people, and that’s why they want to get rid of your guns. That’s all it boils down to, just follow the dots. Anybody with any logic can see it.
“I’ve never hurt a single soul with any of my guns, and I’ve got lots of ‘em. There’s 315 million people in the United States, and you’ve had two episodes with a firearm that have done damage in the last two years, and now they want to take our guns away from us.
“We’ve never had an episode in New York state, and we’re the first ones who are gonna lose ‘em.”
Linda Fitzpatrick of Lyn’s Leisure Tyme Gun Shop in Davenport said that she knew a lot of her customers were talking about the protest and planning to attend, but that she wasn’t going to be one of them.
“Oh, I wish I could, but no, I won’t be there,” she said.
“I’ve heard so many people talking about it, I couldn’t even guess” at the number of protesters, she said.
Mike Mayhood of Mayhood’s Sporting Goods in Norwich said that he, too, would not be able to attend today’s protest, but that his gun manager would be in Albany. He added that he planned to be among the Feb. 28 demonstrators.
“I think there’s going to be a good turnout,” he said of today’s event.
He said he didn’t know of any chartered buses leaving from Chenango County for today’s protest, but said he had signup sheets in his store for buses to the late-month protest. He said those buses would be leaving from Oxford and would return about 5 p.m. that day. The cost is $30, he added.
Losie said the buses for today’s rally will be leaving about 8:30 a.m. from the Eastern Travel Oneonta Bus Lines yard at 41 Orchard St. in Oneonta. The cost is $20, he said, adding that he had a fourth bus on standby to carry overflow.