|From left, Wayne Denn, Kevin Sisson, E.J. Stokes and Dave Bardascini light on fire |
SAFE Act gun registration forms in an act of symbolic protest.
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Fighting Back Against Fascism
“We are not extremists. We are simply free
men who love our country.”
Gun rights activists gathered Sunday in New York to burn nearly a thousand gun registration forms to protest part of the state’s SAFE Act.
Protesters gathered at the Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge 161 in Saratoga Springs to burn the forms that are meant to register guns that meet the state’s definition of military-style assault weapons, The Post-Star reported.
E.J. Stokes, leader of the Warren County chapter of New York Revolution, said he was participating because he believes in the U.S. Constitution.
|"Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, |
but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
Captain John Parker
“Once the Second (Amendment) falls, the rest will go with it. It’s an unconstitutional law, done in the middle of the night with no input from the public,” he said.
The event was organized by the NY2A Grassroots Coalition. NY2A co-founder Jake Palmateer said the goal is for people not to register their assault weapon as an act of civil disobedience.
“We are opposed to registration because the evidence is clear that registration leads to confiscation,” he said.
He and others hope that so few people will fill out the forms, that the registry portion of the SAFE Act “collapses under its own weight.”
He estimates that less than 3,000 New York assault weapons have been registered and he says Sate Police estimated that there are several hundred thousand. The gun industry believes the number may be high as 1.2 million, according to Palmateer.
He added that similar gun control legislation in Canada proved to be unworkable.
The second purpose of the event was to kick off advocacy efforts for the 2014 election. NY2A will be vetting Assembly and Senate candidates for their stance on gun rights.
“Make sure we are putting people in who are pro-civil rights. Ultimately, this is a civil rights issue,” he said.
The SAFE Act infringes on due process rights, the right to privacy and the right to equal protection under the law, according to Palmateer.
About 230 people attended a forum to discuss the issue before the burning. Similar forums held across the state have been well attended, Palmateer said. Gun groups will be holding a big rally April 1 at the state Capitol.
Kevin Sisson, a Carlisle councilman in Schoharie County, said he and others are defending the Constitution.
“We are not extremists,” he said. “We are simply free men who love our country.”
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