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Sullivan legislature opposes gun law; Hundreds gather for rally

Protestors gathered outside of the government center in Monticello on March 21 to sound off about the new state gun control law.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
March 27, 2013

The New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit on March 21 in federal court against the recently passed gun law in New York State. Court papers say the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE), runs afoul of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which affords citizens the right to own “commonly possessed” guns for defense purposes.

On the same day, hundreds of people gathered for a rally against NY SAFE, which is primarily aimed at the sale of assault weapons.

John Mahoney, one of the organizers, also said the law violates the Second Amendment. Referring to the words that connect the amendment to a “well-regulated militia,” Mahoney said that does not refer to the National Guard, as some people claim, because the guard did not exist at the time. However, various state militias did exist at the time.

Moreover, assault weapons did not exist at the time the amendment was adopted, and it is unclear that if the case ever reaches the U.S Supreme Court, the justices will rule that assault weapons are protected under the amendment. It is also unclear if other weapons such as shoulder fired missiles and chemical weapons would be protected.

In July 2012, Antonin Scalia, a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, said in a news interview that, because the amendment refers to the right to “keep and bear” arms, it would not apply to a cannon, but the question of whether or not it applies to shoulder-fired missile launchers is still up in the air.

Legislators Gene Benson and Cora Edwards sponsored the county resolution that urges repeal of the state law. After the rally, county legislators voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.