ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Thousands of opponents of New York's new gun control law gathered Thursday at the statehouse to lobby lawmakers and rally against measures they say infringe on their constitutional right to bear arms.
Two lines in the morning stretched through the underground concourse of Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany, with a mass of demonstrators waiting to pass through checkpoints and metal detectors to enter the Capitol. Several held signs with slogans like, "Don't tread on me."
"We believe Gov. Cuomo jumped on the bandwagon to become president of the United States," said Tom Moriarty, a retired New York City police officer from Orange County. He said the criminal laws already on the books should be enforced to the fullest, rather than infringing on people's Second Amendment rights and guns they have for hunting and security.
"There's a lot of people here. There's more people coming right now," said Moriarty, who arrived with 125 members of the Black Rock Fish & Game Club in Cornwall on two buses.
Barbara Teeter and Don Crane, who came from Columbia County on a bus with members of the Columbia-Greene Sportsmen's Association, said the issue is taking guns from people who haven't done anything wrong and not getting illegal guns off the street. "It won't interfere with mass shootings, this law won't," Crane said.
Extra state troopers were on duty.
Organizers say the afternoon rally will include an address by National Rifle Association President David Keene. Hundreds of people gathered outside by midmorning.
The new law sets a seven-bullet limit on magazines, tightens the definition of illegal "assault weapons" and requires owners of formerly legal semi-automatic guns to register them.
About 500 opponents rallied outside the Capitol two weeks ago, chanting they won't comply. The New York Rifle & Pistol Association, organizer of the rally, and other opponents have filed notice of their intent to sue in an attempt to overturn the law.
Cuomo has said the new law "will limit gun violence through common sense, reasonable reforms that include addressing the risks posed by mentally ill people who have access to guns and banning high capacity magazines and lethal assault weapons." He advocated it after authorities say a troubled 20-year-old killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school using a semi-automatic rifle and large magazines illegal under New York's law.
While the Cuomo administration and legislators are discussing possible amendments, the only ones disclosed so far would clarify that exemptions for filmmakers firing blanks and for police will continue under the new law.