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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Firearm supporters take aim at SAFE Act

  • Saturday, citizens across New York state paid tribute to the colonists at “The Shot Heard Throughout New York State” events and also took a stand against a law they say infringes on their rights today: the NY SAFE Act
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  • Colonists in late 18th century Massachusetts were neither powerful nor abundant. Facing complete British rule and possible war, they began to stockpile cannonballs and gun powder - munitions for their own protection. The British, upon hearing of this secret supply, made plans to seize the colonists' reserves. On April 18, 1775, In an effort to protect their freedoms and weaponry, the Americans armed themselves and waited in line for their foes' arrival. When the British appeared, blasts rang out - it was the “shot heard 'round the world.” Saturday, citizens across New York state paid tribute to the colonists at “The Shot Heard Throughout New York State” events and also took a stand against a law they say infringes on their rights today: the NY SAFE Act The Act, passed into law nearly one year ago, is a wide-ranging gun control bill brought about after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in Connecticut. The controversial law banned sales of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. Those who already own an AR-15 must register the weapon by April 15. The number of bullets allowed per magazine was limited. Opponents of the law say it violates their constitutional rights and does not deter violent crime. Saturday, approximately 100 people attended a protest at the Bath Rod and Gun Club. Many took their best shot at one of the six targets approximately 50 yards from the firing line. One of those in attendance was Steuben County Sheriff David Cole, a vocal opponent of the SAFE Act. “The whole focus of this country, both nationally and state-wide, has been to oppose the Constitution of the United States, and I think that's what the SAFE Act does,” Cole said. “Absolutely, without question, gun control doesn't work because it disarms honest citizens and allows criminals to carry weapons.” Roger Beebe, of Corning, agreed. An avid gun collector, Beebe shoots for sport. “I don't play golf, I can't walk up and down the streams for fishing anymore, so I shoot,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of us are just law-abiding, honest citizens that enjoy shooting.” Cole said he does support some parts of the law. “There's a number of criminal law parts in the SAFE Act that I absolutely believe are a good thing,” Cole said. “Like Mark's Law, protecting firefighters and emergency responders and making shootings a more serious crime.” Much like the colonists who fought against British rule for the sake of freedom, participants of today's symbolic event hope their shots are heard and respected by lawmakers and urge them to take a closer look at how legislation affects the nation as a whole. “I'm hoping that events like this wake up some of our political leaders to actually look at some of these laws before they write them,” Cole said. “Look at the constitution before they decide to go against different amendments, instead of IRS scandals and listening to people's cell phones and legalizing marijuana.”
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