Activists seek repeal of New York’s new gun-control laws
ALBANY, N.Y. — More than 100,000 people have signed online petitions denouncing New York’s new gun laws. Gun owners are contemplating civil disobedience, vowing to ignore a requirement to register guns they own that are now classified as assault weapons. And some are even calling for the impeachment of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Gun rights activists, stunned and stung by the swift passage of some of the toughest gun laws in the country, are trying to channel their anger into action. Fueled by social media, and encouraged by gun owners in more conservative states, they are pushing for the repeal of New York’s law.
And they are preparing to go to court; the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association notified the state attorney general on Tuesday that it planned to ask a judge to overturn the law on constitutional grounds.
They face long odds in a state where the public and elected officials seem to have reached a consensus in favor of more restrictive gun laws. But just as Cuomo vowed that New York would provide a model for other states in response to the massacre in Newtown, Conn., gun owners were promising to set an example in fighting back.
“The more people see about this, the angrier they are getting,” said Jacob J. Rieper, the vice president of legislative and political affairs for the Rifle and Pistol Association.
He recounted sympathetic phone calls from as far away as Nebraska, where a man pledged to collect donations at his gun club to support a legal challenge to the law, and angry messages from New York gun owners who were eager to campaign against the legislators who voted for the measure.
“The bottom line is none of these people thought this through, and it’s starting to stink,” Rieper said.
A petition circulated by state Sen. Kathleen A. Marchione, R-Saratoga County, that condemns the new gun laws has more than 118,000 signatures. Marchione, an NRA member, is drafting legislation that would repeal many provisions in the bill, but her effort is mostly symbolic.
“The reality is that the Assembly would never pass it,” said Sen. Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, the Senate Republican leader, “the governor would never pass it, so I think we move on now to other issues.”
Thousands of gun owners gathered for a rally at the Capitol the weekend after the bill was enacted, on Jan. 15, while others assembled in Buffalo, N.Y., where the Republican nominee for governor in 2010, Carl P. Paladino, denounced Cuomo and the “gutless, cowardly legislators” who supported his legislation.
And thousands of people have signed petitions seeking the impeachment of Cuomo — again, not a likely outcome, given that Cuomo enjoys broad legislative support.