ALBANY, N.Y. – Carrying American flags and signs supporting the Second Amendment, more than 200 people gathered at New York's state capitol building in Albany on Tuesday to press for repeal of the state's tough new gun law.
A coalition of conservative groups delivered 400,000 signed postcards to members of the Assembly calling on them to roll back the measure passed in January.
The law, enacted a month after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, limits the number of rounds in a magazine, bans the sale of assault-style weapons and requires federal background checks in private gun sales.
The protesters were encouraged to register to vote, join a political party and get active in political committees. Organizers said the goal is to repeal the law or else in 2014 make its supporters face consequences at the polls. At one table, they handed out voter registration forms and encouraged demonstrators to take them home to family and friends who feel the same way.
"We are going to vote out the people who did this to us," organizer Lisa Donovan told the crowd.
She acknowledged that 60 percent of New York's population comes from New York City and its suburbs where there's more support for gun control, but she told the demonstrators that elections depend on turnouts and people who actively work hard at the campaigns. Organizers displayed a map showing nearly all upstate counties and many cities and towns have passed resolutions opposing the gun law.
Cuomo has called the law a common sense measure to reduce gun violence, arguing that while certain semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines have been used in mass shootings like Newtown, that's firepower and bullet capacity than hunters and sportsmen need. New York City has even tighter gun controls than the state.
Some of the protesters gathered outside the statehouse held signs supporting the Second Amendment right to bear arms or criticizing the new law for infringing on it. One vendor sold T-shirts with such statements as, "Do not register your gun."
James R. Colloca, a retired factory worker from Oswego, said the new laws infringe on citizens' Second Amendment rights, which he said endangers the entire Bill of Rights.
"I don't trust the government to do the right thing anymore," Colloca said.
He was with a friend and said they had separately contacted their legislators about the law. "And we're not about to give up."
The NY2A Grassroots Coalition, whose rally was organized separately from the one called by earlier this year the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association that drew thousands of protesters to Albany, had thick packets of preprinted and signed postcards for each Assembly member. They were from constituents, urged each legislator to back the pending bill to repeal the law and called for letting the measure reach the Assembly floor for a vote.
Tom Cavanagh of East Berne said he helped collect the cards at gun rights rallies across the state over the past month, with signatures from New Yorkers from Buffalo to Long Island.