Tough new gun control laws are prompting acts of civil disobedience reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement and the Boston Tea Party in one state and calls for similar actions in another.
A group of New Yorkers even went so far as to publicly burn registration forms for so-called assault weapons as a Tuesday (April 15) deadline approaches. A lawsuit has been filed to try and overturn the registration requirement, and many gun owners say gun confiscation could be next.
The forms were placed in a barbecue outside an Elks Lodge in Saratoga Springs and torched as a symbolic protest by members of a group called the NY2A Grassroots Coalition. The forms were burned to protest the SAFE Act, which requires the registration of certain types of rifles in the Empire State by Tuesday. The rifles are now outlawed, but if they were purchased prior to the law being passed they are grandfathered – provided they are registered.
“It was just simply a statement to say that this is an egregious attack on our civil rights,” Jake Palmateer, the coalition’s cofounder, told a local TV station. The burning ended a meeting intended to educate gun owners about the SAFE Act and organize opposition to it.
A New York law firm, La Reddola, Lester and Associates, has filed suit in federal court seeking to halt the registration, The Washington Free-Beacon newspaper reported.
“The entire purpose of the registry is a sham to permit intrusions into a person’s home on consent without a warrant for a ‘gun removal,’” the firm said in a release. “The entire registry and database seek to justify warrantless police searches, which my client and I now believe to be the real purpose of the SAFE Act.”
The suit claims that the law allows for police to confiscate all the weapons a person owns if, for instance, their registration of a rifle or pistol is denied.
There is already widespread opposition and passive resistance to the SAFE Act, Palmateer told The Post Star newspaper. He estimated that there could be 1.2 million “assault weapons” in New York State but only around 3,000 of them have been registered. Palmateer predicted that the SAFE Act will eventually collapse under its own weight.
“This is just a travesty, it’s an injustice to the people who care about the Second Amendment,” Congressional candidate Jim Fisher told ABC News 10. Fisher was one of a number of politicians who attended the event which was designed to kick off a campaign to elect pro-Second Amendment candidates.
“Make sure we are putting people in who are pro-civil rights,” Palmateer told potential voters. “Ultimately, this is a civil rights issue.”
“The conversation didn’t end with the adoption of the SAFE Act and it’s not going to end after November,” said Carrie Woerner, a candidate for the New York State Assembly.
Battle In New Jersey, Too
A similar battle is brewing in New Jersey where the state Assembly has passed a bill that would ban all weapons capable of holding more than 10 rounds. A2006 passed the state Assembly by a 46-31 vote but it still needs to pass the State Senate and acquire a signature from Gov. Chris Christie to become law.
“I am here because I oppose A2006 because it will in fact turn one million law-abiding taxpaying citizens into criminals with one signature,” Anthony P. Colandro, the owner of a firing range called Gun Fire, told an Assembly committee on March 13. Colandro wanted to know what will happen to weapons banned and to their owners.
“I own personally approximately $30,000 (worth) of guns that they do not make 10-round magazines for,” he noted. “I also have in my possession at my range over $20,000 (worth) of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.”
“I want to know, Mr. Chairman, who will compensate me for those?” Colandro asked. In particular, he wanted to know if gun owners would be reimbursed for illegal magazines. “Is the state going to put aside $30 to $40 million for magazine exchange in the state of New Jersey? I need to know that.”
“Have you guys seen what is happening in Connecticut right now?” Colandro asked. “One million gun owners in New Jersey are also going to say like our brothers and sisters in the north that we will not comply.”
Off the Grid News has reported that a similar assault weapons ban in Connecticut has created widespread opposition and confusion. Some gun owners in that state reportedly received letters ordering them to dispose of their firearms – even after trying to register assault weapons.
“You can write these laws against us, us taxpaying law-abiding citizens, but we’re not going to follow,” Colandro said.