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St. Lawrence County residents say pro-gun rally in Albany was a success

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Five school buses departed St. Lawrence County for Albany on Thursday, carrying residents ready to voice their grievances over recently passed gun legislation.

Organized by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the rally at the Capitol was meant to show lawmakers that New Yorkers want strict gun laws rolled back.

Addressing the crowd were National Rifle Association President David Keene and several lawmakers from across the state.

“You gotta be deaf, dumb and blind not to see the support for the Second Amendment,” Lawrence I. Kring, a retired lieutenant in the state Department of Environmental Conservation police, said Friday.

Mr. Kring was responsible for organizing rally participants in St. Lawrence County.

The crowd of about 5,000 people called on lawmakers to repeal the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Expansion Act that sailed through the Legislature in January and includes a ban on magazines holding more than seven rounds of ammunition, a background check on all gun and ammunition sales, tougher laws for the criminal use of guns and an assault weapons ban.

“We had a very respectable showing of people who really think, and are right, that our Second Amendment has been infringed upon,” Mr. Kring said.

Mr. Kring said the Legislature is working on amending sections of the NYSAFE Act, including allowing movies to be shot using assault weapon replicas and ensuring that the law is clear in exempting law enforcement agents from a ban on carrying weapons at schools.

“Putting Band-Aids on a bad piece of legislation just shows how inept our state government really is,” Mr. Kring said.

Ogdensburg City Councilor Daniel E. Skamperle, who helped organize the rally, called the law “incredibly unconstitutional.”

Mr. Skamperle said he is particularly upset about the state registry set up by the NYSAFE Act for existing assault rifles. New Yorkers who own assault rifles are required to register them by spring 2014 or face misdemeanor charges. The registry is not for standard hunting rifles or shotguns.

“A lot of people think this law doesn’t affect them,” Mr. Skamperle said. “If it doesn’t affect you now, there’s more coming. It really affects everyone as Americans.”

Mr. Kring said the NYSAFE Act represented “Democratic agenda by a progressive legislature” and warned that the “progressive legislature” is in for a rude awakening at the ballot box.

“Apathy at the ballot box will be going way,” Mr. Kring said.

Mr. Skamperle said that although Thursday’s rally drew a crowd of 5,000, “It was really a drop in the bucket compared to people who wish they were there. Hopefully, we gave Albany some sort of voice that we’re not going to take it.”

The Albany trip was so popular with St. Lawrence County residents that Mr. Kring raised close to $3,000 more than it required. Mr. Kring said he will donate the money to the Rifle and Pistol Association to help it fight the gun law.

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