USA -(Ammoland.com)- With the election of President Donald Trump, many gun owners breathed a sigh of relief, that we dodged a bullet so to speak of having someone in charge of the executive branch that was in favor of new and stricter gun laws.
We blocked someone who could have changed the balance of power within the US Supreme Court for the next several decades. After that narrow 5-4 Heller decision, where we were a single vote away from possibly losing the 2nd Amendment forever. But what of those who live in states where no matter who runs Washington, that our rights are under fire from a constant barrage of legislation that continues to strip down what the Founding Fathers gave us?
I have lived in the state of New York my whole life, and for those who have never been here or seen it, New York City is only a small part, but the politics there influence the whole state. This state has not always been the rotten cesspool you see it as now, and it was at the heart of many of the most pivotal battles of the American Revolution and before that, the French & Indian War.
If it weren’t for some of the engagements during that conflict, the British might have never stayed on this continent, and we could all be speaking French. Later during the War of 1812, there was the Battle of Plattsburgh, with dueling engagements, one on water and one on land, where American forces repelled a British invasion and effectively ended any attempt by that nation to enter this country from the north.
New York has always had a rich tradition of hunting and the outdoors with the Adirondack and the Catskill Mountains, and lots of farmland in between and all the way to the Ohio, Vermont, Pennsylvania and Canadian borders. This state has not always been the liberal bastion it is now turned itself into.
So what happened? Very simply put this state turned blue because of its large urban population centers.
There are nineteen million people living here, and eight million of those live in New York City alone, but there are only five million registered Democrats.
The problem is, there are less than three million registered Republicans according to the last census. There have been decades of one area of the state ruling over the rest of the state country only by the weight of numbers. Each governor that has been elected has been more liberal than the last, with our current ruler, Andrew Cuomo lording over the Empire State (a more apt name cannot be given to it).
I started owning guns in 1994, and at that time the majority of the laws here were not that strict before that unless you lived in New York City where crime at that point was running rampant before Rudy Guiliani being elected as Mayor and is again thanks to the current chief executive there.
For instance, a permit to carry a handgun in the state of New York is not valid in New York City, which since the state government isn’t even located there is staggering, telling you how much political pull one city has to override state law by keeping honest citizens from exercising their rights.
People might be asking, why not move out of state? Many can, but many cannot. For those of us with jobs, careers, families, and responsibilities and maybe years and decades away from being able to retire, moving away is not as easy as it sounds. Sure if you’re fresh out of high school or college, that’s an easier choice, but not so easy for rest of us.
The other option is to fight back through the ballot box. When Governor Cuomo rammed through his Safe Act, there was immediate anger and pushback on all sides. Many county sheriffs stated that they would not have their officers enforce parts of it, residents sued after being arrested for something that only before the signing of that law was perfectly legal.
Something as simple as having ten rounds in a ten round magazine that you could still legally own would guarantee you a trip to the county lockup. The one positive thing that came out of the Safe Act, it unified gun owners as nothing has ever done in this state.
There have been small victories, for instance, we can have ten rounds in our ten round magazine again, there are New York compliant AR rifles although they are neutered versions of their former selves. Also, the planned background check on ammunition appears to be dead since the idea was never actually thought out when the law was passed.
The SAFE ACT also brought out people who have never voted before. When Andrew Cuomo ran for re-election in 2014, he won by one of the smallest margins in state history, winning with sixteen out of sixty-two counties, but of course, most of that was the New York City area and the other population centers.
One of the other reasons why New York is the way it is, the Republican leadership, for the most part, is as bad as the Democrats when it comes to politics. When the Safe Act was passed, it did so because of many of the Senate Republicans, including Dean Skelos, [who was once convicted of Corruption] the former Majority Leader of the State Senate, voted in favor of it. In the end, nine Republicans voted in favor of the Safe Act despite pleas and calls from their constituents telling them to oppose it.
All across the state of New York, county after county voted to oppose the Safe Act, with only a handful voting for it. The Governor did not care, the Democrats in power did not care, they passed a law that many still to this day oppose.
So what can those of us here behind enemy lines do?
We can demand better representation from our leaders. There’s a groundswell in the country right now of ordinary people who are tired of their choices, whether it’s state or federal.
As a citizen, you need to register to vote, and you need to vote for the candidate that will do the job he or she says. If not, they need to be replaced, and those running for office need to know that.
The one thing many gun owners here will say is that they feel like they have been abandoned. I know many former NRA members who will no longer pay money when they feel like they have been left out in the cold, which has led to the rise of organizations here like S.C.O.P.E., small in stature but fiercely fighting for gun owners when they can. Gun owners need hope; they need a reason to get out and vote.
We need candidates who don’t just give out the “You can’t fight New York City” line and just go along to get their paycheck and pension. We need someone to run for governor who can find upstate and northern New York without having to look for it on a map or who has been north of Albany more than once or twice in their lives.
I feel for those in other states like mine (NJ, CA) who have no problem stripping the rights away from gun owners. Right now Andrew Cuomo is proposing a new law where gun owners who are arrested for domestic violence lose their firearms, permanently.
This new law would mean confiscation, something he had advocated for all along when the Safe Act was first announced. All gun owners here in this state need to oppose it. But gun owners in every state where they are living under the thumb of elected officials who would with the stroke of a pen strip their right to defend themselves all the while they enjoy armed security, need to organize, Get out the facts, register to vote and then make sure on election day they’re pulling that lever.
I would also tell those who live in states where gun rights are not so restrictive, don’t get complacent. Our rights here were not in danger overnight. We didn’t start off this way, politicians snuck in like a fox in a henhouse and started taking them one by one.
Mocking us here by saying we elected stupid leaders are only partially true, some of us are fighting back, some of us want to enjoy where we live, raise our kids and have grown up. That’s what its like to be in occupied territory.
About David LaPell:
David LaPell has been a Corrections Officer with the local Sheriff's Department for thirteen years. A collector of antique and vintage firearms for over twenty years and an avid hunter. David has been writing articles about firearms, hunting and western history for ten years. In addition to having a passion for vintage guns, he is also a fan of old trucks and has written articles on those as well.