National Gun Appreciation Day was recognized by thousands in Albany’s West Capitol Park on Saturday (Jan. 19) at a rally organized by a group called Guns Across America. Demonstrators unfurled banners reading “Don’t Tread on Me” and carried signs; one was simply a photo of Gov. Andrew Cuomo emblazoned with a single word: “Tyrant.”
The protest came on the heels of the passage of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act by the Legislature on Tuesday. Critics called out Cuomo for “rushing” passage of the law, but he has defended it by saying that he wanted to control a last-minute buying surge on assault weapons.
President Barack Obama announced his plan to tighten gun control on Wednesday, and while a Siena College poll indicated that that an overwhelming majority of Americans support a ban on assault weapons and the limit of weapon magazine capacity, there has been an immediate backlash.
Last week, New York state Senator Kathy Marchione, who voted against Cuomo’s gun-control law, told the Times Union that the petition she started to repeal the act had received more than 83,000 signatures. Protestors at the Capitol over the weekend clearly demonstrated their disapproval. Held in tangent with rallies across the nation in other state capitals, Albany’s turnout was hosted by Talk 1300 radio jockey Melody Burns. Assemblymen Steve McLaughlin and James Tedisco spoke and pledged their support of gun supporters who say they are mainly interested in protecting their constitutional rights as dictated by the Second Amendment.
The protest in Albany was peaceful and without incident, but that wasn’t the case in other parts of the country. At three gun shows, five people were injured in three separate accidental shootings. Daily Kos reporter David Waldman said that in addition to the gun-show injuries, there were many other shootings in America on the same day. “All I did was search Google news. Still, I came up with a list of 103 separate incidents in 35 states and the District of Columbia, killing a total of 38 people and wounding 69 more.”
GunAppreciationDay.com responded in a post, “While we pray for the injured patriots speedy recovery. . . . It is no different than a car accident at a car show. IT IS AN ACCIDENT, not even worth discussing.”