By Tom Reynolds
It’s easy to have a personal opinion on political issues but when speaking for an organization, one must attempt to be rational and consistent before giving one’s opinion. Take for instance the issue of endorsing candidates. Most, if not all Second Amendment supporters would agree that the leadership/establishment of the Democratic Party are radically Anti-2A; I doubt if that leadership would deny it. But what happens when an individual candidate comes out of the “Democratic Closet” and supports 2A? Do we support or not support such an exceptional person? My answer is, “It depends”.
Allow me to set out some principles so, “It depends”, is not as wishy-washy as it sounds. At the federal level (the House and the Senate) and the state level (the Assembly and the Senate) the leaders of the majority party (Speaker or Majority Leader) have tremendous power. They decide what does and does not happen. Unfortunately, the Democratic leaders are now firmly members of the Anti-2A establishment. When we elect a legislator, they help put their party in the majority which, in the case of Democrats, means Anti-2A legislation will abound. While a Democratic legislative candidate may truly be pro-2A, I do not believe we can take a chance on electing Democratic leadership, so I would not be able to recommend endorsing such a Democratic candidate in the general election.
But what about non-legislative candidates such as D.A.’s, Sheriffs and judges? They do not create a majority, they are a one person majority! Would I ever recommend supporting a Democrat who is truly pro-2A for D.A., Sheriff or judge? If it was during a Democratic primary, the vision of a pro-2A Democrat running against a pro-2A Republican in the general election is delicious to contemplate. Remember, some gun owners are Democrats and in a district where the Democrats are a majority the Democrat will probably be the eventual winner. So, yes, I could see myself recommending endorsement of a pro-2A Democrat during their primary.
But, what about the general election? First, remember that almost all Republicans give verbal support to 2A when campaigning but many are not exactly rabid in their support, after the election. What if a Democrat, while serving as D.A., Sheriff or judge, had truly demonstrated support for 2A and was running against a Republican who seemed wishy-washy in support of 2A. I might find it possible to cautiously recommend support for the Democrat. I say “might” because of an intangible; these people are products of their political parties and I would have to be convinced they would stand up to the intra-party pressure they would receive. If a true 2A Republican supporter were running against a 2A Democratic supporter, then the Republican has to get the endorsement. Personal character is always to be considered but why take a chance?
Having laid out some principles, what information do we base the decision upon? Rating forms are often used that pick out several important votes to measure how a sitting legislative candidate has voted. Unfortunately, that can be deceptive. Examples from history are effective and we had an excellent example during the Obama Administration of why a rating based on votes is deceptive. Republicans usually ran against Obamacare and voted to repeal it some thirty times; thirty times that never had a chance to be signed into law over Obama’s veto. But since Republicans regained the Presidency, they haven’t yet gotten enough votes together to repeal. So, should they get any credit for thirty meaningless votes which, on paper, seemed to exhibit the desire to repeal Obamacare? If you were rating candidates before a Republican gained the Presidency, you had thirty votes on which to make a rating decision. Of course, you could have ignored the votes because they never had a chance of succeeding (I would have done that). After the election, you had a truer representation and most would probably ignore those earlier thirty votes.
We have a similar problem with 2A legislation here in NY. The NY Assembly and Governor Cuomo are major blocks to any pro-2A legislation. Republicans are constantly introducing bills that have no chance of being enacted into law, but they seek credit for their meaningless efforts. In fairness, Democrats in the Assembly do the same thing and introduce anti-2A bills that will never be approved by the Republican Senate. The Republicans do deserve credit for blocking these bills and it should remind us how tenuous our situation is since just one Senator gives us the majority; if we lose the majority, the craziness out of NY City would become law!
Basing a rating on just votes is, in my opinion, not usually valid, but it is an easy method. More subjectively, there should be a second level of questions. For instance, the legislator should be asked, “You introduced / voted for a pro-2A bill but it never realistically had a chance to become law. Tell us what you did besides introduce/vote for the bill that increased its chance to become law”. Or, you could ask, “Why did you not use the Rent Control issue in 2016 or the 421-A issue in 2017 to help repeal the SAFE Act”. As I stated, the answers are subjective, which makes them harder to rate but the answers are also important.
Of course, there is another element. What happens when a radically Anti-2A candidate is running against a wishy-washy pro-2A candidate? It’s easy to give out the “F” rating but there is always pressure on grade inflation. We don’t want to take a chance that the Anti-2A candidate is elected, so a “C” often becomes an “A” and that candidate proclaims forevermore that S.C.O.P.E. gave them an “A”. My answer to the ratings question is that the most valuable ratings must be a bit subjective and should relay to the reader the rationale as well as the voting history. Also, the ratings should be done by a group and vote counts should be published; for instance, “The ratings committee gave the candidate a “B” by a 3 to 2 vote. The committee was influenced by his lack of support for…”.
By Tim Andrews SCOPE President
The 2017 elections are over, and hopefully you helped elect pro-gun candidates to office in your local communities. The end of the 2017 elections brings the beginning of the 2018 election season. Yes, you heard me right, the 2018 election season is here, and our work begins. It is not overstated, to say that New York gun owners are facing the most important election of their lifetime. Let me say it again, 2018 will be the most important election of your lifetime. You will be voting to elect members of the New York State Legislature as well as the governor of New York State. Additionally, you will be electing members of congress and a U.S. Senator.
It’s a very big year to say the least. You have heard estimates on the number of gun owners in New York. Estimates range from four to six million New York gun owners. If we voted in a block, we would be the most pro-gun state in the union. Unfortunately, we don’t vote as a block, even worse, many gun owners don’t vote. Our fate ultimately hinges on how successful we are at getting gun owners out to vote and to vote pro-gun.
Many people who consider themselves pro-gun, are not necessarily one issue voters. They consider other issues as well. When they vote they may consider a candidate’s stance on issues like taxes, economics or other social issues. We need to educate voters that the right to defend yourself and your family is the ultimate right to life. Remember that caricature of Uncle Sam, pointing at you and stating, “Uncle Sam needs you”? Well, Uncle Sam needs all of us to preserve freedom in New York State. All hands-on deck. If there are barriers between us we must bury them now. We need gun shop owners, gun show operators, gun clubs and any organization that considers itself pro -gun to join in the fight.
First and foremost, we must get gun owners registered to vote. If you are not registered you can’t vote. We need voter registration forms in every gun shop, we must have voter registration tables at every gun show. We need to educate gun owners on how to vote including absentee balloting. We also need to identify the pro-gun vote and make sure it gets to the polls on election day. One final point on registering to vote....gun owners tend to be independent and many of us are inclined to register as independents and not a member of a political party.
When you register, I would encourage you to register to a political party because not doing so gives up part of your voice. When you register to a party you have the right to vote in that party’s primary. You have a say in who that party’s candidate is in the November election. Don’t forfeit that power, register to a political party. As a party member, you can obtain signatures and run your own pro-gun candidate against an anti-gunner in a party primary. The other important thing to consider about primaries is that fewer people vote in them, giving primary votes more impact. This means that an organized, get out the vote campaign in a primary can sometimes rid us of an anti-gun candidate who might be more difficult to defeat in the general election.
Good news on the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA – H.R. 3576). Representative Chris Collin’s legislation now has 14 co-sponsors. They include representatives from California, North Carolina, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Here in New York SAGA co-sponsors include Representatives Tom Reed, Claudia Tenney, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin. Call these reps and thank them for their support. If you live in the Syracuse Representative district of John Katko, call his office and ask why he has not joined as a co-sponsor of SAGA.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of the recent mass shootings. Not surprisingly, it has not taken long for the enemies of freedom to attempt to gain some political advantage from these terrible tragedies that have their roots in pure evil. The Texas church shooting highlighted a point we have been making for a long time. The best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The media has done a good job of playing that down. As you all know law-abiding gun owning citizen Stephen Willeford, put an end to the shooter’s rampage with his AR-15 rifle. The only thing that would have made this better is if someone in that church had a firearm, even more lives may have been saved. This was in Texas. I can’t help but wonder why no one in that church was armed. Have anti-gunners with their lying rhetoric attached a stigma to concealed carry, making folks reluctant to carry? If they have they should be held accountable for their rhetoric because it’s costing lives. Consider this, 70% of mass shootings end within 5 minutes, average police response time to such tragedies is 11 minutes. You can run, hide under a table or pew and hope for the best or you can fight back. Texas hero, Stephen Willeford proved there is no substitute for a good guy with an AR-15. Furthermore, we know the shooter had a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force and had a record of domestic violence, by law he should not have been able to purchase a firearm. That’s more evidence of government ineptitude and more evidence of how you cannot count on, or expect the government to protect you from a violent attack. Like New York’s SAFE Act, restrictive gun laws only restrict law abiding citizens, making us more vulnerable to evil people like the shooters in Texas and Las Vegas. The battle is against evil, perhaps too theological for anti-gunners to understand.
By Richard Rossi
Well, the holidays have passed and we are in a new year. It is NOW time for all American Patriot's to turn their attention to the upcoming 2018 ELECTIONS. This will be a critical election year for the residents of New York State, and we need to start NOW. We have several races this year at both the Federal and State levels. We have at the Federal level, Senator Gillibrand running for re-election. We need to have a 'changing of the guard'. The duo of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand MUST be broken-up. We have two Anti-Rights and Freedom, Anti-Constitution individuals representing 'We the People' of New York State in office. They do not represent the true Law-abiding American citizens. On the state level, we have another opportunity to get rid of Governor Cuomo. It is time to 'start cleaning house' in Albany and we need to start at the top. We need to end the ' Corruption', the 'Dictatorship', the 'Bullying', and yes, regain our Rights and Freedoms, and put an end to partisan politics and special interest pandering. Fortunately, we NOW have another chance to DUMP Cuomo.
Are you all happy with the NYS SAFE ACT Pistol recertification process? Were you all good 'citizens' and sent in your form? I am sure every criminal is laughing his/her head-off right now. Permit - what is that?, I don't need one!!! Over the next several weeks and months, how many of you will find out you have been denied your right to carry for some obscure reason or due to an error? How about for something you said to your Dr. or medical assistant? Something that 'Big Brother' did not like and felt you were unfit to have your guns. The UPSTATE Citizens need and deserve a governor, that is for all the people of NYS - NOT just the NYC folks. And don't let anyone tell you any different - his actions speak volumes louder than his 'rhetoric'.
Furthermore, OUR NYS Assembly Representatives are up for reelection as well in Albany. It is time to 'clean house'. We need to install our own TERM LIMITS. It is time for a dynamic change. 'We the People' need to elect individuals who will fight for US - the Hard-Working, Law-abiding Legal Citizens of Up-State. We need Representatives that will 'stand-up' and 'push back' against the NYC Representatives. We need rep's that will ONLY compromise when it is good for US - Upstate Citizens. We need rep's that will vote NO and hold the line against the political party-line agendas, and UNCONSTITUTIONAL laws. We need rep's that will vote as a block to ensure our (Up-state) interests are FIRST, as well as our RIGHTS/ FREEDOMS as American Citizens. I am sure they will all be on the campaign trail very soon looking for your re-election vote. The 'good old boys' want to keep the status quo, 'business as usual' and the 'wheeling-dealing' continues. We will hear, they did their best for us; however, they did not have the votes, Governor Cuomo would veto it anyway, etc.
Well, I for one am totally disgusted with the same old campaign speeches and promises. They need to show me their ACCOMPLISHMENTS and actually what they DID. What bills did they draft? What bills did they cosponsor? What DID they personally due to achieve a positive result? What did they do 'above and beyond'? Sitting back and saying they voted for this or that bill IS NOT ENOUGH. We need to get 'new blood' in Albany. The time of the career politician needs to end. We tried it and it does not work for 'We the People'. Politicians are like diapers - they need to be changed frequently.
Our Founding Fathers were aware of this and their original intent was for individuals to serve a term and then go back to their original public lives and occupations. They believed new blood was good for our government it brought forth new ideas and inspired individuals to do what was best for our country. A reminder for the citizens in the 102 Assembly District; (Greene, Delaware, Schoharie, Otsego, Albany, Ulster, and Columbia Counties are in the 102 AD District). As you are all aware, Assemblyman Peter Lopez has resigned and his seat is VACANT. Governor Cuomo, will - I believe, be authorizing a 'SPECIAL ELECTION' in March or April to fill the vacancy. Time is critical, get to know the candidates seeking election. Be an informed voter.... Let’s start to make a difference TODAY.
I was thinking that the battle for our Second Amendment Rights has been going on for years. Why? Is it due to our Gun-owning citizens’ lack of initiative? Believing our rights will never be taken away? The handwriting is on the wall - we have seen our Rights slowly being infringed and restricted. We have between 3 and 5 million gun owners in NYS alone. We have 10's of millions of gun-owners country wide. This can be a POWERFUL voting block IF all the Gun-owners would support each other. Let me be clear, gun-ownership IS NOT restricted to any party affiliation. We have Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Conservatives and yes, even some liberals that are gun owners. Yes, unfortunately, much of the Anti-gun initiatives are being preached by Liberal-Democrats. This is my point, we need the hunters, target shooters, competitive shooters, and the CCW community, any and all citizens that believe is it our right to 'Keep and Bear Arms’, etc. to stand united in this upcoming 2018 election. Stand United, I mean VOTE for ONLY pro-Second Amendment Candidates regardless of your or their political affiliation. YES, most of us vote based on a numbers of issues and concerns, and YES, some blindly vote party lines. However, IF we unite, in 2018 and VOTE as a unified block, WE can send a 'loud and clear' message to our elected representatives -DON'T INFRINGE ON OUR GUN OWNERSHIP RIGHTS. I am saying for just one election cycle, VOTE united. Put an end to our Constitutional infringement. I believe, this will send a clear message even to the Liberal/Dems. The Law-abiding American Citizens will NOT have their Rights infringed. A unified vote of 3 to 5 million in mid-term elections WILL definitely put Albany on notice. It will definitely stop the anti-gun agenda in NYS. We hopefully will see the REPEAL of the NYS SAFE Act. How many career politicians will fall? How many Anti-gun politicians will be defeated? This can set the tone for years to come, mess with the law-abiding gun owners and you’re gone. It is time for the gun-owners to become Patriots. Take a stand for America and our Constitution/ Bill of Rights. We are ALL citizens first, Americans First. Party affiliation should be secondary. Start right now, get pro-2nd Amendment candidates to run, make sure your fellow sportsmen are registered voters. Yes, also the Democratic pro-Second Amendment candidates as well. Contact (Email, write, visit) your reps and let them know, we have had enough. Show-up at town hall meetings, send letters to the editors of your local newspapers. Broadcast your Second Amendment Rights far and wide. Stand up and be counted. Freedom is not Free. Never Apologize for being a PATRIOT.
By Andrea Elliott. Chair, Delaware County
I spent 6 years of my early life living on an Air Force base in Anchorage, Alaska. My dad was a pilot who flew search and rescue missions along the vulnerable coastlines of Alaska. We were there when the big earthquake devastated the state in the early 60’s. My dad shot some amazing footage from the plane as he flew over the destruction caused by this event. While we were safe on the base, the outskirts took a huge hit. It was then that I realized how powerful nature was, and that we had no control over it, whatsoever. Alaska was and is still rugged country. Wildlife and weather are your biggest challenges. Not just military personnel had a firearms collection, all Alaskans did, because moose and grizzlies were both plentiful and bold. Having a high powered rifle, a shotgun and a few pistols were standard necessities, like your toothbrush. I remember my dad going on hunting and fishing trips when he had time off and bringing home duck, ptarmigan, moose, caribou, salmon, trout and huge king crab. We smoked the fish, and made moose burgers and caribou hot dogs, as well as various sausages and canned goods. I even remember picking the buckshot out of duck before I ate it. My dad made us a swing in the basement with the huge antlers from one of his trophies. We would sit around while he cleaned the guns and explained the whys and hows along with the safety rules. We never touched his guns – they were off limits – or else! We all grew up with a respect for guns and being a military family we didn’t question a command. Sometimes he would take us fishing and sometimes I would get to hold the rifle (we were always on the look out for bears). He would teach me how to use the sights but I didn’t shoot as I was only 6 years old and that gun was huge.
Memories like that stay with a kid, and I was glad my dad took the time to familiarize me with firearms and firearm safety. Girls usually didn’t get that luxury back in the day, unless you lived in the woods or on a farm. We led a fairly safe life on the base, so needing a gun for protection from intruders wasn’t why we had them, but after dad retired and we began living as civilians we noticed that not all people were nice.
Personal defense was now a priority. Times were changing and not for the better. We moved to NY when I was in High School. The small town was still a farming community where it was ok to be late to school on opening day, and the guys had their guns in the trucks right on school grounds. Heck they even had a “Bring your gun to school day”. We had a range in the school basement and a pistol club. Girls were good with that and some were members of the team. That was in the ‘70’s.
Soon that was phased out, guns weren’t allowed on school property, and kids lost interest in hunting. What happened? I think it was electronics. Everyone got so addicted to games and computers and rarely got off the couch. Sports teams dwindled and some schools barely had enough turn out to make a team. Parents didn’t hunt anymore as they were wrapped up in careers trying to make ends meet. But now we live in a different world. Evil is everywhere, and everyone should be taking steps to keep themselves and their families safe. Women and children, especially, are now taking self defense training and more women are becoming pistol permit holders. There is much talk today about empowering women and how we need a voice.
Ladies, our voices do not have to be loud, offensive, or vulgar to make a point. Teach our children to use their minds and not their mouths, especially not in the fashion of the Hollywood elite and music icons that many seem to put on a pedestal; teach them to choose better heroes. The noise in the media is such a poor message to be sending our young women. The best way to empower our girls is to teach them self-defense. Teach them to honor their lives and the lives of others. Teach them to honor their body and protect it. Teach them to be respectable leaders, not mindless followers. Teach them to be patriotic, stand for the flag and recite the pledge of allegiance along with you. Teach them to put down their phones, take up arms and do some target shooting. Teach them survival skills. Have them join competitive shooting teams. Support local sporting clubs and participate in outdoor activities that get kids away from the chaos of school and questionable influences. When I see dads and their daughters in full gear going out on a hunt it makes me smile, as the joy on their faces is what I remember feeling when my dad took me with him to hunt. And very importantly, teach them about the Constitution and how important it is, especially the 2nd Amendment. They won’t learn it in school. Teach them about voting, and how to vet a candidate. Take them to meet elected officials and ask them questions in a respectful manner. Let’s set a good example for the next generation.
You will not see me or any of my family wearing fake vaginas on our heads to protest how unfair life is. We will pull on our boots, roll up our sleeves and get to work – mostly behind the scenes at a grassroots level- because that is where a good foundation starts. Our best voice is our quiet confidence and willingness to step outside our comfort zone, educate ourselves and others in what really matters, and working together to protect ourselves, our families, and our Country. Never waste a teaching moment, our future depends on the time we put into raising our children, and our sons and daughters are depending on us to show them the way and give them a firm foundation to build on. Take extra time with your daughters, because they are the future mothers, and the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!
By Edwin Taber
In this article I will be addressing states rights as they apply to the Second Amendment and I will be referencing Webster's 1828 Dictionary since it reflects the definition of words used in the US Constitution. Right - Just claim; immunity; privilege. All men have a right to the secure enjoyment of life, personal safety, liberty and property. We deem the right of trial by jury invaluable, particularly in the case of crimes. Rights are natural, civil, political, religious, personal, and public. Power – the right of governing. “The powers not delegated to the United States [all the states] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states [individual] are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The Tenth Amendment Respectively – as relating to each. What is an example of a prohibition to the state in the US Constitution? In the Second Amendment there is a prohibition to the states. The Second Amendment says: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. The individual states are prohibited by the words “shall not be infringed”. Prohibit means to forbid or to interdict by authority. The word shall means the authors wished to express determination with the implication of an authority to enforce. Interdict means to prohibit. Infringe means to violate, either positively by contravention, or negatively by non-fulfillment or neglect of performance. Contravention means a defeating of the operation or effect. A state's power to govern has restrictions such as the one imposed in the Second Amendment. The Constitution does not permit any state action forbidding any part of the Second Amendment. A state cannot attempt to defeat the intent and purpose of the Second Amendment by statute, policy or regulation. A state cannot neglect to support and defend the Second Amendment. The prohibition of this particular power to govern to the states as stated by “shall not be infringed” in the Second Amendment is expressed with determination for compliance and with an unqualified intent to enforce. The prohibition extends to the people as well since it's the duty of citizens to participate in the security of the state and they cannot refuse any call to militia duty except on religious scruples as this would clearly be an infringement.
By Tom Reynolds
Andrew Cuomo said in Syracuse: "I’ve done more for upstate economic development than any governor in the history of the state of New York." With friends like Cuomo, who needs enemies? In reality, upstate New York jobs’ growth has been less than a quarter of the national average with an outright loss of manufacturing jobs. Cuomo’s “Hunger Games” awards have mostly wasted over $3 billion supporting such economic development projects as bike trails and empty film studios. Some might ask; what went wrong? But the better question is; was it ever intended to succeed? To answer why Cuomo’s upstate economic development policies were never meant to succeed and how this impacts our defense of the 2nd Amendment, it is necessary to first understand the political situation in New York. In the two legislative bodies which control New York State government, the leaders of the majority party in the legislatures (Speaker in the Assembly and Majority Leader in the Senate) are extremely powerful and little gets done without their personal approval. Cuomo’s party controls the New York Assembly with 106 of 150 seats, about 75 of which are New York City area Democrats, so there is no real hope of change in the NY Assembly. Of the 63 seats in the NY Senate, the Democrats control 31, the Republicans control 31 and 1 is held by a Brooklyn Senator named Simcha Felder who ran on both the Republican and Democrat lines. Senator Felder caucuses with the Republicans which gives them the majority, by one vote, and allows them to elect a Republican Majority Leader to control the Senate. (If you are wondering why a Brooklyn Senator sits with the Republicans, his district voted for Mitt Romney and Donald Trump in the last two presidential elections.) A Republican Majority leader in the Senate prevents much of Cuomo’s and NY City’s anti 2A craziness from becoming law. So, the only thing keeping Cuomo from complete political control of the state hangs by a thread.
If Felder should change and caucus with the Democrats or if one seat flips in the upcoming election, Cuomo controls the Senate and it will be goodbye 2nd Amendment and farewell to Upstate. The above facts are pretty much indisputable, which brings us back to the question, of why Cuomo’s economic development plans were never meant to substantially help upstate New York. The answer lies in Cuomo’s backup plan to gain the majority in the NY Senate so a Democrat becomes the powerful Majority Leader. In 2020, there will be a national census and in 2021 the legislative districts will be redistricted to reflect that census. When the population shifts more to the New York City area, it will gain Senate seats (Democrats for sure), Upstate will lose Republican seats and the Majority Leader will become Democrat (and most likely a NY City Democrat).
Cuomo’s economic policies have not stopped population loss in Upstate but do support his goal of a Democratic Senate based on NY City. When jobs disappear the population follows them. Out-migration to other states has exceeded in-migration from other states, even in NY City. While Upstate NY’s total population has shrunk, NY City’s total population has grown slightly because of immigration. (Did you really believe Sanctuary Cities were all about social justice?) Cuomo just needs to continue the current trends and he is guaranteed Senate control in 2022 as Senate seats shift from Upstate to the NY City area. Cuomo and Democrats don’t mind wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on failed economic projects in order to gain political control through a depopulated Upstate. Remember, Cuomo proposes economic plans for Upstate which emphasize tourism and agriculture, which just happen to be the two lowest paying sectors of the economy and many of those jobs are seasonal. While I, and probably many of you, like tourism and agriculture, who would try to build a strong Upstate economy based on the lowest paying sectors of the economy? The answer, of course, is Andrew Cuomo, since he does not want a strong upstate economy. Cuomo’s plan was multifaceted as one of his other major initiatives has been consolidation under the guise of budget savings. But most savings are illusory and consolidating governments makes the state easier to control from Albany. It’s easier to control 63 counties than the hundreds of towns and villages - none of which are located in NY City - and Cuomo is all about control!
One tragedy in all this is the human cost of Cuomo’s plan, which he callously ignores. Families with long histories in Upstate NY are being torn apart as sons and daughters must seek jobs in other states. NY has a huge, state funded, system of higher education but, after NY taxpayers have funded their education, the graduates must move to other states to find a job. That’s the problem, but what is the solution? What can we do to stop the Cuomo express since he is well on his way to depopulating Upstate and declaring 2A obsolete? Most immediately, we have to maintain control of the NY Senate or Cuomo’s plan is inevitable. This means holding all thirty one Republican seats in 2018 and flipping some of the current Democratic seats. Where are the potential flips? Of the thirty-one Democratic Senators, only 5 are located outside of the NY City area stronghold: one each in Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany and two on Long Island. While we, in Upstate, tend to ignore Long Island, it should be noted that the two Long Island Democratic seats just flipped from Republican in the 2016 election and by small margins. It’s quite possible that these two seats are better candidates for flipping than the three in Upstate. (The City of Albany, for instance, has not had a Republican mayor since the 1920’s.) Pro 2A groups in Upstate need to push our Upstate politicians and Upstate political committees and the state Republican committee to field strong candidates on Long Island and then we must financially support those candidates. It’s important to flip some seats no matter where they may be.
We need to get Upstate residents registered and voting. NY City Democrats don’t vote heavily in off year elections such as 2018 and both the governorship and Senate seats could be at risk if we can motivate people to register and vote in order to save their jobs, their rights and their families. Effective registration and get-out-to-vote campaigns are vital. The pro 2A community can seek and work with allies in unrelated areas; groups that share our dislike of Cuomo and understand the need to save Upstate. The greatest threat that Cuomo’s plan faced was hydro-fracked gas since that would have turned around the upstate economy and increased population more than enough to offset NY City’s growth due to immigration. We only need to look a few miles south of the NY border to understand why hydro-fracking would ruin Cuomo’s plans. We may not agree with these groups on all the issues but we certainly agree far less with Cuomo and NY City Democrats. These other groups need to apply the same logic to their efforts. There are 4 to 6 million gun owners in NY State but in the 2014 gubernatorial election there were less than 4 million votes cast. By my calculation, only a little more than 1 million gun owners may have voted. There is a group ripe for cultivating the vote since Cuomo’s 2013 gun control legislation, the Safe Act, is a major issue. They may not like guns or perhaps some gun owners don’t like fracking but I’ll bet that almost all dislike Cuomo more. We must focus on the bigger picture which is to save Upstate (and thus 2A) from Cuomo and the NY City Democrats.
Of course, it’s well established the two major impediments to NY State’s economy are high taxes and stifling regulations. But that will not change until we change governors. While we may not see much effect in NYS, for the reasons I’ve described, we have just seen what a change in Washington can do for the economy in most states. A change in governors could work wonders for the economy. Finally, we need to let our upstate politicians know that we are not fooled by the “Trojan Horse” economic policies of Andrew Cuomo. We must insist on incentives that are effective and do not throw away taxpayer dollars on programs that were never intended to succeed.
By C. Bruce Kingsley Jefferson/ Lewis SCOPE Chairman
What better place to inspire our youth to enjoy the sport of shooting than being promoted through their schools? The Jefferson/Lewis Chapter of SCOPE has made this our primary objective to support school trap leagues. There are 8 schools that have trap leagues in these two counties and the numbers are growing. There are 19 schools and over 350 students in leagues across the state. NEW YORK STATE HIGH SCHOOL CLAY TARGET LEAGUE has a very informative website nyclaytarget.com that has good information of how to get students and schools involved. We just have to get the courage to talk to our schools’ superintendents, and find a local gun range. The schools involvement is nothing more than informing the youth and their parents. Our chapter is offering thousands of dollars to the leagues in an essay contest as an enticement to form these leagues and keep them active. SCOPE needs exposure so the public knows who we are and what we stand for. We have been busy at numerous affairs raising money supporting SCOPE and 2A. School trap leagues will be our inspiration to continue with these efforts. It would be a great achievement to have the local news media televising a league receiving a check for $1000, with the SCOPE banner in the background, and kids breaking a few clays.
The schools have adopted the zero tolerance concerning firearms. It would be a good objective for SCOPE members to change this attitude. It was just the other year a 10 year old youth was suspended for several days for eating his graham cracker into the shape of what appeared to be a firearm. We have to change this mentality starting with the news media, schools, and legislators.
By Attilio A. Contini
I just finished reading the December issue of IMPRIMIS. I am sure many members of SCOPE also get the Hillsdale College publication. This month it had a piece entitled “Three Lessons of Statesmanship”, written by President Larry P. Arnn. He talks about Winston Churchhill, the stage leading up to and after WWII, of course Statesmanship, and the situation we face today here in the United States. His point that draws me to refer to the article is: That the majority of people here in the US today say that they are afraid of our Government. Truer words have never been said! Why does SCOPE exist? Because we fear what our State Government has been doing for the past fifty years. The problem has grown sublimely and reached a point on 1/19/2013 (The SAFE ACT) that some of us believe is a crisis. We tried to stop and reverse the situation. For practical purposes we have failed miserably. Cuomo and his henchmen secretly and quickly passed The SAFE ACT in a couple of days. It will have far reaching consequences very soon. Even most of our so called friends in the State Legislature have been ignoring us for almost four years now. Some of our worst fears will be falling into place in the coming months.
Like Churchill in 1940, will we have to take an “absolute stand for our homeland” (our Constitutional Rights) “knowing that utter defeat is possible”. Churchill and Great Britain, had a savior; the United States of America. Who do we have? We have the numbers: Four million strong. But, we don't seem to have the will, motivation, sense of urgency, or leadership. I thought SCOPE was that leadership but we seem to have fizzled out. After almost five years most of our numbers don't seem to know what is going on. Only last week I was talking to a very astute 78 year old friend, a gun owner, who didn't have a clue about the SAFE ACT and his need to re-certify. On top of that he never votes. What are we waiting for? Some people seem to think we are going to magically defeat Cuomo in November 2018 and elect a pro Constitutional Rights, pro gun Legislature. I don't think so! The Republican Party doesn't even have a candidate to challenge Cuomo. I doubt they will have candidates to primary all the RINO's in the Senate and Assembly. To add insult to injury even if they did, it will be very hard to reverse the impact of the results of the SAFE ACT being implemented between now and January 2019.
We cannot and should not accept defeat to a minority. Like Churchill warned, Our Government has grown totally unaccountable. We need a “Strategy For Commitment and Freedom”. Like it or not we have a war on our hands in this State. We need the “protection of the rights of We the People to control our Government”. We need it now and fast otherwise we will lose it forever. We desperately need someone to step forward and be a leader like Winston Churchill was. We need to unite, sit down, redefine our plan of action, mobilize, and make that plan work!
By Brad Fitzpatrick
Reprinted with permission from the NRA Family Magazine
When I brought my newborn daughter home from the hospital, my wife and I received a lot of advice, both solicited and unsolicited, on topics ranging from sleep cycles to feeding to treating diaper rash and colic. Most of the advice was thoughtful, and it helped me wade through those first few exhausting weeks of fatherhood. But one particular directive struck me: A woman that came by the house to give my daughter’s cheeks a squeeze, stuck a bent finger in my face, and said, “You need to do something about all those guns. Keep them locked up, at least.”
Admittedly, I know precious little about diaper rash or colic, but I know guns. And I could read between the lines when she said “keep them locked up, at least.” Translation: You really should get rid of your guns because you have a kid. I grew up in a house with guns. Maybe you did too. If guns were innately dangerous we wouldn’t have made it this far in life. But there are those that feel that all guns are dangerous, in large part because the only exposure they have to firearms comes via news outlets that paint all guns and gun owners with a broad, bloody brush.
There will come a day when my daughter will climb onto the school bus for the first time and step out into the big world. And I know too that she will make friends with kids whose parents don’t want their child hanging out with that gun writer. So, how do we handle those parents? How do we help them to understand that just because I own guns does not make me irresponsible?
Here are a few key points that you need to keep in mind when talking to parents who don’t want their child playing in a house with guns.
1. Find Common Ground: The parent who refuses to allow their child to come to a house with firearms doesn’t want their child to be hurt or killed. Guess what? I am a parent, I have guns, and I don’t want to see my child or anyone else’s hurt or killed, either. Guns are like automobiles, votes or gasoline and matches in that their use—good or bad—depends on the merit of the individual who controls them. Frankly, there are people with whom my daughter doesn’t ride in a car, not because cars are inherently bad, but because I don’t trust the driver.
2. Educate: The first key to dealing with a parent who is anti-gun is not to engage in a war of words but rather to explain to them that the myths perpetuated by anti-gun outlets are not true. Tell them that, as a gun owner and a parent, you are acutely aware of the fact that irresponsible gun handling can lead to injury, but help them understand that groups like the NSSF and NRA are working to help educate people about safe gun handling. There’s a widespread notion among anti-gun forces that groups like the NRA are somehow against gun safety, which could not be further from the truth. Tell these parents that gun groups are at the forefront of gun safety, leading the charge toward better security for firearms and gun education for all. Ask them if they’ve ever shot a gun and invite them to the range, or invite them to review NRA safety programs designed for kids, like Eddie Eagle.
3. Shoulder the Responsibility: I don’t know your kid. I don’t know if they’ve had any exposure to guns save the endless theatrical violence they witness in television and movies, but I’m certainly not going to allow my guns to reach your child’s hands. The responsibility of safe gun handling lies on the shoulders of gun owners, and we need to accept that responsibility. That’s a powerful message to advocates of strict gun control; I don’t believe that this responsibility lies with the government but rather with the individual, and to preserve that right I intend to take care to see that my guns are safe and secure. Parents ultimately have the right to allow their child to go or not go into anyone’s home. But it needs to be understood that if you don’t allow your child to come to my home for fear that there are guns then that is an attitude of ignorance, and it perpetuates the belief that all guns (and all gun owners) are bad.
By Harold Moskowitz
As I sit writing this, I am transfixed by the image of split logs being consumed by the flames in my stove. The radiating warmth sheds a feeling of protective safety from the sub-freezing world outside. Yet, if this moment of tranquility were to be suddenly shattered by a home invasion, my life would change forever. In New York State, you have a “duty to retreat” from impending violence. You must attempt retreat even into the sub-freezing temperature outside. You may use deadly force only if you are confronted by imminent lethal force and have no option for retreat. In any case, your use of lethal force can change your life forever. The responding law enforcement officer will likely place you under arrest. Your firearms will probably be confiscated. A District Attorney will ask the arresting officer if any provisions of the S.A.F.E. Act had been violated. A grand jury of total strangers would get to decide whether or not you will be indicted for murder in some degree.
One would like to think that the grand jury panelists would be unbiased but considering the divisive, polarized state of society today, that assumption might be unrealistic. True, it has been said that it is better to be “tried by twelve rather than to be carried by six.” However, your legal bills could cripple your economic well-being. The invader might have had a “rap sheet” as long as your arm, but the prosecution will portray him as a “family person” popular in his neighborhood. If he had been a young adult, it will be said that he would have become an outstanding college student athlete, scientist, pastor, … fill in the blank. It will likely be claimed that your actions cut short a young life filled with promise. This nightmare could happen at any time to any firearm owner exercising the right to home defense in our state. Were “defense” cartridges used? The prosecutor might suggest that you were just “itching” to see what type of damage to human flesh could be done by such rounds. Perhaps you only wounded the invader. Your problems are not prevented. Unlike some states, New York does not prohibit civil law suits arising from legitimate acts of self defense. The invader or, if deceased, his family will likely sue you. Was his spinal cord severed, leaving him an immobile paraplegic? You could be expected to pay, to some degree, for his huge medical bills and lifelong special needs requirements. Was an alleged promising career with high earning potential “destroyed” by your bullet? The jury might decide on a large monetary judgment against you with payments extending years into the future. Yes, one’s life can change in seconds.
How much time do we have for determining whether or not the use of lethal force is required for home or self-defense? Can one accurately assess in the dim light of night whether an intruder has a long knife or firearm? Is it a real gun or a replica? What if there were two invaders? Add to that tunnel vision which comes with the adrenaline rush. An anti-gun district attorney will probably not heavily weigh such mitigating factors when urging the grand jury for an indictment or a guilty verdict at trial. Clearly, the “rules of engagement” in our state are out of step with the needs of self-preservation in our unraveling civil society. Is there a solution to district attorneys who use their anti-gun bias to destroy your life or at least your Second Amendment right to own a firearm in the future?
Many residents are seriously contemplating resettling in other states to avoid the increasingly anti-gun bias of state officials. Unlike New York, forty-six states allow some use of the common law doctrine called the “Castle Doctrine.” It is a set of principles placed into laws allowing people to use “reasonable” force, including lethal force while inside the structure in which they regularly live. It allows for deadly force to be used as justifiable homicide when the home defender “reasonably” fears potentially lethal force or serious harm to himself or to another person. It may seem impossible at the moment. However, if the millions of state gun owners: Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, and Libertarians want to change the home-defense scenario described in this article, then things don’t have to remain this way forever. Pay attention to elections, especially those for district attorneys. Volunteer time to help pro-Second Amendment candidates. Donate to them and to SCOPE -PAC. Over time, politicians respond to large, active, dedicated interest groups. Miracles do happen!
A 2nd Amendment Defense
Organization, defending the
rights of New York State gun
owners to keep and bear arms!
PO Box 165East Aurora, NY 14052
SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.
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