Gun owners rally for rights

ALBANY – Thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully Saturday at state capitals around the U.S. to rally against stricter limits on firearms, with demonstrators carrying rifles and pistols in some places and many waving hand-scrawled signs or screaming themselves hoarse.

The size of crowds at each location varied – from dozens of people in South Dakota to 2,000 in New York.

Days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the nation’s toughest gun restrictions, gun owners and Second Amendment activists gathered at the state Capitol in Albany.

People carrying American flags, banners reading “Don’t tread on me” or “Impeach Cuomo” signs, turned out for the chilly outdoor rally.

Others honked car horns as they drove by, and the crowd chanted “We the people,” “USA” and “freedom.”

Among the speakers in Albany was Gloversville Mayor Dayton King, who gained attention in the Capital Region media this week when he responded to the state’s new limits by saying his city’s police would not take citizens’ guns away.

King questioned the practicality of the law’s provision limiting magazines to seven rounds -?three fewer than the national standard.

“How are we going to enforce this?” King said in his remarks to the Albany crowd, which can be heard on video posted on the mayor’s Facebook page.

“The state Legislature and our governor turned law-abiding citizens into criminals overnight,” he said, prompting cheers from the audience.

Activists promoted the rallies in state capitals nationwide primarily via social media. They were held days after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of gun-control proposals in response to the Connecticut elementary school massacre last month.

New York’s law, enacted with little public debate, expanded the state’s assault-weapon ban and instituted background checks for buying ammunition. It passed with broad support in the Legislature, but some lawmakers who opposed it vowed at Saturday’s rally that they would keep fighting.

“This battle is not over. It has just begun,” Republican Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin said.

By -