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Bikers and patriots protest NY SAFE Act at Bike Week rally

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Gun-rights groups gathered today in Warrensburg for the Bikers and Patriots for the 2nd Amendment rally. The event, organized by the Warren County chapter of New York Revolution, was hosted by Alexander Funeral Home. The event featured a slate of speakers that condemned New York’s SAFE Act — the gun control legislation that was signed into law by Andrew Cuomo January 2013.

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A crowd of over 100, many on motorcycles, attended the rally, which served to educate and unite voters. The rally comes at the end of “Bike Week,” when tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiast are in the region for the Americade motorcycle rally. A pig roast and gun raffle raised funds to benefit the NY State Rifle and Pistol Association Legal Defense Fund, Shooters Committee on Political Education Defense Fund, and the NY2A Grassroots Coalition.

Speakers included candidates for New York’s 21st Congressional District seat Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny. Radio personality Melody Burns and activist Robert Schultz also spoke at the event. The over-arching theme was the necessity of citizens to use their vote to defend the constitution and protect their constitutional rights. Green t-shirts, balloons and banners emblazoned with “Cuomo’s Gotta Go!” proliferated at the rally. Governor Cuomo is up for reelection this November.

Robert Schultz, founder and chairman of We the People of New York, spoke at length about the need for citizens to familiarize themselves with the New York State Constitution and call out the politicians that violate its provisions. Schultz filed suit against Governor Cuomo claiming the SAFE Act was illegally fast-tracked through the legislature, and the law violated the state and federal constitutions. In April, State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara upheld the law. Schultz announced today that the case has just reached the N.Y. State Court of Appeals. Schultz expects this court to strike down the law.

“Article 12 of our New York State Constitution is known as the Defense Article. It has two sentences. The first sentence, and I’m quoting, says, ‘The defense of this state, and of the nation, is the obligation of every person in the state.’ In other words, we all belong to a state militia. It is our obligation to defend the state and the country. Our constitution requires it.” — Robert Schultz, We the People of New York

Warrensburg residents Scott and Michelle Bedell attended the rally. Michelle sees the SAFE Act as unnecessary, saying “They aren’t enforcing existing laws. We don’t need the SAFE Act.” Her husband agreed, likening the gun control law to prohibition, “That didn’t work either.”

The Bedells own guns for which they had obtained permits. One provision of the SAFE Act requires that these permits be re-certified every five years. The Bedells see this as an unnecessary provision that serves only to fill state coffers. Living in a low-crime area, the Bedells say self-defense is not their primary reason for owning guns. Shooting, for them, is recreation — Scott is a former competitive shooter and he hunts. “It’s what I like to do. Some people like to golf.”

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