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Anti-NY SAFE Act rally set next week in Lowville

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LOWVILLE — A grass-roots organization opposing the state’s controversial gun law will hold a rally here next week.

“We’re not going to go away,” said Patrick J. Morse, New Bremen, founder of the North Country Friends of the 2nd Amendment and rally organizer.

The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act opposition rally is slated for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 15 at the Lewis County Fairgrounds off Bostwick Street.

“I’ve been told that grandstand will hold 2,500 people, and we want to fill it,” Mr. Morse said.

He added that support for the group’s effort and rally has been “overwhelming,” with people and businesses donating some money and supplies to the cause.

The program will include a Veterans of Foreign Wars color guard and flag-raising, a discussion of the group and numerous other presenters, including motivational speakers, state and local officials, law enforcement representatives and military veterans.

An informational booth will be set up with pamphlets on details of the NY SAFE Act, including classifications of weapons deemed illegal under the legislation, and voter registration forms.

“Mostly what we’re going to ask for is people to vote,” Mr. Morse said. “People have to realize that their votes count.”

A primary focus of the local group and like-minded organizations throughout the state will be to attempt in next year’s election to oust state lawmakers who voted for the legislation and possibly even those who voted against it in January but have not been vocal opponents since then, he said.

Five different lawsuits have been filed to challenge the state law’s constitutionality, and “we’re hoping those will really move forward,” Mr. Morse said.

The stated purpose of the group is to “form an alliance of like-minded individuals who cherish their individual and collective rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution, most specifically those rights granted under the Second Amendment.” Goals are to fight the NY SAFE Act and “maintain a steady vigilance” on any similar laws that may be forthcoming.

Critics of the state law have been particularly upset at its rapid passage with little public debate and no public hearings.

Mr. Morse said he encourages people to make the rally a family event and to come even if they are not gun owners to show their support for maintaining rights and freedoms.

“What is the next thing they’re going to change in the middle of the night?” he said.

Mr. Morse said his group plans to continue to stay visible by marching in parades and having booths at events, such as the Lewis County Fair and Lowville Cream Cheese Festival.

Anyone seeking more information on the group or the rally can call Mr. Morse at 317-4380 or visit the group’s website, www.NCF2A.com.

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