• 07/13/2018 2:13 PM | Anonymous

    by Richard Rossi, Delaware County

    I am writing this on Election Day - eve. As Americans, we were able to go to the polls TODAY. We survived another year. Millions of American citizens exercised their right and privilege today. I hope you were one of these individuals. 

    I would like to briefly speak about "SITUATIONAL AWARNESS" and "PROFILING". The Webster's dictionary defines SITUATIONAL as "combination of circumstances at a given moment". AWARNESS is defined as "having knowledge or cognizance, vigilance". PROFILING is defined as "a representation of an object, person etc." 

    When you actually think about both these terms: Situational Awareness and Profiling, they are very similar. As an individual, you are arriving at an opinion based on your personal life experiences and the 'gut feeling' that comes over you based on current circumstances. We all have a natural instinct to self-preservation... 

    Our government preaches to all citizens in this day and age - "IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING"; however, on the other hand - they condemn profiling. Unfortunately, you can't have it both ways. 

    This  seems to be the mentality of many of our elected and appointed government officials. In the name of 'political correctness', they condemn individuals and groups for opinions based on 'life experiences and the situation at hand'. 

    This is being applied at all levels of our government; our immigration policies to our local police patrolling efforts. Then when situations happen, they are at a loss and can't see how this happened WITHOUT anyone being previously aware. This is the result of our dysfunctional politicians. 

    Unfortunately, just as an individual needs to use all his resources available (situational awareness) as he or she goes through their daily activities, our government needs to do the same. 

    Yes, it is a balance; an individual cannot be in a heightened (Condition RED) alert level 100% of the time. It is a balance of various degrees, as the surroundings dictate. One goes through various levels - GREEN, YELLOW and RED. However, one cannot be totally unaware - condition WHITE - all the time, day in day out - that will definitely result in disaster. 

    Looking at the 'GUN CONTROL' waive that has hit our country in light of the recent Las Vegas shooting and the past mass shooting all across this country over the past couple of years, plays right into this mentality. However, exactly what they are condemning they are condoning. - Profiling of Law Abiding gun owners, as criminals. I assume when you have preconceived biases and agenda's, nothing will prevent you from 'saying anything', to achieve your goals. 

    In New York State alone, we have anywhere from 3 to 5 million law abiding gun owners. Percentage wise, law abiding gun owner are more responsible individuals that the common citizen. CCW holders nationally are more responsible and commit less crime than our LEO's. Nationally, we have some 20,000 gun laws, regulations and statutes on the books. 

    Ironically, where do a large percentage of the mass shootings happen? - in Gun-Free Zones. 

    Even more ironic is the concept that banning a firearm WILL result in less crime. Criminals do not obey laws - that is why they are criminals. What rational reasoning is being used here - an 'OBJECT' is committing a crime. Only an individual can commit a crime. With reasoning like that, I would say our elected officials are completely lacking any situational awareness. They are living in 'Condition WHITE' - totally unaware of reality. However, even more ironic and disturbing, is when it comes to 'other activities' they (the Govt. officials) shift the blame to the individual rather than the object - THE VEHICLE. Take drunk driving, they rationally blame the driver, the same goes for speeding. 

    Based on their faulty logic as it is applied to FIREARMS, one would presume that they would want to make laws to impact the vehicle. We have the technology to prevent everyone from driving impaired. Every vehicle can be fitted with an engine ignition system that would prevent anyone from starting a vehicle IF they have a high level of blood alcohol - correct? 

    Furthermore, we also have technology to have all vehicles equipped with 'speed governors' to prevent speeding. We even have vehicles now equipped with 'crash-avoidance' technology to prevent crashes. For years, some trucking corporations have governors on their semitrailer trucks. 

    Where is the out-cry from the politicians and the media. If it saves one life it is worth it, is the cry from the antigun establishment. However, let me perfectly clear, I am NOT saying these measures are appropriate. We live in a Republic and our citizens have rights as defined in our Constitution/Bill of Rights. With FREEDOM comes compromises - you can't have it both ways. 

    We have seen that the latest terrorist weapon is trucks. Again “situational awareness” - CONDITION "WHITE". Our politicians and our national media have 'selective amnesia' when it comes to certain things or should I say an AGENDA. 

    It would be refreshing if our elected representatives would work together with an open mind. Focus their efforts on solving our problems that face the nation, by addressing the 'root causes' and taking action NOT based on political agendas or personal gain. As has been said, POWER CORRUPTS - at all levels. This is true in government as well as our corporate world. 

    We are a nation of political agendas and personal biases. Unfortunately, 'We The People' need to get our heads out of the sand. We need to take back our country, one elected office at a time. If we sit back, our Rights and Freedoms will be lost forever. 

    2018 will be a big year for New Yorkers - we will be electing a Governor and countless Representatives in Albany. Now is the time to unite with your fellow Patriots. It does not matter if we are Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, or Independents. We are all Americans first.... Our Rights and Freedoms are in the balance. God Bless America  

  • 07/13/2018 1:50 PM | Anonymous

    By Harold Moskowitz

    Until about 1925, few Americans questioned a person’s right to own a firearm for protection of life and property. In the eighteenth century, armed farmers helped win our independence. Firearms were essential for homestead defense against Native American attacks and wild animals in the nineteenth century. As the nation expanded westward, the Colt revolver became the “Great Equalizer” in mining camps and “cow towns.” Ranchers and farmers would not have agreed upon much except the usefulness of Henry and Winchester rifles. 

    However, America was changing. Power farm equipment replaced horses. There was much less need for ‘hired hands’ for harvesting. Millions of these now unemployed men and their families migrated to the cities where they joined the throngs of immigrant families. The dramatic increase in urban population gave cities increasing political power over rural areas. By 1910, census data indicated that a majority of the population lived in cities. 

    Rural people felt comfortable with firearms and knew how to handle them safely. In the densely populated ethnic neighborhoods of cities like New York, firearms were viewed as a dangerous menace. In the southern part of Manhattan, criminal street gangs used handguns to eliminate rival gang members and for extorting money from shopkeepers. In 1903, two rival gangs, the Eastmans and the Five Points Gang had a five-hour shootout. When police arrived, both gangs began firing at responding officers. 

    The firearms used by the criminal gangs were not illegal to possess but there was a ten dollar fine for carrying a concealed firearm in the city. State Senator Timothy Sullivan represented this part of the city and instinctively saw an advantage in proposing a gun control law in Albany. His “Sullivan Law” took effect in 1911. It made buying or selling a handgun a felony in the state unless the person had a license for the handgun. Licenses were required for state residents if a firearm was small enough to be concealed. Possession of an unlicensed firearm would be a misdemeanor but carrying the weapon became a felony. The law was a “may issue” statute. Police were given authority to decide whether or not a person would receive a concealed carry license. The jury is still out on whether or not Sullivan actually believed in gun control. 

    At the time, he was also the head of the New York City Democrat political machine “Tamany Hall.” For getting out the vote on Election Day, prepaid drinks were available at local saloons for those who voted “the right way.” Intimidation at the polls was also a useful method of guaranteeing votes. “Big Tim” Sullivan had a working relationship with the leaders of both the Eastmans and the Five Points criminal gangs. He is said to have also had his own “soldiers” for use on Election Day. Passage of his law would make it possible for his own men to be among the few who could legally carry firearms in the city. New York City historian George Lankevich has claimed that the law’s motivation was for Sullivan’s friends on the police force to plant handguns on his political rivals’ thugs and have them arrested. 

    The Sullivan Law was the start of gun control. In 1927, Congress ended mail order handgun sales. Due to a rash of bank robberies and Prohibition Era use of Thompson submachine guns by gangsters, Congress passed the Firearms Act of 1934. It regulated machine guns plus rifles and shotguns with shortened barrels. The Firearms Act of 1938 helped the states to enforce their own recently enacted gun control laws by requiring individuals and manufacturers to have a federal license for making, sending, receiving, or selling firearms. 

    Elected politicians since Timothy Sullivan have capitalized on gun-related violence for personal gain. They are aided and abetted by the news media. The spotlight needs to be on the real causes of violence in our society: the constant failure of urban elected officials to prosecute under existing laws those individuals who are killing and injuring others with illegally possessed handguns; the insufficient resources for treatment of people with mental health issues; the proliferation of movies, videogames and song lyrics which glorify violence while degrading the value of human life. 

    We need to express clearly to the younger generation why Second Amendment rights are important for all law-abiding people. Erosion of the Second Amendment is a civil rights issue and should be constantly portrayed as such whenever an opportunity presents itself. Finally, those whose ultimate goal is to end the individual right to keep and bear arms wait for the public emotion which follows each mass shooting. With perceived public support, they incrementally push forward with their agenda. Without a solid constitutionalist majority on the Supreme Court, we will likely have to deal with ongoing erosion of the Second Amendment. 

  • 07/13/2018 1:39 PM | Anonymous

    By Don Smith

    Recertification became a reality in the amended NY Penal Law as part (b) of Section 400.10: (b) All licensees shall be re-certified to the division of state police every five years thereafter. Any license issued before the effective date of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which added this paragraph shall be re-certified by the licensee on or before January thirty-first, two thousand eighteen, and not less than one year prior to such date, the state police shall send a notice to all license holders who have not recertified by such time. Such recertification shall be in a form as approved by the superintendent of state police, which shall request the license holder's name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, social security number, firearms possessed by such license holder, email address at the option of the license holder and an affirmation that such license holder is not prohibited from possessing firearms. The form may be in an electronic form if so designated by the superintendent of state police. Failure to re-certify shall act as a revocation of such license. If the New York State Police discover as a result of the recertification process that a licensee failed to provide a change of address, the New York State Police shall not require the licensing officer to revoke such license. 

    The State Police has provided the County Clerks Association with memos to update them on recertification over many months. These memos have been modified since changes to the various 'requirements' have occurred. One such change by the State Police was the decision not to issue a "recertification card to be carried with the permit at all times". Note this requirement was never in the statute. What other "requirements" are not in the statute? 

    These are some of the statements in the memos provided to the Clerks and then the facts according to the statute. Discuss them with your State Senator. 

    • "Recertification is a State Police function. The County Clerks do not have a role". Licensees are NOT recertified by the State Police. Licensees re-certify themselves by providing to the NYS Police (per the statute) "the license holder's name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, social security number, firearms possessed by such license holder, email address at the option of the license holder and an affirmation that such license holder is not prohibited from possessing firearms." 

    • “Any permit holder that does not have a valid NYS driver’s license or ID will be required to get one. This includes out of state residents that are permit holders.” In the first place, out of state residents are not eligible to receive a NY State ID and it is unlawful to have a NY State driver’s license and another state’s driver’s license at the same time. By this requirement, the  State Police is attempting to revoke the statute which does not require NY residency in order to be a permit holder. Moreover, no statutory provision requires a permit holder to have a valid NYS driver’s license or ID in order to be eligible to receive or to retain a permit. The Division of NY State Police does not have authority to impose requirements for the recertification of a permit holder or to repeal the law which allows nonresidents to have a NY State permit. Except pursuant to NY Penal Law §400.02 which relates to retired sworn members of the NYS Police, permits are denied, issued and revoked by local licensing officers, not by the NYS Police. Note also that there is case law that says a permit holder does not need to be a resident. They just need to have a verifiable address. Thus the snow birds who have Florida residency but still spend summers in NY can maintain their NY pistol permit. 

    • “Counties will be notified when recertification is approved.” Nothing in the statute confers upon the State Police the authority to approve or disapprove recertification. When the State Police receives the information it should notify the County Clerk that the licensee has re-certified, unless, after checking whatever data bases may be at its disposal, it discovers information that calls into question whether the licensee is precluded by law from possessing the license. If the State Police determine that such information exists, it should provide that information to the licensing officer who is the only one who has the statutory authority to issue, deny or revoke the license. 

    • "Recertification discrepancies must be corrected by amendment to license at the county level. Applicants will be instructed to do so." Note the continued use of the term “applicant” rather than “Licensee”. Licensees re-certifying their information are not applying for anything. The term “applicant” implies that the NYS Police have authority to grant or deny a right. It does not have that power. Only the licensing officer has that power. Similarly, the NYS Police have no authority to “instruct” licensees to do anything. It certainly can alert the licensee and the licensing officer of the “discrepancy” but it is then up to the licensing authority to take whatever action it may deem appropriate if the licensee fails to remedy the “discrepancy.” Note that the State Police are attempting to place themselves in the position of the licensing authority.

    • “If the applicant re-certifies by mail, they will receive a return receipt with a tracking number.” The licensee is not an “applicant”, but note that this acknowledges that the licensee is re-certifying, not that the NYS Police is re-certifying the applicant. 

    • “The recertification application is just like a pistol permit application without the references. The applicant is required to list all arrests, drug or alcohol treatment, mental illness, or family court petition or charge.” Again, licensees are not applicants. They are licensees, and the statute only requires the licensee to provide the licensee’s name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, SS#, and firearms possessed together with an affirmation that the licensee in not prohibited from possessing firearms. The State Police are not authorized to rewrite laws. 

    • "There are four steps to the recertification process: (a) Submission of application (b) Acceptance of application (c) Review/return for correction (d) Approval / Revocation." (a) Licensees are not submitting applications, they are submitting certifications. (b) and (c) If a certification is illegible, on the wrong form, incomplete, or received from a nonlicensee refusing to accept it and returning it for correction makes sense, but only for those reasons. (d) The NYS Police do not “approve” the recertification and it certainly has no authority to revoke a license. 

    • "If the applicant is negative on the data base checks, “the application is approved." Again, the licensee is not an “applicant” and the NYS Police do not “approve” anything. If the data base check is negative, proof of recertification should be issued. 

    • “Positives will be referred to the licensing officer for revocation or clarification.” The NYS Police have no authority to instruct the licensing officers how to discharge their statutory duties. As noted above, if the NYS Police uncover information that calls into question the licensee’s right to continued possession of the license, it is up to the licensing officer to determine the proper course of conduct. 

    • “If the NYS Police determine that it cannot re-certify the permit, the recertification is sent to the licensing officer." The NYS Police do not recertify the permit. The licensee recertifies. 

    • “According to the State Police Lieutenant addressing the County Clerks, the object of the recertification process is to create a “pristine” data base that any law enforcement official would be able to access at any time with real time information.” What is a “pristine” data base? I thought that the object of the recertification process was to make NY Safe by assuring that people who have the subject licenses are not under a statutory disability that would prohibit them from retaining the rights granted to us by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. 

    • “The Lieutenant stated that the pistol permit data would be linked to the DMV data base and an officer would know that a pulled over vehicle was owned by a pistol permit holder.” Is that because there has been an epidemic in NY of shootings of police officers during traffic stops by holders of pistol permits? I doubt that has EVER happened, and if it has, that it has not happened more than once or twice since the Sullivan Law went into effect a little more than 103 years ago. Does this mean that when permit holders are stopped for routine traffic offenses we will be frisked and our firearms taken from us “for our own protection” during the encounter. If that occurs will the officer remove the magazine to make certain that it is not holding more than 10 rounds? Will our permits be demanded so that the officer can make sure that the handgun is registered on our permit? Is that information provided to out of state police officers who may stop a permit holder for a minor traffic infraction while traveling outside of NY State? 

    • “Indicating a pistol permit on the face of a driver’s license is not a decision that has been made yet." OMG!! Really? On the face of the driver’s license? Talk about invasion of privacy. The statute provides that we may opt out of making that information a matter of public record, yet if it is decided to put it on our driver’s license, pistol permit holders will be forced to disclose that very private piece of information to the cashiers at Wal-Mart and any number of other retail outlets, such as Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc. etc., and other places as well, when making returns, applying for credit, cashing a check, receiving medical care, and so on. When the record of the permit is made, do we then become targets for burglaries? Besides, many of us have already completed an "Opt-Out form, Why does the recertification form deal with this issue? If we are out of state when a traffic infraction occurs, will the local police want to search us and our vehicles to see if we are illegally in possession of a firearm in their jurisdiction? What happens if we decline to permit the search of our vehicles? Is the result hours by the side of the road while the gun, bomb, and drug sniffing dogs are brought in, or worse? Is there no end to New York’s harassment of her citizens who choose to exercise their Constitutional right to protect themselves, and their families? 

    • “There was a Power Point for the presentation but the Lieutenant said it would not be released to the clerk’s.” Why not? What is it about the proposed process that needs to be kept secret from the public. Secrecy is what permitted the NY SAFE travesty to be enacted in the first place. Is the next round by the State Police Gov. Cuomo’s emulation of President Obama’s decision to ignore Congress and rule by administrative action? This begs for a demand under the State's Freedom of Information Act. What is in that Power Point?" 

  • 06/04/2018 3:22 PM | Anonymous

    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…”.  

  • 05/31/2018 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    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. 

  • 05/07/2018 11:09 AM | Anonymous

    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. 

  • 05/07/2018 10:49 AM | Anonymous

    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! 

  • 05/07/2018 10:45 AM | Anonymous

     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.

  • 05/07/2018 10:33 AM | Anonymous

     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.  

  • 05/07/2018 10:29 AM | Anonymous

    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 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. 

A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

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