CONCORD, N.Y. (WIVB) – Gun rights advocates are planning a protest against the SAFE Act that they are calling the “Shot Heard Around New York State.”
At noon on Saturday, you may hear guns going off, especially if you live in a rural area of Western New York. Plans for the protest took shape in the Town of Concord at the Springville Field and Stream Club.
Member Kevin Ploetz said, “April 19th, 1775, Lexington and Concord was the ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World,’ and while sitting in a treestand, I thought, ‘You know, we’re in the Town of Concord.’”
Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the passage of the SAFE Act. The idea to fire a shot at noon as a symbolic protest caught on with clubs across the state through the club’s Facebook page.
Member Jason Engel said, “To date we’ve had 20,000 people click on the event page itself. We’re anticipating that there will be over 150,000 people in New York State participating.”
Those in favor of the gun law tout how it strengthens rules regarding the purchase of firearms. In its first year, 1,000 people who would have faced only a misdemeanor gun charge, now face felony charges.
Club president Dick Kazmark said, “By all means, we are not against the entire document at all. What we are against is those sections that affect law abiding citzens. It was done in the middle of the night, didn’t even give people a chance to read it.”
“What we’re trying to do is get people in their own backyards, at their hunting lodges, somewhere where it’s safe and legal, so that the shot will carry throughout the whole state,” Poentz added.
And Kazmark said, “Let’s say you don’t own a gun. There are a lot of pro-Second Amendment people who don’t own a gun. We’re asking them to go out to their car at noon, blow the horn.”
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard tells News 4 he will take part in this protest. State Police wouldn’t comment directly about the protest, other than to remind gun owners to handle weapons in a safe manner within the confines of the law.