SCOPE Targets Voting

MAYVILLE-Members of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, or SCOPE, and its respective Chautauqua County chapter held an education forum Tuesday to inform local gun owners of the New York SAFE Act and how best to counter its effects.

The forum-held at the VFW Post 8647 building in Mayville-brought together a hodge-podge of county officials, activists and gun enthusiasts, all of whom rallied against the so-called “hacking away” of liberty manifested in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping gun control law.

“Almost all of the (provisions) in the SAFE Act affect law-abiding, peaceful citizens and have no effect on crimes,” said Stephen Aldstadt, president of SCOPE. “This law criminalizes guns that are not used in crimes owned by people who are not criminals.”

The SAFE Act, or Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, was signed into law in January 2013. According to Cuomo, the law is intended to stop criminals and potentially dangerous mentally ill individuals from buying a gun by imposing universal background checks on gun purchases and a stringent assault weapons ban.

Members of SCOPE believe the law is fundamentally misguided, conceived out of ignorance and driven by overblown media perceptions and emotional impulsiveness.

“People who have no idea about guns have no business making laws about guns,” Aldstadt said. “(I would tell the public) to get educated. Even though gun ownership has increased in the past decade, the crime rate has gone down.”

Speakers were abound in heated rhetoric, accusing Cuomo and President Obama of being “dictators,” “bullies,” and putting the country’s freedom at stake. As one speaker put it, the country must begin an “intellectual revolution” against a government that is desperately trying to turn the people into submissive pets.

According to SCOPE, only 4.5 million out of 19 million New York residents voted in 2010 in the gubernatorial election. There are at least 6 million gun owners in New York.

Aldstadt encouraged attendees to register to vote and identify which candidates voted for or against the SAFE Act.

“We’re not partisan,” Aldstadt said. “We’re encouraging people to get educated on individual candidates and vote for those candidates who support rights.”