Second Amendment and gun-rights activists loudly objected to New York’s legislative mandate that they register all “assault weapons” by Tuesday.
“Nobody is going to comply with this,” Tim Swedenhjelm told the Buffalo News of the looming SAFE Act provision deadline. “We don’t call them ‘assault rifles’ because they’re not ‘assault rifles.’ Assault rifles are automatic weapons. These are not automatic weapons. When I hear politicians call them assault rifles, you know they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard told the News that he would not require his deputies to enforce the requirement.
“I am not encouraging them to do it,” he said. “At the same time, their own consciences should be their guide.”
“There’s a lot of hyperbole and misinformation floating around,” New Yorkers Against Gun Violence’s executive director, Leah Gunn Barrett, stated. “People who owned these weapons before Jan. 15, 2013, can keep them. All they need to do is register them. It is painless, easy and costs nothing.”
But gun-rights proponents scoffed at such reasoning.
“We believe the law is not just, it is not the government’s business,” said Lisa Donovan, spokeswoman for NY2A, or the New York 2nd Amendment Coalition. “Registration is confiscation.”
Plenty of others agree.
“They have been shredding the Constitution for years,” said tea party activist Rus Thompson, who led a rally of about 70 protesters in front of Buffalo’s Mahoney State Office Building.