Niagara Gazette — Yvette Forehand, holding a photograph of her 23-year-old son, Rory, who was shot dead in East Harlem in 2007 after a friend's party, said that he had just graduated from college and passed the fire department exam and that his fiancee was pregnant. "I want to see a change. Since my son's murder, it seems like it has been endless with the gun violence and the massive scale."
Cuomo cited the December killings of 20 first-graders and six educators at a Connecticut elementary school as one of his motivations for pushing the gun control legislation. Authorities have said the troubled 20-year-old shooter used a semi-automatic rifle and had large detachable magazines. Those rifles are illegal under New York's law if they have one military-style feature such as a pistol grip, flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The law calls for registration of formerly legal guns like the popular AR-15 now classified as an illegal assault weapon that can't be bought or sold in New York.
"We will not comply!" outdoor demonstrators chanted. Several held flags that said, "Don't tread on me." One placard showed an AR-15 and called it "Modern Musket."
Jeff Senecal, 42, who runs his own plumbing and heating business in nearby Duanesburg, attended the rally with his teenage daughters and 10-year-old son. He said many Americans are uninformed about their constitutional rights.
"If we don't learn the lessons of history, we're doomed to repeat them," he said. "I am extremely aware and extremely concerned about where we're heading as a country, where we're running into — I call it incrementalism — where they just keep taking little bits of freedom away from me at a time."
Social and economic conditions underlie the problems of violent crime, and personal responsibility needs to be taught to children at a young age to address those, Senecal said.