Albany, N.Y. - Defend the Second Amendment Constitutional freedoms of all law-abiding New Yorkers -- and protect their right to always enjoy New York's great outdoors!
That was the message delivered by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) and the Assembly Minority Sportsmen Caucus today as they hosted the third annual "Sportsmen's Day" celebration in the Legislative Office Building in Albany. The event featured a keynote speech from Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President & CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the importance of ensuring the Second Amendment Constitutional Freedoms of all law-abiding New Yorkers.
Leader Kolb and LaPierre were joined by event co-sponsor Tom King, President of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA), industry leaders and thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from across the state for this FREE event, which was open to the public.
"One of the themes of Sportsmen's Day 2012 is 'your rights are in their sights,' which is a reminder to never take our Second Amendment freedoms for granted. This year's event took place against the backdrop of a massive new push by politicians in Albany and New York City to restrict our Second Amendment rights. Preserving, protecting and defending the Second Amendment Constitutional freedoms of all law-abiding New Yorkers is more important than ever, given the continued onslaught of costly and unnecessary Albany rules and regulations," said Kolb, who recently introduced legislation in support of law-abiding gun owners. "The Second Amendment is not a suggestion -- it is a Constitutionally guaranteed protection and America's first freedom, just as important as our freedom of speech and freedom of religion."
"Our Second Amendment is the core principle that defines our nation. There is no greater freedom than to own a firearm to protect ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation," said LaPierre. "Thus, Second Amendment freedom is, truly, the heart and soul of America. And, it is all at stake this year. This is a fight for our values and for the freedom we believe in. It's all or nothing and gun owners, everywhere, from Albany to Seattle, and from Anchorage to Miami are signing on. The fight is on and the NRA is ALL IN!"
Sportsmen's Day (a.k.a., "Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day") is the premiere event in Albany for New York's outdoor sports enthusiasts. Held annually, the free event gives sportsmen and women the opportunity to talk to their legislators, network with fellow enthusiasts and hear inspirational speeches from nationally-renowned Second Amendment advocates and top heritage sports personalities.
"The Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers are under a continued and sustained assault by liberal politicians who treat the Constitution like an afterthought. Our Founding Fathers made it perfectly clear: Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. Period. There is absolutely zero ambiguity in the words 'shall not be infringed.' Albany's ongoing attempts to make microstamping the law of the land and the need for a real reciprocity law that protects lawful gun owners visiting New York from other states were front and center at this year's Sportsmen's Day event. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and our thousands of members were proud to once again partner with Leader Kolb and sponsor Sportsmen's Day," King said.
The Sportsmen's Day formal program also included remarks from King, Stephen Aldstadt, President of the Shooters Committee on Political Education (S.C.O.P.E.) and Dr. Larry Rudolph, Chief Communications Officer for Safari Club International, Inc. Hunters, sportsmen and outdoor recreation enthusiasts from around the state had an opportunity to interact with over 20 heritage sports organizations and companies and attend educational presentations by New York State 4H Shooting Sports and the New York State Conservation Fund Advisory Board.
"I am proud to be a sportsman and outdoor enthusiast, and I work hard in Albany to preserve and protect YOUR right to bear arms," said Kolb. "I have recently introduced legislation (A.9086) that will provide reciprocity to nonresident licensed gun owners in New York State. This measure would allow tourists to bring their legal guns with them as they travel in or through our state - protecting law-abiding visitors from overzealous prosecution. I am also leading the fight to stop the economically damaging, feel-good push for microstamping in Albany. Let me be clear, microstamping will not keep New Yorkers safe from criminals. What it will do is waste taxpayer dollars and leave New Yorkers with a false sense of security."
Additional legislation that would foster and encourage heritage sports in New York State includes measures to:
Permit fishing guides and charter boat captains licensed by the State Department of Environmental Conservation to issue fishing licenses (A.5104);
Require the Superintendent of Insurance to conduct a study regarding the feasibility of developing and implementing landowner liability reform, opening more lands for hunting, fishing, ATV and snowmobile activities (A.6702); and
Require the DMV to conduct a study examining the economic impact associated with statewide trail development and provide accurate information about the positive impact such trails would have on local economies (A.3924).
"Right now, there are four states that require no license for a citizen to carry a sidearm for self protection. Twelve more have pending legislation to allow for unrestricted concealed carry. But here, New York State is arresting honest citizens who volunteer to check their guns with the police in a legitimate and sincere attempt to comply with the law, and charging them as felons! New York's draconian gun control laws must be changed," said Aldstadt. "New York's gun owners and sportsmen are under siege. I am honored to join all those who care about our Constitutional Freedom at this event."
Vendors showcasing their products and services at Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day included the NRA, NYSRPA, S.C.O.P.E., New York State 4H Shooting Sports, Conservation Alliance of New York (CANY), Capital District Fly Fishers, Greene County Federation of Sportsmen, Harvest Sun Charters, Hudson River Trading Company, Just Right Carbines, New York Houndsmen Conservation Association, North Country ATV, NY Bowhunters, NY Crossbow Coalition, New York State Conservation Council, New York State Trappers Association/Eastern Adirondack Trappers, New York State Outdoor Writers Association, Inc., Quality Deer Management Association, Remington Arms, Safari Club International, Inc., Sporting Dogs Trainers' Alliance, Sportsmen's Association for Firearms Education, Inc., Springville Field and Stream Club, Taylor and Vadney Sporting Goods, The Federated Sportsmen's Clubs of Ulster County, Voorheesville Rod & Gun Club and West Albany Rod & Gun Club, among others.
"It is essential for sportsmen to form partnerships and work together to maintain our constitutional freedoms and preserve our hunting heritage," said Rudolph. "The Safari Club is proud to partner with organizations such as the National Rifle Association, and political leaders like Leader Kolb to advocate for our rights and traditions."
"Sportsmen's Day is the opportunity for us to speak in defense of the Second Amendment, the noble traditions of hunting and fishing and the importance of ensuring all New Yorkers can always enjoy the Empire State's great outdoors. I would like to thank everyone that joined us today to help send a powerful message that the Second Amendment is America's first freedom that will not be infringed upon by Albany politicians," Leader Kolb concluded.
Leader Kolb is a proud member of the NRA, NYSRPA and S.C.O.P.E. and has been continually recognized by pro-Second Amendment organizations for his advocacy of the right to keep and bear arms.