Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) and his colleagues today joined National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and outdoor enthusiasts from across the state at the first annual Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day in Albany.
“Our Assembly Minority Conference and I recognize that the honorable traditions of hunting, fishing and enjoying New York’s great outdoors are deeply rooted in our state and are proudly passed down from generation to generation,” said Kolb, a member of the NRA, the Shooters’ Committee on Political Education (SCOPE) and Safari Club International. “These activities also have a significant, positive impact on our state’s fiscal health. Today’s Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day is highlighting the positive role of outdoor activities in the lives of New York’s residents and our economy and providing hunters, sportsmen and outdoor recreation enthusiasts from around the state with a chance to have their say about the legislative issues affecting them.”
LaPierre urged lawmakers to stand up for the rights of law-abiding gun owners while putting the full weight of the law on criminals. He urged Attorney General Eric Holder "to prosecute armed felons 100% of the time! Then make them serve the time!" LaPierre also said, “When dishonest politicians try to disarm good people while letting criminals run the streets - and when the media support them by letting their lies stand as the truth - that is truly the worst of both worlds."
Other honored guests included Tom King, President of the NYS Rifle and Pistol Association, Ken Mathison, President of SCOPE, Larry Rudolph, President of the Safari Club International, and James A. Rabbia, Plant Manager for Remington Arms.
“Wayne LaPierre’s Albany address, at the Legislative Office building, to the thousands in attendance on behalf of the millions of gun owners and hunters of New York State is a benchmark event that will not soon be forgotten,” said King. “The time has come for the millions of law abiding gun owners of this state to hear the truth, be aware of their supporters and recognize their opponents. Those in attendance will remember the issues and leave with a determination to meet the challenges ahead and support those people who support them.”
“Heritage” tourism is big business in the Empire State, because New York is home to first-rate outdoor recreational opportunities. In fact, hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation contribute more than $1 billion to New York State’s economy every year. With more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 50,000 miles of rivers and streams and hundreds of miles of coastline, there are abundant opportunities for world-class fishing for a wide variety of cold water, warm water and saltwater fish species. Boaters can also explore these bodies of water via canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft, sailboats and motorboats. As winter approaches, New Yorkers regularly take advantage of the over 8,000 miles of State Snowmobile Trail System trails.
Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day participants were given an opportunity to network with other outdoor enthusiasts from across the state and meet with legislators to discuss the role of heritage sports and other outdoor activities in the lives of New York’s residents and in our economy.
According to the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), hunting is among the most popular forms of wildlife recreation in New York. Nearly 700,000 New Yorkers and over 50,000 nonresidents hunt in the Empire State. Revenues generated from hunting directly support wildlife conservation programs and provide substantial economic benefits to New York retailers and the tourism industry.
Outdoor sports organizations featured at today’s event included New York Bowhunters; Springville Field and Stream Club; Deer Search Inc.; Suffolk Alliance of Sportsmen; NYS Conservation Council; Whitetails Unlimited; NYS Trappers Association; West Albany Rod and Gun Club; Deer and Elks Association; Quality Deer Management Association; Mid-Hudson Valley Fur Harvesters; Sullivan County Longbeards; 4-H; Sporting Dog Trainers Alliance; North Country ATV Association; Capital District Fly Fishers; Greene County Federation of Sportsmen; Sportsman's Alliance for Firearms Education; and New York Houndsmen Conservation Association.