On the first semi-warm day of the year, a small band of activists gathered on the third floor landing of the Capitol Building’s ‘Million Dollar Staircase’ to voice their support for the state’s year-old SAFE Act and call for more measures to reduce gun violence.
The coalitions, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and State Legislators Against Illegal Guns stood solemnly and stoically as they shared their concerns and requests.
They touted the popularity of the law’s provisions including background checks on gun purchases and the ban on certain high powered rifles and magazines with high capacity ammunition. But it was the emotional testimonies from mothers who lost their children to gun violence that were front and center at the event.
Throughout the rally, participants consistently looked up as if they were talking, and in some cases pleading with a broader audience than those assembled.
The pro-SAFE Act rally was held just a half-an-hour before 2nd Amendment supporters held a separate rally calling for the law to be repealed. A few anti-SAFE Act activists stood on the stairwell opposite New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, holding pro-NRA and Repeal the SAFE Act signs.
There were moments during the rally where the two sides seemed to be engaged in more of a standoff than anything else.
Despite the distractions, the SAFE Act supporters laid out their legislative priorities for the coming year.
- Child Access Prevention, requiring safer gun storage requirements and trigger locks
- Micro-stamping, a required feature that would imprint a code onto the shell case of every gun in the state
- A Purchasing Limit of one gun a month and a 10-Day Waiting Period
- Removal of firearms from domestic violence disputes
- Ban on 50-Caliber military-style sniper rifles
Opponents of the SAFE Act vow to continue working to repeal the law they say was unfairly passed in the middle of the night with no warning.
Speaking at the rally in support of the repeal; real estate mogul Donald Trump and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.