Protest to Save Second Amendment Rights

By Kelly McCarthy

February 9, 2013 Updated Feb 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM EDT

Norwich, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Nearly 100 people gathered in the bitter cold to protest New York State's SAFE ACT.

They came exercising their First Amendment rights, rallying to protect the Second Amendment.

"A piece of that constitution says they have a right to bear arms. They have a right to own a firearm, and they don't want that taken away," said Assemblyman Clifford Crouch (R-122nd).

The bitter wind didn't stop groups from gathering at East Park in Norwich.

They all came with a sign and a desire to be heard.

"Freedom of speech. This is the only way we can let our lawmakers know how we don't like what's going on," said Louis Robles, of Mt. Upton.

Speakers took turns at the podium, sharing their thoughts on the legislation that was approved and signed into law quickly last month.

"I think a lot of people feel threatened, I think a lot of people feel like they are a criminal now," said John Ballard, of Norwich.

Chants to repeal the SAFE Act rang through the town square.

"It really does nothing to stop the criminals from obtaining weapons, from mentally ill individuals from obtaining weapons, all it does is restrict me," Robles said.

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association is leading a lawsuit against New York State to overturn the SAFE Act.

The signs here suggest protests will not stop until something is done.

"Continuing lobby, continuing pressure on both the state and national level to stop this effort from moving forward," said Bradd Vickers, a recruiter for the National Rifle Association and president of the Chenango County Farm Bureau.

"It's just wrong, It's wrong," Crouch said. "It's really just a piece of garbage that's infringing on a lot of people's rights."

The lawsuit filed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association says the SAFE Act violates the constitutional right to bear arms.

Those suing aren't seeking monetary damages. Rather, they're asking a judge to grant an injunction that would overturn the law.

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