Fulton County Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey was heralded as a celebrity Wednesday night at the Guan Ho Ha Fish and Game Club in Glenville.
In full uniform, including his sidearm and wide brimmed hat, he addressed more than 200 people who had gathered for the Mohawk Valley Freedom Rally, a protest against the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act and a fundraiser for a legal battle to have the law tossed out. Lorey was well-known among the crowd for his vocal opposition to the law, which included joining the legal fight.
"I don't care how many rounds you have in your magazine," he said, referring to the law's requirement that a maximum of seven rounds be loaded into a detachable magazine, even if it could hold 10. The comment got applause and laughter from the crowd.
Speaking about sheriffs from all over the state opposing the NY SAFE Act, Lorey said, "We know what's good. We know what's bad. We know the SAFE Act is bad."
Schenectady resident Dave Rose said he was encouraged by the size of the crowd. As a veteran, he said it was his job to protect the constitution, which he felt was being trampled on by the NY SAFE Act.
"I came out for support of the second amendment rights," he said.
As a sport shooter, sportsman and competitive shooter, Rose said the NY SAFE Act has creeped into every corner of his life.
The widespread reach of the law was also highlighted by remarks to the crowd from former Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam.
"We were once law-abiding citizens," he said. "Now we're all probably a bunch of [law breakers]."
Other public speakers included state Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose, and Schenectady County Legislator Jim Buhrmaster, R-Glenville.
Buhrmaster and Farley both noted the Schenectady County Legislature was in the small minority of county governments that didn't call for the repeal of the NY SAFE Act. Pat Aragosa, a member of the club, responded by saying those in attendance need to vote in new county leaders this fall.
"Our strength is our numbers at the voting booths. ... Our vote makes a difference," he said.
Aragosa noted Republican Alan Boulant, a sponsor of a raffle item, was the type of person who should be on the Schenectady County Legislature. Boulant is running to represent Glenville in the county Legislature.
The speakers ended with New York State Rifle & Pistol Association President Thomas King providing an update on his group's attempt to throw out the NY SAFE Act through the legal system, which he said was much more likely than a repeal through the state Legislature. He predicted the case would begin to pick up steam in June and arguments could be made in August.
King was presented at the end of the evening with an oversized prop check for $5,000 to help pay for the legal battle. The funds were raised by raffling off items, including three handguns.