NRA's NY Branch Nearly Doubles Membership in Wake of New Gun Law

Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 07:55 PM

By Cathy Burke

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New York state's affiliate of the National Rifle Association nearly doubled its membership after passage of Gov. Cuomo's gun control law, catapulting it to the largest state chapter in the nation.

"Membership growth over the past year has pushed [the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association] into the top spot over the Texas State Rifle Association and California Rifle & Pistol Association," the chapter announced Monday on its website.

"This just goes to show how much mainstream support 2nd Amendment civil rights have in New York State," chapter president Tom King said in a statement.

The NRA affiliate's membership rose from 22,000 to 41,000 since the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act was approved in January 2013, King told the Buffalo News.

Membership, he added, "has grown exponentially faster than it ever has before, and it can only be attributed to the SAFE Act."

"I think it sends a message to all the anti-gun politicians, all the politicians sitting on the fence, that yes, if they thought that we were quiet and this was going to go away without anyone paying any more attention to it, they were just flat-out wrong," King told the newspaper.

According to its official website, the NY SAFE Act "stops criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, increases penalties for people who use illegal guns, mandates life in prison without parole for anyone who murders a first responder, and imposes the toughest assault weapons ban in the country."

Since passage, not only has membership grown: King said the chapter has collected $200,000 in donations to help fund its legal challenge to the gun-control law proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

King said he thought the growth in membership is members' way of saying "'We’re here, we’re growing, and we’re not going to give up on this fight.'"

"And if I were some of these New York State Republican senators who voted for this and haven’t done anything about it since, I’d be worried because there’s a lot of angst out there, and it’s all pointed at them," King warned.

Cuomo triggered a storm of controversy after proclaiming on his Jan. 17 radio show about conservatives, as opposed to establishment Republicans, "Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Former New York Gov. George Pataki told Newsmax on Monday he is critical of the remarks as they have the potential to scare away business owners and the financial industry.

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