Trump, Paladino and Astorino Speak At Anti-Safe Act Rally
By Kyle Hughes
ALBANY, N.Y. (April 1) – Donald Trump, Rob Astorino and thousands of pro-Second Amendment, anti-SAFE Act demonstrators rallied outside the Capitol Tuesday against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun control law.
“You’re getting beaten up by either incompetent or very, very stupid politicians,” Trump said in a short speech before offering onlookers the sight of a Capitol flyover in his personal helicopter with “TRUMP” emblazoned on the side.
“I have a pistol permit,” Trump declared. “I live in Manhattan and a lot of people don’t know that. But, you know, if I ever have a problem I’ll at least have a good shot at it.”
“I wanted to be here to support you,” Trump said. “I’ll be with you no matter where you are. I truly, truly believe what you’re fighting for. You have to protect the Second Amendment. You have to protect yourselves. You have to protect your family because generally speaking nobody else will be doing it. So whatever I can do for you folks I will be there for you.”
Astorino, who is seeking the GOP nomination to run against Cuomo, urged the crowd to register to vote. He said the campaign will be won door to door and by using social media, not by the millions Cuomo has raised to buy TV ads.
“I don’t know what Cuomo’s talking about,” Astorino told the crowd. “You don’t look like extremists. You look like great New Yorkers.”
“I love what you’re doing,” he added. “I love you are standing up for the Second Amendment and the First Amendment as well. You’re right to be here to protest what you think the government did wrong. There is nothing un-American about that.”
Astorino was referring to Cuomo’s controversial comments that pro-gun, pro-life conservatives have no place in New York state politics.
The rally, which also featured Cuomo’s 2010 opponent Carl Paladino, comes just before one of the most controversial provisions of the SAFE law kicks in on April 15. That is when owners are required to register all assault weapons style rifle, which are banned for sale under the law but grandfathered in for possession by current owners. The rifles cannot be sold in New York or given away once registered, prompting many owners to say they will not register the guns.
The Cuomo administration has refused to say how many gun owners have complied with the registration law. Asked about the number again Tuesday at a press conference after the budget signing, Cuomo only said, “I don’t know.”
Cuomo took steps to avoid the rally, updating his schedule as the rally began to include a previously unannounced trip to Long Island. Tom King, the head of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said Tuesday officials were advised by legal counsel not to speak at the rally because comments made at rallies could make it harder to win a court case to overturn the law.
Pro-SAFE Act legislators held a press conference inside the Capitol, calling for passage of more gun laws, including micro stamping gun casings and requiring all guns to be locked up and kept away from children.
“Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership in proposing and a bipartisan state legislature in passing the NY SAFE Act, all New Yorkers are safer today from gun violence,” said Leah Gunn Barrett, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “Both state and federal courts have found this common-sense law to be constitutional and it is supported by a wide majority of New Yorkers.”
The SAFE Act has propelled a huge increased in Rifle and Pistol Association membership. It now has 41,000 members, making it the biggest state NRA affiliate in the U.S.