Astorino Talks Safe Act At Gun Show in Saratoga Springs
March 16, 2014
By Kyle Hughes
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Republican governor candidate Rob Astorino received a warm welcome at a gun show here Sunday, accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of attacking constitutional rights and vowing to repeal the SAFE Act if elected. “There’s one way that we can get rid of Andrew Cuomo,” said Astorino in brief remarks to a crowd that filled the city’s convention center. “He took away your rights, why don’t you take away his job. Register to vote and make sure you vote.”
“The SAFE Act did nothing to make us safer,” Astorino told reporters when arrived earlier. “All it did was get a headline for the governor and demonize law abiding citizens who own guns.”
“What we did in Westchester is far more important,” he said. “We went after the real issues and the root causes, which is mental health and the breakdown of it to allow an Adam Lanza to go through a school system where the red flags are there and people didn’t do anything about it.”
He said Westchester officials reached out to nonprofits and mental health groups and made schools safer. He said more must be done to help mentally ill young people before they get involved with violence, drugs or drop out of school.
Astorino drew applause and handshakes, in sync with a crowd that included many wearing buttons with a red slash drawn through the name Cuomo. The Westchester County executive said afterwards he has shot guns before, but does not own a weapon.
The long running Saratoga gun show became a flashpoint in 2013 following Cuomo’s pushing through the SAFE Act on the first day of the legislative session. Thousands of gun owners stood in line to enter the show as counter-protesters displayed effigies of the children killed in the Sandy Hook school massacre.
The atmophere this year was much less tense, though Second Amendment supporters scheduled a protest to burn SAFE Act gun registration paperwork.
Astorino said he would be ramping up his campaign, with more traveling around the state. “This is going to be a fun race,” he said. “I think Gov. Cuomo knows he’s not going to walk through real easy. We’re going to bring up all the issues people care about and we’re going to put the state back in the winning column.”
He said New York is losing residents, jobs and rights “as you can see why the SAFE Act is so unpopular with law abiding citizens. So there’s a real difference between the governor and I.”
“What really matters are taxes and jobs because people can’t live here anymore,” Astorino said.
He said Cuomo’s economic development efforts like offering no taxes to certain businesses are gimmicks. “Who am I to pick what type of business should come into New York and where it should be located? That’s what Gov. Cuomo is doing and he’s getting no bites … but if we lower taxes, lower regulations, they will come.”
He said Donald Trump’s withdrawal Friday from a race he had not yet entered will have no impact, and said he is seeking Trump’s endorsement.