Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Part of the large crowd at the Government Center yesterday protesting the SAFE Act. The County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution authored by Gene Benson calling for its repeal.
Protest SAFE Act in Monticello
By Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO March 22, 2013 Nearly 200 attended a rally in opposition to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's controversial SAFE Act gun legislation in front of the Sullivan County Government Center yesterday.
Organized by retired NYPD officer and founder of the Sullivan County chapter of the activist group the Oath Keepers, John Mahony, the rally attracted several legislators including Gene Benson and Cora Edwards and the likes of Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff and Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell.
Of the several speakers, by far the most animated was pastor Don Saddler, who had the large crowd in a near frenzy. “Brothers and sisters, sadly today we must not only be watchful of foreign attacks, but it seems as of late that we must also fight for freedom from within… we have come too far as a nation to bow down today, to bow down to a bunch of tyrannical elitist people. People who believe that they can dictate to you and I what’s best for us and our families,” said Saddler. “We thank you all today, and as we leave here today we will leave with a heartfelt victory for what we have done here today, and you will bless each and every home… keep us safe.”
Benson, who has drafted legislation meant to repeal the Act, spoke as well, and said,“We as a people need a voice, and I hope to be that voice for you. I took an oath of office last January when I was sworn in, and I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, and the constitution of the state of New York… that is exactly what I am doing. This is not only about guns, it’s about your constitutional rights. They chip away and they chip away and before you know it you won’t have any rights at all. I think we’re all fed-up with that, I think we all need to make our voices heard, and that’s why we’re here today.”
Mike Giordano of Liberty was on hand and when asked why he attended the rally, he said simply, “It’s not an assault weapon, it’s a defense weapon.”
Said Benson to the Democrat regarding the importance of the event, “You know, everybody thinks it’s about guns… it is not just about guns, in fact it’s not really about guns at all, it’s about our constitutional rights and the violation of our constitutional rights. If I did not do this I would not be upholding my oath of office to uphold the constitution.”
Said Mahony, “[Governor Cuomo] chooses to classify … a magazine with a capacity of a mere seven rounds as a Class D felony while at the same time a criminal luring of a child; criminally negligent homicide; committing an obscene sexual act with a child and the persistent sexual abuse of a child are only Class E felonies.”
Holding up two gun magazines to the crowd one illegal under the SAFE Act eight bullet capacity magazine; the other a “legal” seven bullet capacity magazine Mahony said to wild applause, “I’m going to be classified as a felon by this moron [Governor Cuomo] in Albany.”