Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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February 18, 2013

Rally for gun rights

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

Gun-rights advocates in Niagara County are scheduled to gather in Lockport today to protest New York's passage of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement, or SAFE Act. 

The rally is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. and will be held at the Niagara County Courthouse building, 175 Hawley St.

Dave Mongielo, an advocate for gun owners' rights and the owner of Mongielo's Auto Specialties on Robinson Road, said he attended a similar rally in Buffalo earlier this year and decided Niagara County needed to get on board the effort to overturn the SAFE Act, which he considers to be a rushed piece of legislation that tramples on residents' Constitutionally protected freedoms.

"If we are free to do what we want in America, why can't we have a weapon to defend ourselves," Mongielo said. "I'm 100 percent behind background checks, but we already have that in New York state. Why did (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo create this bill so quickly? It's wrong. Why didn't they sit down with us and say 'let's talk about it.'"

In January, following a series of mass shootings, including the high-profile shooting deaths of students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Cuomo joined state lawmakers in authorizing the SAFE Act, a wide-ranging gun control bill that places greater restrictions on firearms use and magazine sizes. 

Supporters argued that the bill was needed to curtail shootings incidents like the one at Sandy Hook. Critics — many of them legal gun owners — consider the provisions too restrictive and an assault on their right to bear arms as outlined under the Second Amendment. They also were critical of the way the legislation was approved. The act was approved in a matter of days, with virtually no input from the public. 

"It was passed too quickly," Mongielo said.

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