Thursday, July 31, 2014

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SAFE Act protesters shred gun registration forms in protest

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Buffalo: SAFE Act protesters shred gun registration forms in protest
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — They dropped registration form after registration form into the shredder.

"Over the years, they've been shredding the Constitution one amendment at a time," civic activist Rus Thompson said.

On the last afternoon New York gun owners could carry an unregistered assault weapon in New York State, SAFE Act detractors publicly demonstrated against it in downtown Buffalo.

"If you don't register your firearm, you can be a felon," Thompson said.

"I think it's very much needed. It is meant to make the public aware that they too have rights and their rights are being violated every day by a government who does not follow our Constitution," veteran Carrie M. Christman said.

When many protesters were asked, come Wednesday, if they would have illegal firearms in their home, they chose to take advantage of one of their other constitutional rights: the fifth amendment. They said they're holding onto their right to protest.

"We have to show courage. There's always a chance anything could happen but I wouldn't be here if I felt I was doing something that was hurting other people. I'm not hurting anybody. Nobody here's hurting anybody," Tony Matuszak said.

"We think it's an unconstitutional law and you can see, the people that are stepping out like this, being on television and everything. This should send them a message. We ain't gonna comply," Thompson said.

They may not have much to worry about.

"The SAFE Act is not making our state one bit safer," said Sheriff Tim Howard, R-Erie County.

Howard said his agency and others across the state have been given no direction about how to enforce the law. He's not going to tell his deputies they need to start confiscating assault weapons.

"From the beginning, we're saying that law enforcement offers have a great deal of discretion. They should be using their own conscience here," he said.

State Senator Mark Grisanti, who supported the SAFE Act, was out of town and had no comment on the demonstration. Although it was in front of his Buffalo office, protesters believe their message will be heard in Albany.

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