Gun rights advocate urges owners and sportsmen to vote

Photo contributedLes Wilson,Treasurer, of the Schuyler County Chapter of SCOPE, is pictured (left), with SCOPE Chapter Secretary, Dan Phillips (right), at an event promoting gun rights for New Yorkers.

There’s an issue that is critical to hunters, trappers, shooting sports enthusiasts, and every gun owner in New York. That is the unceasing attack on the 2nd Amendment. That attack emphasizes the need for each and every one of us to get out and vote in the upcoming election.

The attacks come in many forms. I’ll list just a few.

Currently, there’s a bill in the NYS Assembly that will require ALL gun owners in NY to buy $250,000.00 in liability insurance. A previous bill would have required $1 million dollars in gun owner insurance. The current Assembly bill, A2847, was introduced by Assembly Member, Felix Ortiz, (D) of Brooklyn, and co-sponsored by Phil Steck, (D) of Albany, and Patricia Leahy, (D) of Bethlehem.

**Assemblyman Jake Ashby, (R) of East Greenbush, was erroneously listed as a co-sponsor of A2847 on the Assembly website. **See CORRECTION re: bill sponsors below for further details.**)

If passed, A2847 would force all gun owners to;

“…continuously maintain a policy of liability insurance in an amount not less than $250,000.00 specifically covering any damages resulting from any negligent acts involving the use of such firearm while it is owned by such person. Failure to maintain such insurance shall result in the immediate revocation of such owner’s registration, license and any other privilege to own such firearm.”

When enacted, you’ll have just 30 days from the effective date of the law, to get your insurance policy in place. Who knows what a policy like that would cost or even if it ever will become available?

On Thursday August 6, Democrat NYS Attorney General Latisha James announced she is filing a lawsuit against the NRA. She made the announcement on television networks stating;

“For these years of fraud and misconduct we are seeking an order to dissolve the NRA in its entirety. Today we send a strong and loud message that no one is above the law, not even the NRA.”

The NRA is counter suing stating the lawsuit is politically motivated, and infringes upon their freedom of speech.

In an unrelated matter, the NYS Supreme Court recently granted a motion ordering the New York City Police Department to provide the NY Daily News the names, zip codes, and license category of anyone who was granted a firearm license in 2018. The Daily News made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request pursuant to the SAFE Act. FOIA provides public information from government agencies to anyone who files a request.

In my opinion, the extraordinary actions noted above are clear evidence your right to own a firearm in NY is under a coordinated and relentless attack. So, what can you do about it?

Well, last I checked, assembly members, the attorney general, and NYS Supreme Court Judges are elected officials. The simple solution to the problem can be answered in one word; VOTE!

Hank Coons, President of the Greene County Federation of Sportsmen, in a correspondence to his members stated;

“All members of all clubs have to vote in November. An hour or so not on the deer stand could just save your gun rights.”

Recently SCOPE Inc., a non-profit organization whose stated mission is to, “Protect, restore, and expand the gun rights of all New Yorkers,” issued a guidance document to their membership entitled, “To Vote or Not to Vote - It’s Not Even a Question.” It highlights the need for gunowners to get out and vote.

That document emphasizes how gunowners can make a difference in NY’s political leadership by simply exercising their right and civic duty to vote. They note that it’s especially critical in the upcoming election.

SCOPE’s guidance recognized the potential power of gun owners in NY as a voting block to be reckoned with.

While there’s no way to get a precise count of gun owners in NY, according to, there are more than 393 million guns in the U.S.

With approximately 85 percent of them owned by civilians, it’s reasonable to estimate the number of gun owners in a state the size of NY could be in the millions.

Given the potential of gun owners to be a political powerhouse, SCOPE is pleading for gun owners, and sportsman, to register and vote in upcoming and subsequent elections.

Their discussion highlighted a frequent excuse used by gunowners to justify not voting; that being the assumption if you register to vote you will be called for jury duty. It cited a state website that refutes this supposition. It reported potential jurors are randomly selected from lists of holders of drivers’ licenses or ID’s issued by the Department of Motor vehicles, registered voters, NYS income tax filers, recipients of unemployment insurance, or family assistance.

Not registering to vote won’t save you from being called for jury duty. Plus, why would pro-2nd Amendment citizens want all juries in NY to be comprised of non-gun owners?

Another excuse touted for not voting is the perception that your one vote doesn’t count. That simply isn’t so. The fact is, the current assault on NY gun owners and their rights is taking place in state and local elected offices, in addition to federal races.

In local races, you better believe every vote counts.

SCOPE posits in many of these tight state and local races, “the winner will be the candidate who can get the greatest number of people out…Many local elections are won by very few votes, usually a half-dozen or fewer, and in some cases by only one vote. It happens more often than you think.”

The last election flipped the NYS Senate Majority from republican to democrat and we are now feeling the results of the loss of that buffer against what I see as an all-out assault on the gun rights and safety of all New Yorkers.

SCOPE’s document acknowledged voting takes a little planning and offered the following guidance:

If you have not registered for in-person registration, you may register at your local board of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act.

This can be accomplished on any business day throughout the year but, to be eligible to vote in the General Election, your application must be received no later than October 9th, 2020.

For mail-in registration, applications must be postmarked no later than October 9th, 2020 and received by a board of elections no later than October 14th, 2020 to be eligible to vote in the General Election.

If you’ve changed your address, you need to re-register to vote by October14th,

You can also get an absentee ballot if you will not be near your local polling place on November 3rd 2020. Applications for absentee ballots can be obtained in hardcopy at your county board of elections or by downloading a PDF and getting it postmarked by October 27th or delivered in-person no later than the day before the election.

For further information on how to register to vote, you can call your local board of elections or go to

For those who are not online or just not very tech savvy, you can write a letter to your local board of elections to request needed documents.

The SCOPE guidance document urges those who can help to print out hard copy pdfs to make it easy for folks to file voter registration documents.

SCOPE concludes their guidance with this encouraging plea;

“Please vote, and encourage your friends, neighbors, and family members to vote. Pick them up and buy them a cup of coffee or a soda if that helps grease the wheels a little. We can change things but we have to use the weapon at our disposal and not leave it holstered-voting.”

SCOPE is a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd amendment rights for the residents of NYS. Their plan to accomplish their mission is listed on their website, They include, monitoring gun legislation, supporting pro-2nd Amendment politicians, making an effort to educate anti-gun politicians, sponsoring pro-2nd Amendment legislation, updating its members on laws and issues affecting gun rights, rating politicians based upon their voting record, publicly debating gun issues with anti-gun politicians and organizations, and attending events to increase awareness among gun owners.

If you would like to support or get information on how to become a member of SCOPE, go to their website at

**CORRECTION** Last week’s online column cited the official NYS Assembly Register which erroneously listed Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R), of East Greenbush, as introducing and co-sponsoring this anti-gun legislation.

However, Assemblyman Ashby is NOT a co-sponsor of the bill and in fact, vehemently opposes it.

Those at the Assembly responsible for bill drafting and publication, made a gross error when it listed Assemblyman Ashby as a co-sponsor.

According to his Chief of Staff, Tom Grant, Assemblyman Ashby opposes any measure that would curtail our 2nd Amendment rights. He added Assemblyman Ashby is a veteran and has an A+ rating from the NRA and is a lifetime member of that organization.

Happy Hunting, Fishing and Trapping until next time.

Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club Pasta Dinner – Saturday, August 15, 2-6 p.m.: It’s not too late to get out of cooking and enjoy a great pasta dinner including lasagna, spaghetti & meatballs, baked ziti, and more. Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5 for kids under 12. Call Kathy Ingham at 518-669-0101 for more information or visit them on Facebook.

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

You can share any comments with our sports desk at

*If you have a fishing or hunting report, photo, or event you would like to be considered for publication, you can send it to:

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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