Membership in a New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association nearly doubled in a year after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed harsh gun control measures in the wake of last year’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
New York now boasts 41,000 NRA members, up from the 22,000 members in January 2013, making it the largest NRA affiliate chapter in the country — surpassing even Texas.
“I think it sends a message to all the anti-gun politicians, all the politicians sitting on the fence, that yes, if they thought that we were quiet and this was going to go away without anyone paying any more attention to it, they were just flat-out wrong,” New York State Rifle & Pistol Association president Tom King told Buffalo News on Monday.
King also threatened Republican politicians with electoral retribution if they failed to repeal the NY SAFE Act, which prohibits the sale of “high capacity” magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, requires ammunition dealers to conduct background checks on consumers and bans assault weapons. (RELATED: Cuomo’s new gun law does not exempt New York cops, could prevent police from responding to school shootings)
“If I were some of these New York State Republican senators who voted for this and haven’t done anything about it since, I’d be worried because there’s a lot of angst out there, and it’s all pointed at them,” King said. (RELATED: New York City confiscating rifles and shotguns)
Cuomo’s position? Demand that New Yorkers opposed to his stringent gun control law leave the state altogether, since “they have no place … in New York.”
“Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they?” Cuomo said on Jan. 17 radio show, referring to conservatives opposed to establishment Republicans. “Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association is mounting a legal challenge to Cuomo’s NY SAFE Act. So far, members and non-members alike in New York have donated $200,000 to the NRA affiliate.