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Shooters rally on rules, firearms rights

Gun owners, possessing firearms for hunting and self-protection, are beset each year with a volley of laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, and judicial decrees that affect their hunting privileges and rights under the Second Amendment.

Judges in each county of the state have the discretion to grant pistol permits on the basis of what they deem permissible in their county. New York State allows only carrying a pistol/handgun that is concealed. Hence, when a person applies for a pistol permit, he or she is offered two basic options: restricted (to hunting or target shooting) or unrestricted (carried concealed on one's person).

Genesee County had previously imposed only the more limited form of permits, not granting unrestricted permit status even to federal, state, county, city and township police officials. Effective Jan. 1, the rules have been changed in Genesee County to allow issuance of an unrestricted pistol permit to permit holders who apply after a five-year period of unblemished restricted permit possession.

Critics note that the five-year delay still breaches an honest pistol-permit holder's right to keep and bear arms. "At least we now have the option of obtaining a conceal carry permit in this county," said Genesee County SCOPE president Jack Taylor.

These and other restrictive and anti-gun legislative issues and proposed state assembly and senate bills will be more clearly articulated and gun-owner presence can be more powerfully affirmed during a planned Sportsman and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day set for Tuesday, March 20 in the "Well" section of the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

Experts from SCOPE (Shooters Committee on Political Education) and NYS Rifle and Pistol Association will be there to explain how permit regulations and other existing and proposed anti-gun legislation abridges constitutional freedoms.

The Erie County Chapter of SCOPE has chartered one bus and can arrange for more, if interested area sportsmen sign on for the outing. The cost is just $20 to register for the trip that departs from the Southgate Plaza at 4 a.m. that day.

To register online, go to, and leave your name and contact phone number on the registration form. By mail, write to: Erie County SCOPE, Box 215, Buffalo, NY 14220. For more details, call 685-4387.