CHEEKTOWAGA, New York (Reuters) - Word of New York’s pending tough gun controls prompted hundreds of enthusiasts to line up in below-freezing temperatures on Tuesday to purchase weapons at the Buffalo Gun Center.
One of them was Roland Jamieson, 38, a draftsman who emerged from the store toting a black AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle for which he paid $2,500.
“I wasn’t even in the market until today,” he said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the gun control legislation into law on Tuesday after it was passed by the Democratic-led Assembly. It swept through the Republican-majority Senate the previous day.
The first gun-control measure enacted since the mass shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, it expands the state’s ban on assault weapons, puts limits on ammunition capacity and has new measures to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
Outside the western New York gun shop, David Gaeddert, 66, a retired electrician shopping for a 12-gauge shotgun that would not be affected by the new law, called the measures strongly promoted by Cuomo “insane.”
“I won’t vote for Andrew Cuomo,” he said, adding: “I think they’re trying to put us under their thumbs rather than save lives.”
Tom Golombek, 37, also took issue with the law, saying: “All it’s doing is keeping firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.”
Golombek said he worried the law could affect manufacturing jobs, such as those at a Remington firearms factory in Ilion, New York.
“They’re going to get rid of manufacturing jobs, so there’ll be more people on unemployment I have to pay for,” he said.
Golombek added that he does not own any handguns but felt compelled to visit the weapons store as the gun measure was being considered in the state Assembly.
”It’s my Second Amendment right,“ he said. ”It’s America. I know it sounds redneck, but whatever.
“When you look at it, no firearm ever killed anyone, it’s a human,” he added. “It’s the person behind the object that kills, just like drinking and driving.”
Reporting by Neale Gulley, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Andrew Hay