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Civil War reenactment canceled because of New York's sweeping gun control law

DenGuy via Getty Images

An annual Civil War reenactment held in the small town of Angelica, in the western part of New York, has been canceled this year because of the state's sweeping new gun law.

Organizers of the 19th annual Angelica Civil War Reenactment, which was founded by a Boy Scout troop nearly 20 years ago, said they cannot put on the event this year or in the foreseeable future because it would be a felony to possess black powder firearms in public, even if they aren't loaded, under the gun control regime enacted by Democratic lawmakers.

"The new firearms law passed by the State of New York and effective September 1st changed more than the handgun permit requirements. Also added are prohibitions against possession of many types of firearms in 'sensitive locations' which include streets, sidewalks, parks and most public locations," the event organizers posted on Facebook on Sept. 4.

"Black powder weapons are not excepted from this ban. Possession of a firearm in public is now a felony," the group said.

"After obtaining a legal opinion, it was determined that we could not continue with holding the event this year. Participants could be subject to arrest. So the event is canceled this year. If the law is modified or overturned we hope to return in the future."

Under the law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on July 1, so-called "sensitive areas" include all public parks with few exceptions, airports, houses of worship, government buildings, and all private property except where the owners have posted signage permitting lawful gun owners to carry their firearms. There are limited exemptions for current and retired law enforcement, peace officers, licensed security guards, active-duty military personnel, hunters, and some government employees.

The statute is broad and does not contain exemptions for ceremonial purposes, like Memorial Day or Veterans Day parades, or historical demonstrations like Civil War reenactments.

The Allegheny Highlands Council of Scouts BSA, which helps run the event, has offered refunds to the scouts and families who had registered to participate, the Olean Times Herald reported.

State Sen. George Borrello (R), who represents the southwestern corner of New York, ripped the gun control law in a statement to the paper.

“This is what happens when you draft legislation designed to punish people you perceive as your enemies without thinking of the consequences,” Borrello said. “It’s symbolic of the total dysfunction one-party rule has created in Albany. For nearly 20 years the Angelica Civil War Reenactment has entertained and educated school children and adults about the pivotal role our region had in preserving the Union and ending slavery.

“Every year the event draws hundreds of Civil War reenactors and thousands of spectators to Angelica. Now, due to Gov. Hochul’s misnamed, misguided and unconstitutional ‘Concealed Carry Improvement Act’ the reenactment is canceled.

“This law does nothing to protect New Yorkers from the scourge of gun violence that’s swept across our state since the majority in the Legislature and former Gov. Cuomo ended cash bail for most criminal offenses,” Borrello said. “Rather, it is aimed squarely at punishing law-aiding gun owners. Here is the proof.”

TheBlaze reached out to Gov. Hochul's press office and New York Attorney General Letitia James for comment but was not answered.

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