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New York State gun reform faces local backlash

In January, New York became the first state to reform its gun laws after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. The law, passed with bipartisan support and signed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, placed new limits on firearms and ammunition. It has made opponents of gun reform seriously mad.

Yesterday on Long Island, a Republican assemblyman who voted for the New York gun law managed to win a race for town highway superintendent over the heated objections of the anti-gun-laws crowd. On their Facebook page "Dan Losquadro is dishonest," they declared victory anyway and made plans to take on more Republicans who voted for the New York SAFE Act:

Todays election has been a pyrrhic victory for us! Just like The Battle of Bunker Hill was to the patriots during the revolutionary war. While Dan Losquadro is holding a slight lead that is to close to call and will require the count of absentee ballots tomorrow. It has come at a great cost. Dan had to campaign into overdrive and sacrifice his political collateral to win this election. Our action in this election was nothing more than a group of people who love the liberties given to us by our founding fathers who expressed their frustration at politicians who promised to defend them. We are not politicians, professional campaigners, or a political action committee. What was supposed to be a small insignificant election in a highway department that had a history of running only one candidate. Has turned into a much publicized race that you do not even see on a Senator level of elections.

The group goes on to list 17 members of the New York legislature as "the ones who are next." Reporter Henry Powderly of Three Village Patch points out video, below, of activist Tom McCarthy describing how his ranks felt betrayed by Republicans for supporting gun reform. "We're gonna stop [Losquadro]," McCarthy says, "and it's going to send a message to every senator up there that we're not afraid of them, that we're coming for them." It didn't quite work that way, of course, at least with this race.

New York has seen this kind of backlash before. After the state legislature passed marriage equality in 2011, opponents managed to unseat three of the four Republican senators who voted for the bill. Now, after New York's gun legislation, counties across the state are either debating or passing motions that call for overturning the law.

Erie County, Steuben County, Schuyler County, and Cayuga County all approved measures last month calling for repeal. Essex County is to decide in a couple of weeks. Jefferson County approved a repeal measure unanimously yesterday, and Onondaga County passed a repeal measure by 14-3.

Local NBC affiliate reports this exchange from Onondaga's debate:

Patricia Campbell, a criminal defense lawyer speaking in favor of the NY SAFE Act, referred to an 1856 painting of a child hanging on the legislature walls.

"If she and 20 her classmates had been gun downed and killed, wouldn't they have done something by now?" Campbell said. "You don’t need 40 to 50 bullets in a gun. For who? The government? To shoot against the government?"

A voice from the audience said "yes."

Image above: A screengrab from a video, now private, of Losquadro opponents shooting up one of his campaign signs.