SCOPE held its annual meetings in Montour Falls on May 8th. by Tom Reynolds
The Members Meeting featured a presentation by Congressman Lee Zeldin to the more than 80 people who were present. Many believe Zeldin is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for governor in 2022. In a little more than a month since he announced his run for Governor, he has made several campaign tours through the Southern Tier. (Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Lewis County Sheriff Michael Carpinelli have also announced their candidacy for the Republican nomination.)
Congressman Zeldin spoke on a wide variety of subjects and held a long Question-and-Answer Session. Among the topics discussed were Governor Cuomo’s Nursing Home Scandal and the tax increase included in the latest New York budget, which Mr. Zeldin criticized as making New York State the highest taxed state in the nation. He encouraged everyone to oppose HR1, the attempted federal power grab to take election regulation away from the states. He also criticized cashless bail and reiterated his belief in term limits for elected officials. Zeldin pointed out that he was pro Second Amendment, in obvious contrast to Governor Cuomo. Mr. Zeldin used a humorous anecdote to criticize the Democrats in Congress for their attempt to injure the Second Amendment by repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
State Senator Tom O’Mara also spoke to the audience and he, too, held a Question-and-Answer Session. Senator O’Mara took the audience through a variety of state issues and was especially critical of the $2.1 billion set aside for unemployed illegal aliens that was approved in the latest budget. O’Mara echoed his support for voter ID and other voting reform measures. Several current and proposed New York State gun control laws were discussed in detail. The Senator also discussed the upcoming redistricting and the Democrats attempt to repeal a fairly recently enacted Constitutional Amendment on redistricting - before it has ever been used.
During the past year’s election, both Mr. Zeldin and Mr. O’Mara received “A” ratings from SCOPE for their stance on the Second Amendment.
Tom King, Second Amendment advocate and President of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA), spoke and introduced the other speakers. King explained about the lawsuit, NYSRPA v Corlett, which deals with the right to carry a concealed handgun outside the home; the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up this important case and it should be heard in the Fall. Mr. King’s presence at the SCOPE meeting demonstrated how Second Amendment defenders are coming together to fight for their constitutional right.
Other speakers were a representative of State Senator George Borrello and Steuben County Republican Chair Joe Sempolinski.
Several speakers and audience members emphasized the theme of getting gun owners to vote. It is estimated that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 New Yorkers are gun owners and if they voted they would be a powerful political force to counter the radical gun control lobby and the billionaires behind it. To date, 75 gun related bills have been introduced in the New York Legislatures and 19 of them are two-house bills proposed in both legislatures. This list was distributed at the meetings.
At the Board Meeting, SCOPE also held its annual election of officers and the results demonstrated its statewide presence. Elected were: Chairman Jack Prendergast from Yates County; President Tom Reynolds from Chemung County; Treasurer Rob McNally from Cattaraugus County; Secretary Curtis Cappellano from Rensselaer County; 1st Vice President Steven Getman from Schuyler County and Second Vice President Leigh Williams from Yates County. Dave Colburn from Wayne County was elected to an At-Large SCOPE Board position.