Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) today joined organizers of the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration event to call on the Governor to take action so that reenactors can continue to use antique rifles at historic reenactments. Due to the recent concealed carry law that went into effect on September 1, all firearms, including antique rifles and muskets, are prohibited from sensitive locations, such as museums, parks, and special events. While the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration will continue, reenactors will not be allowed to carry their antique rifles and muskets at the event, which will impact the integrity of the reenactment.
“I cannot stress enough how frustrating it is that we are even here today,” said Assemblyman Billy Jones. “This is what happens when the state rushes to pass legislation without properly vetting it first. Firearms at reenactments are not dangerous- reenactors have public safety in mind when organizing these events. But now, all future battle reenactments are in jeopardy because reenactors are not going to travel far distances if they are not allowed to bring their firearms, especially reenactors from Canada. Reenactments are an excellent teaching tool, and not allowing firearms will take away from experiencing living history. This will also impact local tourism and local businesses that depend on visitors to special events like these. This legislation has been a disaster since the beginning, and it’s time that the State addresses the many issues with this bill.”
Tom Donahue, President of the 1814 Commemoration Inc., PJ Miller, reenactor, Craig Russell, reenactor, and Samantha Williams, Director of the Kent-Delord House Museum were in attendance to share their concerns. Garry Douglas, President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce was unable to attend the press conference due to previous engagements, but still has concerns about how this will impact local businesses. "I can't imagine there was any intention to include historical reenactments using blank charges in the restrictions," said Douglas, "and so it ought to be possible for state authorities to provide some form of exemption. Heritage tourism has grown in this region in recent years, including the large benefits of the Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration each September, and it will grow further in the upcoming run-up to the nation's 250th anniversary. We say to Albany, where the will exists, there's a way. Find the way."