The loudest voice in the gun control debate: Matt's Memo

Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In a bar room discussion it is the loudest voice that wins the debate. During a family dinner it might be the loudest voice that wins the debate. In politics it should not be the loudest voice that wins the debate. So much of what we're hearing in New York's gun control discussion is the loudest voice being heard and seeming to carry the day.

It started with Governor Andrew Cuomo. Less than a month after Newtown the governor's State of the State message reached a rousing crescendo as he said, "I know, I know that the issue of gun control is hard, I know itâ??s political, I know itâ??s controversial. But we are proposing today common sense measures. And I say to you forget the extremists. Itâ??s simple; no one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs ten bullets to kill a deer. And too many innocent people have died already. End the madness now! Pass safe, reasonable gun control in the State of New York!"

He carried the momentum of emotion from a community less than an hour from New York's border and moved the legislature to set aside standard process for the sake of protecting children from future acts of mass violence. Across New York the polling showed people wanted action taken to tighten gun control in a state already known for having some of the most restrictive rules in the nation.

The further New Yorkers moved from the echoes of the governor's speech the more we began to hear the growing chorus of gun owners. The more they learned about the law passed by the legislature the greater the attendance at local meetings. NY SAFE Act information sessions turned into crowds of defenders of the 2nd ammendment. They were not there to learn as much as they were there to protest.

One at a time Upstate New York legislative bodies began to take a stand against the law championed by Governor Cuomo. They called for repeal. The protests grew larger. They bussed to Albany. They picketed outside the capital.

Tonight a few hundred gun owners brought their fervent belief to the typically cavernous chamber of the Onondaga County legsilature. The gun owners are now the loudest voice in the room.

Maybe once this controversial new law reaches a courtroom quieter voices will prevail and New York will find the best balance between trying to ensure public safety and the protected right to bear arms.


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