A series of historical reenactments in New York have been canceled – because participants fear their muskets could violate a new state gun law.
The law, which went into effect Sept. 1, bans the carrying of guns in “sensitive places” like public parks, museums and athletic fields, leading history buffs to fear their black powder muskets could arrest them, the Observer-Dispatch reported.
“All it takes is one citizen complaint and it becomes a mess,” said Terry Parker, who decided to cancel a Civil War re-enactment event planned for late September in Allegany County in light of the new law.
“We didn’t really want to be the test case and have my friends arrested,” Parker, who created the event 18 years ago and chairs the organizing committee, told the outlet.
Additionally, Living History Weekend planned for last week in central New York, which was also set to feature a Civil War reenactment, was squashed after the local sheriff’s office determined the event could violate the new law, the outlet reported .
“Our attorneys have advised us that there is no exception in the law for Civil War reenactments,” said Herkimer County Sheriff Scott Scherrer.
“Under the wording of the governor’s law, it would be illegal.”
But Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said in a statement to The Post on Friday: “These laws allow for historical reenactments and there should be no concerns otherwise.”
“We will work with lawmakers and local law enforcement to ensure these events are allowed to play out as they have for centuries. In the meantime, those who lawfully participated in stalking should continue to do so.”
However, Rochester attorney Sheldon Boyce Jr., who specializes in the Second Amendment law, said there is no exception for historical events in the language of the law.
“[Hochul’s] and say they will pass new legislation to exempt the ordinances,” the outlet’s attorney said. “But so far I haven’t seen any actual law signed by the governor.”
Last weekend, a re-enactment of the Battle of Plattsburgh was nearly canceled after organizers were warned by the state that the event could violate the new law, the Press-Republican reported.
Organizers eventually moved on with the event after local police said they would not arrest anyone officially linked to it. But the state told them they could only fire cannons — not muskets, according to the press Republican.
“Any time the government makes sweeping policy changes, there’s a chance something will be overlooked and unintentionally swept away, and that’s exactly what happened here,” said Chris Rosenquest, mayor of Plattsburgh.
Reenactors are hoping the issue will be resolved — and soon.
“It makes it more tangible to hear those muskets and create that image of what it must have been like in 1814,” Rosenquest said.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/16/ny-history-buffs-nix-reenactments-over-new-gun-law/ NY history buffs Nix reenactments on new gun law