Cattaraugus Rod and Gun Club members are holding their first 2014 gun meet, today, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the club grounds on Route 353, just north of the village. The club selected the date to coincide as closely as possible to the first anniversary of New York state's SAFE Act passage, which was approved on Jan. 15, 2013.
"Legal gun owners feel the SAFE Act tramples on their Second Amendment rights," explained John Ryan, one of the event's organizers. "Traditionally, rod and gun club members are responsible gun owners, and they work hard to pass along their knowledge and safety ethics to young people."
"Plus, the act does nothing to stop criminals," he added. "Criminals are criminals because they don't follow the law, anyway."
Ryan explained that in an act of peaceful protest, "At noon, everyone will be asked to fire a single symbolic shot to show our disagreement with the passage of the SAFE Act. Anyone who'd like to join us for this event is welcome. All you have to do is show up with your gun."
"Which is why we're calling this meet the Second Amendment Shoot," Ryan said. He added that several other gun clubs around the area (and possibly across New York) have planned similar events, hoping to produce a shot heard 'round the state.
The meet, itself, will feature five classes of competition: shotgun (shot) (non-scope only), shotgun (slug), muzzleloader (scope and nonscope), rifle (scope and nonscope), and pistol (nonscope only). Shells will be provided for contestants in the shotgun (shot) class.
Younger marksmen of 15 years old or younger, may compete in any of the listed classes, either in a separate youth group, or in the adult classes, if they prefer. Ryan said that in recent shoots, the number of youth shooters has steadily increased. "Last November, they almost outnumbered the adults," he said.
Ryan added, with a laugh, "We try to include anyone who wants to compete. I tell people who call, 'If you bring a gun, we'll make a class for it.'"
Refreshments will be available at the clubhouse. Shooters and visitors alike are also invited to try their luck in the 50/50 or the rifle giveaway.
"And, of course," concluded Ryan, "we'll hold some money or prize shoots if there's enough interest." These special events charge entry fees of $3 each, with the top gun taking home the bacon - or in this case, the ham - or steaks - or cash.
Call Ryan at 341-5373 with any questions.