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Gun control laws, Cuomo blasted at Day of Resistance in White Plains

Barbara Stinson, of Harlem, who describes herself as

Barbara Stinson, of Harlem, who describes herself as a conservative Democrat with the Gotham Tea Party, speaks at a gun-rights rally in front of the Charles L. Brieant Federal Courthouse in White Plains. (Feb. 23, 2013) Photo Credit: Xavier Mascarenas

Take guns away from criminals instead of law-abiding citizens.

That was one of the most oft-repeated messages on Saturday as about 65 people braved the rainy, cold weather to show up at the federal courthouse in White Plains and rally for Second Amendment rights.

Huddled under heavy coats and umbrellas, gun rights advocates carried homemade signs, most registering their displeasure with politicians in Albany and Washington. "Punish criminals, not me" read one sign, while another squeezed neat capital letters onto posterboard: "Insane laws won't stop insane people from doing insane things."

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Sens. Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, all Democrats, were the most frequent names that came up as members of the group pointed to what they said was hypocrisy on the part of politicians.

Feinstein, California's senior senator, once had an active gun permit, and Schumer once won an NRA marksmanship award as a teenager, but says he does not currently have a gun permit.

"I'd love to see them go down into Harlem and tell the gang bangers to turn in their guns or obey this law," said Barbara Stinson, a recent Tea Party darling also known as "Barbara from Harlem."

But Democrats weren't the only ones on the receiving end of criticism at the rally -- one speaker lamented the fact that the rally did not attract county Republicans, mentioning Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino by name. Speakers also blasted the Westchester Board of Legislators for not joining 22 other New York county legislatures asking for the repeal of Cuomo's NY SAFE Act.

Standing near the back of the crowd, Christian Keezey of Ossining shrugged and said gun rights advocates can't depend on Republicans.

"If they're waiting for Rob Astorino to come save the day and ride in on his white horse, we've got a long time to wait," he said. "Don't hold your breath."

Many who attended Saturday's rally said they felt besieged by a wave of public hostility toward gun ownership since the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., which claimed 27 lives, including that of teacher Anne Marie Murphy, who was raised in Katonah.

And although it has been more than a month since the White Plains-based Journal News removed its infamous "gun map" -- an interactive Google map with the names and addresses of gun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties -- emotions were still raw among people at the rally, many of whom said they were included on the map.

"They've published my name on a registry like I'm a sex offender and a map to my home," Keezey said. "Quite frankly, it's frightening."

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