Days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the nation's toughest gun restrictions, gun owners and Second Amendment activists gathered at the state Capitol on Saturday as part of a series of nationwide rallies in support of firearms rights.
About 2,000 people, many carrying American flags, banners reading "Don't tread on me" or "Impeach Cuomo" signs, turned out for the chilly outdoor rally.
Others honked car horns as they drove by, and the crowd chanted "We the people," ''USA" and "freedom."
"This is an outrage against humanity, what we're seeing," said protester Robert Candea, of Warwick, who brought his family along.
Activists promoted the rallies in state capitals nationwide primarily via social media. They were held days after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of gun-control proposals in response to the Connecticut elementary school massacre last month.
New York's law, enacted with little public debate, expanded the state's assault-weapon ban and instituted background checks for buying ammunition. It passed with broad support in the legislature, but some lawmakers who opposed it vowed at Saturday's rally that they would keep fighting.
"This battle is not over. It has just begun," Republican Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin said.
"This was abuse of power by a man who wanted to be president but now never will," he said of Cuomo.
"This week, representative democracy did not work," said Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.
Protester Sirell Fiel of Cambridge, who draped himself in an American flag for the rally, said he had owned guns for many years and hoped to attend more protests in the coming weeks. "I'm not going to stop until changes are made."