By DENNIS PHILLIPS
Special to the OBSERVER
Which is greater in the state of New York, voters in the 2010 election or registered gun owners?
According to Sid Compton, there are a million more registered gun owners than the number of people who voted for or against Gov. Andrew Cuomo when he won election in 2010.
Compton is the Chautauqua County charter chairman of the state group known as SCOPE - Shooters Committee on Political Education. SCOPE is a civil rights organization focused on the protection and preservation of the right of firearms ownership as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Compton said the local county chapter was started in April.
"I had some people in Wayne County contact me to see if there was any interest in starting a group here," Compton said. "I went to a couple of their meetings to see what it was about. With the new gun laws, I thought people would be interested, and we're doing pretty good."
One of the most controversial issues passed into law this year was the SAFE Act. The SAFE Act was signed into law in mid-January by Cuomo. The controversial law intends to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and potentially dangerous mental health patients. Additionally, it bans high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.
So far Compton said the local chapter has 200 members. He said his goal is to get around 500 members. He also said the group has already sold 350 signs stating, "Repeal the SAFE Act."
"We need to get people to vote in the next election," Compton said. "In 2010, there were 15 million eligible voters in New York state, under 5 million voted. Cuomo won by a million and change. In the state, there are 1.2 million more registered gun owners than people who voted. If people got out and vote, we wouldn't' have this issue because (Cuomo) would not have been in office."
Compton said those fighting for their Second Amendment rights have two years to act to get people to vote.
"We need to make people aware of what the laws are, and everything they're trying to do, and what they have done," he said. "If people want change, they are going to have to vote. Voting to me is the No. 1 issue were trying to express. Your vote does count. We have strength in numbers. There are a lot of pistol permit holders in this county."
Compton said it cost $20 to become a member of SCOPE. Each member is sent a newsletter every two months called Firing Lines detailing information on the SAFE Act, like all the lawsuits filed fighting the law. Compton said the group meets ever third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the VFW Post 8647, 10 Memorial Drive, Mayville. He said those interested in attending A meeting or learning more about SCOPE can call him at 969-6604. Compton said the group has already hosted speakers state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R,C,I-Chautauqua, and state Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I Olean.
"Local politicians should be on our side because it is what the public wants. With a couple hundred members, that can swing a lot of weight on a local election," Compton said. "We also have a lot of Democrats that are members. This is just not a Republicans against Democrats thing. This is the Second Amendment they want to take away. There is a lot at stake."