Social Media Buoys Gun Sanctuary Idea

Reprinted From Hometown

Oneonta & Freeman’s Journal

Social Media Buoys

Gun Sanctuary Idea

New County Rep Brockway

Finds Proposal Going Viral

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to

Sportsman Adventures owner Bill Decker signs the “sanctuary” petition, and has it available at his Southside Oneonta store. (James Cummings/

ONEONTA – A Facebook Group aimed at making Otsego County a “Sanctuary for the Second Amendment” is picking up momentum.

On Dec. 20, an active hunter and gun owner, Kaleb White of Oneonta, created the “2A Otsego County Sanctuary Group” on the popular social media platform.

In just over a week, more than 800 people joined the group, including county Rep. Rick Brockway, R-Laurens.

White is circulating several petitions – at Losie’s Gun Shop and Sportman Adventures, and elsewhere.

And on Feb. 5, with Brockway’s support, he plans to ask the county Board of Representatives to designate Otsego a “sanctuary county.”

Meanwhile, Brockway, who will be sworn in on Jan. 2, is seeking to line up other board members behind the idea.  So far, only one other Upstate county – Wyoming, south of Batavia – is considering a “sanctuary” policy.

White took action after learning all but six counties in Virginia have or plan to declare themselves “sanctuaries,” exempt from gun-control laws.

The “sanctuary” movement there erupted after Gov. Ralph Northam, with the support of a newly elected Democratic General Assembly, vowed to toughen gun laws.

“In just a matter of days, almost the entire state became a Second Amendment sanctuary,” White said.

The drive picks up on “sanctuary cities” movement, where 560 cities, counties and states nationally have declared they will not cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration laws.

Where White and others say Virginia may decide to seize legally owned guns, members of the new Virginia majority have been talking about “commonsense gun legislation.”

To the south of Oneonta, a “Delaware County 2A Sanctuary” Facebook page was created Dec. 20, and White heard about it from relatives there.

He spoke with T.J. Conant, who launched the Delaware page. “They have gained 1,939 members since December 20,” he was told. “It’s been absolutely taking off there.”

He said, “Nobody in Otsego County was doing it, so I said I would be willing to get it off the ground.”

With Conant’s help, the Oneontan launched the Otsego County page, two days before Christmas.

Tuesday, Dec. 31, membership rose from 783 in the morning to 826 in the afternoon.

“I’m amazed at the amount of support,” said White.

“I would like to go to the county board with 6,000 signatures minimum,” he continued.  “That’s 1 percent of the county population. The more signatures we get, the easier it will be to bring it in front of the county board and to say that this is what the people want.”

Sportman Adventures’ owner William Decker Jr. thinks “it’s a really good idea to keep (the) political agenda in check. This is something that goes back hundreds of years to our Constitutional rights, so we need to preserve it,” he said.

“We don’t have a lot of signatures yet, but we’ve talked to a lot of people and they’re excited about it,” he said. “There is strength in numbers. If other people make their voice heard, it will keep these ridiculous laws in check.”

For his part, Brockway is contacting “fish and game, and rod and gun clubs. We are going to get petitions out to as many people as possible to get signatures. If you have several thousand signatures you will get other people on the board to listen. It will take a group effort.”

Can he get his county board colleagues to pass the resolution? “I think it will depend on the number of petitions we have and how we present it. I know that a couple of representatives became part of the group. It’s a start,” he said.

Kaleb White sees the responses to date as coming from frustration that began with passage of the state’s Safe Act in January 2013 after the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut.

“It’s frustrating trying to get a handgun or any sort of rifle other than a bolt action in New York. We’re not looking for no gun control and no gun laws, we want it to be more streamlined. We don’t want to jump through hundreds of hoops and spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on permits or training just to protect ourselves.”

5 thoughts on “Social Media Buoys Gun Sanctuary Idea

  1. Andy Minnig

    This sanctuary county initiative is no accident of time or place. It’s intent is to embarrass and weaken Congressman Delgado, and,once again, make Otsego County comfortably red. Witness the alacrity with which Mr. Brockway chose sides. The more interesting question will be how Chairman Bliss finesses the debate. He is a Republican, but it was his opposition to fracking and consequent bi-partisan support in the town of Middlefield that got him elected.

  2. Lori

    Let’s not be naieve. New York has been doing it’s best to chip away at our Second Amendment rights to own firearms. That’s not even up for debate. Another fact that they have not denied: it’s not so much a gun issue as an issue keeping them out of the hands of those who should not have them. Mental health being a huge factor in that. My question is this: if they are SO concerned about making sure unstable people aren’t getting their hands on weapons, then WHY did they just pass a bail reform that, in the fine print, not only makes it harder to convict and create a record/paper trail for these offenders, but makes BRINGING A FIREARM ONTO SCHOOL PROPERTY, MAKING TERRORISTIC THREATS AND SELLING FIREARMS TO A MINOR “non-qualifying offenses” for bail???!! Correct me if I’m won’t but that doesn’t exactly scream concern. Why don’t more people actually pay attention to the facts and God-forbid do their own research instead of just skimming articles and listening to the media before getting on their soap boxes and spreading more ignorance?? I can NOT stress the importance of this enough!! Things don’t add up here and it just gets shrugged off like everything else. Think. Please.

  3. Mary van Valkenburg

    I’m willing to make a deal…100% support for whatever gun freedom you want, even if that means more mass shootings of innocent kindergartners, if you all agree to 100% freedom for abortion rights and support for the 4th Amendment, even if that means more killing of innocent fetuses.

  4. larry

    I’m late to the argument, but I live in Delaware County, own three hunting guns, and I have NEVER felt that my right to own them has been in question. Also, I don’t need massive firepower to hunt a deer, turkey, or varmint, and a handgun is utterly useless in those situations. I suppose I could face an home invasion by rabid chipmunks and could use a rapid fire, large magazine rifle or shotgun, but I’m willing to bet I won’t. My biggest concern isn’t protecting myself with a handgun in my home, it’s protecting myself from those presumably gun-loving “hunters” who trespass on my land every year and who shoot high powered rifles at anything that moves; including spotlighting and deer shooting from the road in my fields. My feeling is that if you really, really need to squawk and scream about your gun rights, why not buy a red sports car instead? The symbolism is the exactly the same. Of course you’ll also have to license it, and use it legally. Gosh…I guess you just can’t win.

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