Local residents offer views on gun regulations
By Joe Moskowitz
The debate over gun control has turned many people into experts on the U.S. Constitution.
This what the Second Amendment says: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
It is the job of United States Supreme Court Justices to be constitutional experts and in 2008, the court ruled that the right to bear arms did not have to be related to a militia. The Second Amendment protects individual’s rights for traditional, lawful uses such as self defense within a home and, in 2010 the court ruled that states and local governments faced the same Second Amendment restrictions as the Federal government.
Some say the state has no right to restrict the sale of weapons or ammunition to law-abiding citizens. Others say the writers of the constitution never imagined AR-15 and AK-47 assault rifles.
Charles “Sonny” Somelofski and Rudd Hubbell both live in Margaretville. Both are avid outdoorsmen. Both have guns and hunt. But they have decidedly differing opinions on New York’s new gun laws.
Both men answered a few questions directly and both gave the News permission to take excerpts of comments they made in social media about the issue.
Hubbell’s family moved to this area about 150 years ago. If they didn’t hunt, they might not have eaten meat. Rudd Hubbell hikes, skis, hunts locally and takes an annual hunting trip to Texas. He is outraged at virtually every part of the new law and he is very angry with the man responsible, Governor Andrew Cuomo.
He says, “Cuomo should be vilified for his grandstanding and self-serving promotion.” Hubbell says he has an issue with the state passing laws in the middle of the night. As a gun owner, Hubbell says he is proud that he lives in a country where he has the freedom to own guns of his choosing, but doesn’t think the rights of what he calls the 99.1 percent of responsible gun owners should be reduced because of the actions of the remaining 0.1 percent. And he says the debate shouldn’t be over whether the law abiding public is responsible enough to own an inanimate object, but educators, mental health professionals and the heads of various state and federal agencies should be called upon to make recommendations so we can reinvent ourselves so people may not want to kill themselves along with 30 innocent people in order to make a statement.
Hard to believe
Charles “Sonny” Somelofski is the former owner of the Tremperskill Country Store. He is now the owner of Catskill Outdoor Adventures Guide Service. He is a former president of the New York State Guides’ Association. He says one day after the Sandy Hook shooting, he went into a local coffee shop and says he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I really wanted to speak out, but shook my head in disbelief. These guys are hunters, just like me, but they still advocate assault rifles and large capacity clips under their Second Amendment rights.”
Somelofski likes the new law, but doesn’t think it goes far enough. He doesn’t think magazines should hold more than five bullets. The new law allows up to seven.
Somelofski, a former schoolteacher, also says he was appalled when he heard some of the people in the coffee shop saying teachers should have guns and there should be armed guards in schools. He says that would be like putting a five-gallon tank of gasoline next to an open fire. And he says he is not a liberal, just a responsible gun owner. And, he says he hopes other hunters and gun owners will be just as responsible.