Because of concerns over the state’s new gun laws, some historical war re-enactors in New York are refraining from firing their muskets.
This unintended consequence of legislation intended to ensure public safety.
The law that took effect this month proclaims that firearms are prohibited in parks, government buildings, and a long list of other “sensitive” locations.
Re-enactors who worry about getting imprisoned if they openly re-stage wars from the colonial era to the Civil War are staying off the field despite the laws being more designed for semiautomatic pistols than flintlock weaponry.
According to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration, historical war reenactments are still permitted, and some have occurred this month.
The cancellation of events, such as an 18th-century encampment and combat re-enactment scheduled for last weekend north of Saratoga Springs, is the consequence of ongoing suspicion among event organizers and participants.
Harold Nicholson, a re-enactor taking part in the Rogers Island event, stated, “We’ve been hearing comments from units who were meant to go that they don’t feel comfortable moving muskets or bringing muskets to the site.”
At that time, we concluded that it would probably be best to forego moving forward.
The concern is due to a statute swiftly passed after the U.S. The Supreme Court overturned New York’s rule that applicants for a license to carry a weapon outside their residences must prove an exceptional threat to their safety.
In retaliation, Hochul and the other Democrats who currently control the state Legislature passed a measure that imposed stringent new licensing requirements and placed restrictions on where pistols, shotguns, and rifles might be carried.
According to some re-enactors who have studied the language of the law, the use of outdated weaponry may put them in the sights of the new regulations.
Two Civil War re-enactments scheduled for upstate New York this month and a Revolutionary War attack planned for this weekend at Fort Klock in the Mohawk Valley are among the activities that have been postponed.
Robert Metzger, a re-enactor who serves as the board chair of Fort Klock Historic Restoration, stated that the cancellation was made out of concern for the people we had invited to the event who would face criminal charges for their participation in the event.
Metzger acknowledged that the sheriff’s deputies in the area have “a lot better things to do than to bother 70-year-old men with flintlocks,” but he said there was always the risk that someone may object.
Additionally, the nonprofit organization did not want to risk losing its state charter.