A rapidly growing Second Amendment group is going statewide.
Using a shorthand term for the Constitutional Amendment at the heart of the struggle over guns, what was 2AWNY is now 2ANYS, as the group moves into Rockland County for a new chapter and pushes hard on its membership campaign.
It is a big issue for the group because Albany is expected to pass more stringent gun control laws this year, as the federal court system pushes back against gun controls generally.
"All of the levers of state government being controlled by progressives, there's a range of bills, all of which are clearly unconstitutional that the State Legislature's going to attempt to push through, probably will pass and the governor will likely sign," said the group's civil rights advocate Steve Felano. "So the antidote to that is non-compliance, non-enforcement and repeal efforts, which we've been focused on for a little over a year now."
Felano said it is part of broadening the group's membership diversity.
"It's 100%, across the board, significantly more diverse, people of all kinds of backgrounds," he said. "We definitely skew younger, with respect to what you generally see from some of the more traditional legacy Second Amendment groups. I did some analysis on this. The average age of our members is about 38 years old."
Felano said new members are heavily from downstate areas, where many state legislators have been involved in newer state gun controls.
"Taking a trip down into Rockland recently and going into all those other areas where we, as a matter of fact, do have members in the Bronx and in Brooklyn and in other areas. Come to find out, people are very supportive in those areas," Felano said. "They're just, sort of I guess, up until now without an organization to put a face on their views and concerns. They've been kind of afraid to step out of the closet, so to speak, as Second Amendment rights supporters."