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Reenactors exempted from state gun legislation

David Gruetzner of Austin, Texas, shows children and adults how to load a Civil War era rifled musket during the Texas Military Forces Open House at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, April 21-22. Gruetzner, an organizer of Civil War reenactors, demonstrated tearing a small pack of gunpowder, pouring it down the barrel, using the ramrod to pack the powder in and replacing the firing cap. He then handed the weapon over for firing. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Suzanne Carter/100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

New York state’s gun legislation has made an exception for reenactors.

As part of the new state budget, which passed Tuesday night, language was included that exempted those participating in historic reenactments, theatrical productions, museums that have firearms in their collections and military honor guards from the new gun laws.

Thanks to the change, any reenactments statewide can go ahead as planned.

This was originally included in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s and State Senate budget proposals, but was left out of the initial State Assembly budget.

The new law that went into effect Sept. 1 listed parks and government property among “sensitive” places where guns were not allowed. It included flintlock muskets and other historic muzzleloading firearms in its scope, which caused reenactors across the state to cancel some events last year.

Old Fort Niagara was one organization that sent letters to the state government urging them to exempt historic firearms, arguing that musket demonstrations are its most popular event and this would negatively impact the revenue it gets from programming.

These reenactments generate around $340,000 per year, or 21% of the state park’s operating revenue.


(c) 2023 the Niagara Gazette 

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