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Union Army reenactors fire during a previous Angelica Civil War Weekend event as a Confederate reenactor pretends to be a casualty.


By BOB CLARK

ANGELICA — Less than a month before the streets of Angelica were to fill with men in blue and gray, the 19th Angelica Civil War Reenactment was canceled over the state’s new gun law.

Officials with the event, which was set for Sept. 23-25, posted on Facebook that participants could face felonies for participation due to classifications of “sensitive areas” in the new law.

“The new firearms law passed by the State of New York and effective September 1st changed more than the handgun permit requirements,” organizers stated. “Also added are prohibitions against possession of many types of firearms in ‘sensitive locations’ which include streets, sidewalks, parks and most public locations.”

The post indicated that reenactors could face a class E felony for participating.

“Black powder weapons are not excepted from this ban,” the group stated. “After obtaining a legal opinion, it was determined that we could not continue with holding the event this year. Participants could be subject to arrest. So the event is canceled this year. If the law is modified or overturned we hope to return in the future.”

Under the law, which went into effect Sept. 1, sensitive areas include all public parks with few exceptions, and all private property without expressed permission. Exemptions exist for current and retired law enforcement, peace officers, licensed security guards, active duty military personnel, individuals engaging in hunting activity, persons operating programs in their homes that would otherwise be considered a sensitive location, and government employees involved in natural resource protection.

No carve-outs in the law appear to exist for ceremonial purposes — such as honor guards on Memorial Day or Veterans Day — or demonstrations and activities like Civil War reenactments.

A poster commented that the event might be able to move to private property, but organizers said that time was too short to organize a change of venue.

“Unfortunately that requires significant lead time for infrastructure to be put in place, time we don’t have for this year’s event,” a response post stated.

The Allegheny Highlands Council of Scouts BSA, which hosts a campout during the event — the reenactment was created as a Scouts BSA program 20 years ago — has offered refunds to the scouts and families who had registered for the event.

State Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, decried the cancelation, noting he voted against the package of gun laws that caused the cancelation.

“This is what happens when you draft legislation designed to punish people you perceive as your enemies without thinking of the consequences,” Borrello said in a statement. “It’s symbolic of the total dysfunction one-party rule has created in Albany. For nearly 20 years the Angelica Civil War Reenactment has entertained and educated school children and adults about the pivotal role our region had in preserving the Union and ending slavery.

“Every year the event draws hundreds of Civil War reenactors and thousands of spectators to Angelica. Now, due to Gov. Hochul’s misnamed, misguided and unconstitutional ‘Concealed Carry Improvement Act’ the reenactment is canceled.

“This law does nothing to protect New Yorkers from the scourge of gun violence that’s swept across our state since the majority in the Legislature and former Gov. Cuomo ended cash bail for most criminal offenses,” Borrello said. “Rather, it is aimed squarely at punishing law-aiding gun owners. Here is the proof.”

A request for comment to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s press office was not returned.