Pro-gun group upset with county fair’s decision about gun raffle

WATERTOWN — Robert Simpson, president of Jefferson County Fair, just wanted to avoid getting in the middle of the country’s gun debate.

That’s why he and the fair board decided last week to deny a request by a gun group to rent a booth at the fair to sell raffle tickets for three guns.

“The fair is not pro-gun or anti-gun,” Mr. Simpson said Monday night.

Shooters Committee On Political Education, known as SCOPE, made the request a few weeks ago. SCOPE is a statewide organization dedicated to educating people about their Second Amendment rights.

The fair board made the decision before last week’s fatal shootings of black men in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, La., and the subsequent killing of five police officers at a Dallas anti-violence rally, Mr. Simpson said.

“It had nothing to do with what happened last week,” he said, adding the fair did not want to become entangled in the country’s gun controversy.

The gun group initially indicated that the guns need not to be present in the booth, so fair officials agreed that SCOPE could still have a table set up to educate the public about guns.

In the end, fair officials determined SCOPE had no interest in just letting the public know about guns, Mr. Simpson said.

“Their only interest is selling raffle tickets for the guns,” he said.

The fair’s decision has angered some local gun owners and SCOPE members.

“They’re bad-mouthing the fair. We didn’t want controversy,” said Mr. Simpson, who recalled a few years ago when an animal rights group criticized the fair for having a lion and tiger act.

The fair has since received numerous phone calls and emails opposing the decision.

In an email, SCOPE member Curtis Cappellano, from East Greenbush, near Albany, wrote he was disappointed the fair would not allow the organization to have a table because it was determined that “guns were controversial.”

“SCOPE provides information on Second Amendment issues pertaining to New York. I’m sure a large percentage of your patrons are hunters and have questions about the SAFE Act and other new gun related legislation,” he wrote. “Making SCOPE known as a source of information for them provides a valuable community service to your patrons.”

One local gun owner has decided to boycott the fair this year, Mr. Simpson said.

The 2016 fair opens at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds this morning.

Source: Watertown Daily Times

County fair to gun group: No raffles here – Times Union

A Second Amendment group best known for its opposition to the SAFE Act gun control law has gotten the cold shoulder from a North Country fair over plans to set up a booth and raffle off a trio of guns.”It’s un-American when you can’t put out information on both sides of the issue,” said John Elwood, vice chairman of the Jefferson-Lewis County chapter of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, or SCOPE.Elwood said he had talked to officials at the Jefferson County Fair, which opens Tuesday in Watertown, as early as January about setting up a booth.The display was to include an audiovisual presentation about various aspects of the SAFE Act, the 2013 state gun control law that expanded the definition of banned assault-style weapons. SCOPE planned to raffle off a rifle, shotgun and handgun. If keeping the prizes on-site presented a problem, its members were willing to use photos, said Elwood.But during the last few days, fair organizers told the SCOPE chapter it couldn’t set up the display.”The reason is, ‘Guns are controversial,'” Elwood said of what he was told by fair officials.Calls to the fair manager Pam Shelmidine weren’t returned on Monday, but an email from the fair said the problem centered on the plan to raffle the guns.”It was decided by fair management that we would not rent space to anyone for the purpose of raffling guns,” the email said. “Had SCOPE requested to rent a booth to educate the public on guns we likely would have rented them a booth for that purpose.”Raffling of guns is legal, noted Elwood, who added that they conducted the giveaways last year at the Lewis County Fair and are planning to do so again at that event later this month.A similar raffle is planned for the Woodsmen’s Field Days, a lumberjack festival in Oneida County in August.But for the Jefferson County event, Elwood said, “It looks like it’s off this year.”Gun raffles aren’t a new concept, but they have occasionally drawn controversy.In 2014, a church in Troy drew statewide attention when it raffled off an AR-15-style rifle.John Koletas, the pastor of Grace Baptist Church, said at the time that it was to coincide with a discussion of what the Bible says about the right to bear arms.Elwood added that the winners of gun raffles need to pass federal background checks at licensed dealers before taking possession of any weapons.A SCOPE spokeswoman said the group has had tables at several county fairs, including Erie, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua.

Source: County fair to gun group: No raffles here – Times Union

Gun group says it has been banned from county fair – Capitol Confidential

SCOPE, or the Shooters Committee for Political Education, is probably best known lately for its opposition to the SAFE Act gun control measure as well as some of the FOILs it has submitted about the law and subsequent lawsuits.But its activities don’t seem to be going over so well in Jefferson County where it has apparently been banned from setting up a table at the county fair which begins Tuesday.“The reason was that ‘guns are controversial,’ ” said John Elwood, who heads the group’s Jefferson-Lewis counties chapter, of the denial.He said the group planned to put up a table with a Power Point-type display about the ins and outs of the SAFE Act and it planned to raffle off a rifle, shotgun and pistol — something it has done at past events.But the group’s members were told in the past few days not to set up a table. When he asked if displaying a photo rather than the real (locked) guns to be raffled would be acceptable, it was rebuffed again.The group has had tables at the Erie, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua county fairs, said spokeswoman Susan Maressa. (I’ve seen their tables at several events and fairs around the Capital Region.)

Source: Gun group says it has been banned from county fair – Capitol Confidential

Gun Raffle Keeps SCOPE Away From Fair | WWNY TV 7 – News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

One thing you won’t find at the Jefferson County Fair this year is SCOPE.Shooters Committee On Political Education is an organization dedicated to educating people about their 2nd Amendment rights. SCOPE was told it couldn’t have a table at the fair because the group wanted to raffle off a gun. Fair officials found that too controversial.”Gun raffles are legal. The second issue is that we try to educate the public on the bills that I’ve talked about and for them not to allow SCOPE to educate folks on fire arms issues is un-American,” said John Elwood, Jefferson Lewis SCOPE vice chair.Fair officials say SCOPE could have a table educating people about 2nd Amendment rights, but without the gun raffle.

Source: Gun Raffle Keeps SCOPE Away From Fair | WWNY TV 7 – News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Press Release – SCOPE not Welcome at Fair



SCOPE not Welcome at the 2016 Jefferson County Fair


Watertown, New York – July 8th, 2016


Yesterday, the 2016 Jefferson County Fair committee informed the Jefferson/Lewis County chapter of Shooter’s Committee on Political Education (SCOPE), an organization dedicated to educating the citizens of New York State about their 2nd Amendment rights, that their application for a table at the Jefferson County fair was not approved.  The reason given by a spokesperson from the fair was, “guns were controversial”.    This is the first time the three year old chapter has requested a display booth at the Jefferson County fair.

SCOPE’s main mission is to educate the public on firearms legislation and 2nd Amendment issues, both in New York and nationally.  This year alone, there were 159 firearm bills introduced in the New York State legislature.  Some were issues that SCOPE supported, but many more were aimed at further restricting the rights of lawful gun owners.  

“Education is paramount to maintaining our 2nd Amendment rights and it is being stymied by the administration of the Jefferson County fair.” said chapter Chairman Dan Tyner  

Coordination for obtaining a booth has been on-going since January, 2016, but just five (5) days before the fair begins, the Jefferson County fair administration notified Jefferson/Lewis County Chapter of SCOPE of the rejection of its application.  

Vice-chairman of Jefferson/Lewis SCOPE,  John Elwood said, “An informed public listening to both sides of a debate makes better decisions.  The fair’s decision to blunt public education because the administration thinks gun are controversial is Un-American.”


It should be noted that for many, many years, the Jefferson County Fair has allowed games using simulated guns on the midway that brought many smiles to people’s faces when they won a prize. Apparently playing games with guns is acceptable, but educating the public about them is not.

— more —

Jefferson/Lewis SCOPE plans to maintain booths at both the Lewis fair scheduled 19-24 July and the Boonville Field Days on 19-21 August.  Jefferson/Lewis SCOPE has been welcomed as a participant in the Lewis County Fair and has had a float in their parade for the past 2 years.


SCOPE, Shooters Committee on Political Education, is a statewide 501(c)4 organization, 100% member funded, and dedicated to education about and preserving the 2nd amendment rights for the residents of New York State.  SCOPE was founded in 1965 and has over 35 chapters and committees throughout New York State, including New York City.

For more information:

John Elwood, Vice Chairman – Jefferson/Lewis SCOPE – 315-767-7782




Restore Upstate Freedom

Restore Upstate Freedom No one understands the value of freedom better than upstate New Yorkers. Second Amendment rights were outlined by our forefathers, and it’s a value we teach to our children and grandchildren today. FIGHT FOR FREEDOM Marc Butler fought the gun-grab SAFE Act and stood up for our freedoms.

Source: Restore Upstate Freedom

Daily Courier-Observer | St. Lawrence County legislators want county sheriff to issue pistol permits

CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators decided Monday night to continue their long-running battle against the restrictive pistol permit policy used by County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards.

At Monday night’s Operations Committee meeting, the board directed County Attorney Stephen D. Button to explore whether the authority to issue pistol permits can be extended to County Sheriff Kevin M. Wells.

Source: Daily Courier-Observer | St. Lawrence County legislators want county sheriff to issue pistol permits

Does Your Representative Support Concealed Carry Reciprocity? | Current Alerts

(note: as of this posting, Rep. Elise Stefanik is NOT listed as a Co-Sponsor)

Urge Your Rep. to Cosponsor HR 923!With your help over the past month, we have been able to get several dozen new cosponsors to legislation that will protect Constitutional Carry and reciprocity.

The bill is HR 923, and it now has over 80 cosponsors. This legislation will protect your right to carry concealed outside of your home state, whether you live in a Constitutional Carry state or not.

But the fact that it would protect citizens from Constitutional Carry states — enabling these gun owners to carry around the country without getting permits — is what makes HR 923 THE BEST reciprocity bill in the House of Representatives.  Currently, there are 11 states that have permitless carry, and even more states are looking to join the “Constitutional Carry” club.

This is why your help is needed.

Source: Does Your Representative Support Concealed Carry Reciprocity? | Current Alerts