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RELEASE: Old Fort Niagara says history re-enactments at historic sites in NYS need exemption from Hochul gun law. Hochul, Senate support change, Assembly stripped amendment from it's one house budget.
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Executive Director Robert Emerson (716) 745-7611 x 228

Historical Reenactments Still Under Fire in New York State

Historical fort and battlefields administrators across the state have come together to call for the legislature to exempt reenactments from firearm regulations that impede their ability to work. According to Robert Emerson, Executive Director of Old Fort Niagara, “Historical reenactments at Old Fort Niagara and historic sites across New York State could be a thing of the past unless the New York State Legislature takes timely action.” For New York reenactment groups to continue bringing history to life, language must be specifically included in the budget to exempt them from section 265.01-e of the penal law. Current law includes a prohibition on historical firearms such as flintlock muskets in sensitive places like parks and museums.
Governor Hochul included an exemption for reenactments in her budget proposal. The amendment was retained in the Senate version of the budget, but was removed by the Assembly.
Scores of historic sites and communities across New York State regularly host historical reenactments that attract thousands of local residents and tourists. They commemorate significant events in our nation’s history, are educational and bring millions in tourism dollars to communities across the State. These events, which use only blank ammunition, have been carried out safely and professionally by organizations large and small for decades. Historic sites depend almost entirely on
volunteers to stage these events. Currently, many of these volunteers are afraid to travel to or within New York State to participate. Planning is well underway for the 2023 season and volunteers will certainly decide to go elsewhere if timely action is not taken.
When events must be cancelled, this results in severe economic loss to not-for-profit historic sites, sponsoring organizations and communities in general. “At Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, reenactments generate a full 21% of our site’s annual operating revenue” says Emerson.
Historic sites and communities across the state, as well as, national reenactor organizations have requested that the law be amended to exempt historical reenactments from the scope of the law. Many events across the state were cancelled in the fall of 2022 and planners are hoping that the law is amended in advance of the 2023 season. As such, it is critical that exemptions for historical reenactments from the provisions of section 265.01-e are included in the 2024 final budget.