GHENT–The Hudson Valley Oath Keepers held the group’s first opening meeting at the Whitestone Café Tuesday, January 22, with over 25 full and associated members in attendance.
The group’s website, www.meetup.com/HudsonValleyNY-OathKeepers, describes it as “a non-partisan association of active duty and retired military, Reserves, National Guard, police and peace officers, fire-fighters,” although others are also welcome to join. Its mission, says the website, is to “educate the public about the current dangers facing our constitutional republic.”
Chatham resident John Wallace is one of three New York State coordinators for the organization; there are also groups in New York City and Utica. The organization wants to begin holding monthly meetings, Mr. Wallace said. “We want to try to get people to become aware of our organization; we believe in the Constitution,” he said.
The organization’s future plans include talking to and educating emergency service people, police officials, and sheriffs about upholding their oath “to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God.” The group also wants to ensure that current and future legislators as well as other elected officials in the county do the same.
Through education the Oath Keepers want to show the dangers of what they see as a loss of individual freedoms to federal and state government. Members see passage of the New York SAFE gun control law adopted a week ago and the executive orders issued by President Obama as infringements on citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.
President Obama is currently seeking to reinstitute a ban on assault-type weapons and high capacity ammunition clips and will submit these gun control proposals to Congress as early as this month. The NY Safe Act adopted last week, bans the sale of certain assault-style weapons and ammunition clips that carry over, regulates the sale of ammunition, enacts a statewide recertification of handguns and assault weapons, and mandates universal background checks.
Mr. Wallace and members of the Oath Keepers say that “the government is here to protect our rights not to give them to us… [and] that the government has been slowly picking away at citizens’ rights.”