New York historical reenactments canceled over fear participants will be thrown in jail over strict gun laws

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Multiple historical reenactments in New York have been canceled out of fear participants could be thrown in jail for breaking the state’s new gun laws. 

“Two weeks ago we started getting issues from units out of state and in state who were afraid if they came and brought weapons with them, muskets, that they’d be charged with a felony,” reenactment organizer Harold Nicholson told CBS 6. 

One reenactment in Montgomery County was canceled on Friday, and the Rogers Island Military Camp reenactment event was also canceled. The Rogers Island reenactment had been held in Fort Edward for the last 25 years, according to CBS 6.

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new gun policies into law earlier this year that ban people from carrying firearms at most hospitals, restaurants, transit systems, Times Square, parks, schools, theaters and other areas deemed “sensitive locations.”

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Revolutionary war reenactors walk with a US flag in celebration of Memorial Day in John Paul Jones Park in Bay Ridge on May 31, 2021, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Revolutionary war reenactors walk with a US flag in celebration of Memorial Day in John Paul Jones Park in Bay Ridge on May 31, 2021, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (John Lamparski/Getty Images)

The new laws came in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that New York’s regulations on obtaining a concealed carry permit were unconstitutionally restrictive. 

“We don’t need guns on our streets. We don’t need people carrying guns in our subways. We don’t need people carrying guns in our schools. We don’t need people carrying in our places of worship. We don’t need them carrying them into bars or restaurants. Because that only makes people less safe,” Hochul said earlier this month. 

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Hochul’s office released a statement last week that, “These laws allow historical re-enactments to occur, and there should be no concern otherwise.”

 World War 1 Military reenactors march in the Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2019, in New York City. President Donald Trump, the first sitting U.S. president to attend New York's parade, offered a tribute to veterans ahead of the 100th annual parade which draws thousands of vets and spectators from around the country. 

 World War 1 Military reenactors march in the Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2019, in New York City. President Donald Trump, the first sitting U.S. president to attend New York’s parade, offered a tribute to veterans ahead of the 100th annual parade which draws thousands of vets and spectators from around the country.  (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

But participants of reenactments are still hesitant that the laws mean they could be prosecuted for being in possession of a musket in an area such as a park, which has been deemed a “sensitive location.” Live ammunition is not used during reenactments. 

“Legal minds have told us that the law is the law,” Nicholson told WRGB. “It doesn’t matter what the governor says, we could be prosecuted. Because of that we didn’t want any liability against Rogers Island Visitor Center or the village and town of Fort Edward.”

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Redcoats offer cheer after re-enacting their victory in the Battle of Brooklyn. The 239th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn was reenacted in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Redcoats offer cheer after re-enacting their victory in the Battle of Brooklyn. The 239th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn was reenacted in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. (Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

An attorney in Albany argued that lawmakers need to make the laws more clear and define the meaning of “historical reenactment,” adding that participants of war reenactments are correct to cancel the events. 

“Right now, this is a felony to bring your antique flintlock musket into a public sensitive area where these reenactments are taking place,” Albany Attorney Paul DerOhannesian told CBS 6. 

A girl from the Long Island Historical Association dresses as a child during an American Revolution reenactment at the 102nd annual Veterans Day parade on November 11, 2021, in New York City.

A girl from the Long Island Historical Association dresses as a child during an American Revolution reenactment at the 102nd annual Veterans Day parade on November 11, 2021, in New York City. ( Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

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“No lawyer would recommend an individual to follow the word of any leader or individual when the law is very clear that this is illegal,” he added. 

Hochul’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment and whether the law will be clarified.