Candidates for local, state and federal offices made their case for support from voters with a deep interest in the second amendment when they spoke before those gathered for the 14th annual SCOPE Pig Roast Aug. 28.

SCOPE (Shooters Committee On Political Education) hosts political candidates during the forum each year before the Primary Election.

The organization will hold another open forum on Oct. 3 at the Penn Yan Elks Lodge, according to President Jack Prendergast.

Many of the speakers Saturday stressed that the coming Nov. 8 election is critical, and pointed to the potential for Supreme Court changes if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Yates County Republican Chair Sandy King, a strong supporter of Donald Trump, said, “If Hillary Clinton wins, you will lose your gun rights. It’s a foregone conclusion.”

Republican Wendy Long, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D) said, “The second amendment is not some right invented by government. It’s something we possess naturally from birth. It’s a natural human right from God. No one can take it away.”

Candidates touched on other topics, with some challenging their opponent’s records or their stand on issues.

Leslie Danks Burke, a Democrat who is challenging incumbent Tom O’Mara (R) for the 58th New York Senate seat, said O’Mara has not stood up to downstate politicians to keep upstate money here for schools and infrastructure.

But O’Mara said he and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano have fought hard to reach parity between downstate and upstate in transportation funds, and said, “The flow of money in New York State is a $6 Billion flow from downstate to upstate. not the other way around.”

Congressman Tom Reed (R) questioned challenger John Plumb’s stand on gun control, saying Plumb told the Hornell Evening Tribune in January that he (Plumb) supports the President’s executive actions on gun control.

Plumb’s comments in that article included, “I don’t like the president’s unilateral approach because Republicans and Democrats alike should work together to find solutions to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill — which Tom Reed opposes, and our current Congress steadfastly refuses to do anything about.”

Plumb spoke briefly, addressing second amendment rights, promising, “I’ve defended the entire Consitution my whole life and I don’t expect that to change.”

Reed also defended his endorsement of Donald Trump, saying he made the decision to endorse the Republican presidential candidate because Trump is the choice of the people. When other Republicans in Washington pushed for action to keep the nomination from going to Trump, Reed said he told them, “So you’re telling me we’ve got to throw out democracy to save democracy because you think you know better? I said ‘Hell no,’ I’m on the side of the 15 million people who engaged in democracy and expressed their vote for Donald Trump. He is the people’s choice.”

While most of the focus of the afternoon was on gun rights issues, local candidates for Yates County Judge — Matthew Conlon, Jason Cook, and Valerie Gardner also spoke to the crowd, as did Charles Shiano Jr., who his seeking election to the Supreme Court Judge in teh 7th Judicial District, and Ronald Dailey, who is seeking election to the Yates County Coroner post again.

To see videos of some of the speakers, visit