WNYers Heading to Massive NY SAFE Rallies

February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 27, 2013 at 4:22 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 27, 2013 at 4:22 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Another gun rights rally is set for Albany on Thursday. This one is expected to be a massive protest against the state's tough new gun laws. At least 12 busses full of protesters from Erie County will join activists from across New York State.

At a separate rally -- almost 1,200 people who support the NY SAFE Act.

Hundreds of people from both sides will be leaving Western New York before the crack of dawn, to converge at the state's capitol. They will be rallying both for and against New York's new gun law.

The outrage began as soon as Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed the NY SAFE Act.

Protests, one drawing thousands of people, swept the state and Western New York.

County legislatures across the region and the state condemned the law.

The new law has left thousands debating -- is the NY SAFE Act constitutional, and will it help curb gun violence?

Those issues will take center stage as activists from across the state pour into Albany by the thousand.

Hundreds of Western New Yorkers plan to head to Albany early Thursday morning. They will spend about two hours talking to local legislators. At Noon at Capitol Park, the group will join others to protest the NY SAFE Act.

Local Services Employees International Union (SEIU) members were planning to head to the state capital. They would have been representing government and health care workers.

Their goal was to show support for the NY SAFE Act. A handout to union members said the goal is to take on the NRA and big gun companies at a rally of their own. That rally had to be cancelled, representatives say, because state police would not issue a permit due to safety concerns.

Several issues make the rally controversial.

The SAFE Act gives a stricter definition of assault weapons banned in New York. This includes semi-automatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines.

Unless they are modified, New Yorkers with those weapons can no longer use them, and can only sell them out-of-state or through an approved licensee.

The state is also beefing up registration requirements. Anyone with a handgun license or assault weapon must re-certify every five years.

The law also bans high capacity magazines. Gun owners can keep magazines they currently own that hold seven to ten rounds, but could face charges if they put eight or more bullets in.

Channel 7 will have up to the minute coverage of Thursday's rally. Rachel Elzufon will be in Albany, live tweeting as events happen and reporting on Eyewitness News.