Madison County sheriff offers opinion of new NYS gun law


To the editor:

This week, sheriffs from across New York state met in Albany to carefully review the NY Safe Act. At the conclusion of the week, the sheriffs in attendance in conjunction with the NYS Sheriffs’ Association formulated a formal position statement.

There are a number of provisions in the law which I along with other sheriffs felt were helpful to law enforcement officials and our citizens. There were also a number of the provisions that caused a concern to me and other sheriffs. We believed that these provisions of concern should be reexamined by our governor and our legislatures.

There are six provisions of the new law which I believe will increase the safety of our citizens:

1) Restricting the Freedom of Information Law request regarding pistol permit holders.

2) The killing of emergency first responders would be an automatic aggravated or murder in the first degree charge requiring life without parole.

3) National Instant Criminal Background Check check on private sales of firearms.

4) Comprehensive review of mental health records for issuance of new permits and to determine if revocations of current permits are required for mental health reasons.

5) Safe storage of firearms.

6) Increased penalties for illegal use of weapons.

There are other provisions that were reviewed in which I believe need to be revisited:

1) Assault weapon ban and the definition of assault weapons is too broad and prevents the law-abiding gun owner the possession of such firearms that are legitimately used for hunting, target shooting and self-defense.

2) Inspection of schools by state agencies, which gives them the responsibility to review safety plans. The funding for such review will be giving to these state agencies to implement such safety plans. I believe that sheriffs and local police agencies can perform these duties effectively and efficiently. As the chief law enforcement officer of the county, I feel that sheriffs and local police agencies are in the best position to know the security needs of the schools in their jurisdiction. The state should pass this funding onto the sheriff and local police agencies to keep our school safe, because we are already deeply involved school safe plans.

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