Opinion

NY Gov. Cuomo tries to silence anti-gun control sheriffs

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo summoned a group of sheriffs to the Capitol, where they thought they would be discussing changes to New York’s gun control law, the SAFE Act, but instead, Cuomo told them he wanted them to “keep quiet” and not oppose the law, according to the Times Union.

Gov Cuomo gun law protest
Photo credit: TimesUnion.com

County sheriffs in upstate areas have voiced opposition since Cuomo signed the law in January. They particularly oppose the expanded definition of banned assault weapons, and have been very vocal around the state. The New York State Sheriffs’ Association sent Cuomo suggestions for changes in January.

Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss expected to discuss those recommendations when Cuomo invited Sheriffs’ Association leaders to the capitol in April.

“We didn’t get a response (to the analysis) from him, but we could tell after the budget was passed that none of those recommendations were taken into consideration,” Moss told the Times Union. “When we got there, we never got to the contents of the letter.”

“The governor was of the opinion that the sheriffs around the state should not be interjecting their personal opinions in reference to the law,” Moss said, adding that Coumo pushed the sheriffs to stop speaking publically against the act.

While many sheriffs are challenging the act, Cuomo says it will save lives. According to the Times Union:

The law broadened the definition of banned assault weapons, increased penalties for illegal gun possession, reduced public access to gun permit information and required mental health professionals to report concerns about a gun-owning patient who posed a risk of harming himself or others. It bans any magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, and bars people from loading magazines with more than seven cartridges.

The bill was unveiled on Jan. 14 and passed through a “message of necessity” that waived a three-day waiting period. The Senate, led by a Republican-dominated coalition, passed the bill by a 43-18 vote hours after the text became public. The Democrat-dominated Assembly passed it the next day, and Cuomo signed it.

The sheriffs wrote in the amicus brief: “Law enforcement’s work is made more difficult attempting to enforce unclear laws that harm, rather than promote, public safety. The laws appear willfully blind to legitimate safety interests, and instead are tailored to impact, and negatively impact, law-abiding firearm owners.”

“They’re free to litigate — God bless America,” Cuomo said when asked about the brief.

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