Sheriffs: @NYGovCuomo asked for silence

Sheriffs: NY Gov Cuomo asked for silence

The sheriffs thought they were being summoned to the Capitol to discuss ideas for changes to New York’s gun control law, the SAFE Act. Instead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told them to keep quiet.

Opposition to the new law has simmered in upstate areas since Cuomo signed the law in January. Many county sheriffs oppose it, particularly its expanded definition of banned assault weapons, and have spoken out around the state. In January, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association wrote Cuomo with an analysis, and later suggested tweaks.
Cuomo invited its leaders to the Capitol last month, people briefed on the meeting said. The group included Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Peter Kehoe and Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss.
“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 said. “When we got there, we never got to the contents of the letter.”
Instead, Cuomo pushed the sheriffs to stop publicly speaking out against the act, Moss said.
“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 Cuomo said sheriffs can’t do that and enforce the law.
One person briefed on the meeting said Cuomo threatened to remove sheriffs from office, a little-used power afforded the state’s chief executive under the state constitution. Moss would not confirm this. He did say the meeting was heated at times, but overall he described it as “cordial.”
Kehoe did not return calls, and Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi declined to comment. An administration official, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss a private meeting, “strongly” denied Cuomo had threatened to remove any sheriff.
Last week, the Sheriffs’ Association as well as several elected sheriffs filed an amicus curiae brief supporting a federal challenge to the SAFE Act.
“We’re not really protesting the law; we’re protesting the methodology in which the law was forced upon the people without input of the people,” said Livingston County Sheriff John York, a Republican who chairs the group’s executive committee.
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard has said he “won’t enforce” the act.
Cuomo has said the law will “save lives.”
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.
In the amicus brief, the sheriffs wrote: “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.”
Asked last week about the court brief, Cuomo said, “They’re free to litigate — God bless America.”
He did not directly say if he thought sheriffs should speak out against laws they enforce, but said, “They’re politicians. They run for office, too.”
On Monday, Cuomo said Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola was “not upholding the law” when he said last week he would refuse to release permit-holder information. The law allows permit holders to make their information exempt from state Freedom of Information Law disclosure if they apply and meet set criteria.
Merola, a Republican, said that sifting through the applications would take resources his office cannot spare. Instead, he will not release any pistol permit data.
“That’s not for a county clerk to do on a blanket basis,” Cuomo said. “You can’t decide what the law is or change the law — their job is to enforce the law administratively.” • 518-454-5081 • @JimmyVielkind
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Posted on May 21, 2013, in Government, Guns/NRA, New York, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Dale Richards

    Fast track legislation is wrong in so many way’s and this particular one is marked for failure, in it’s present form, as we can see from those who actually thought out the results beforehand, won’t be enforcing it out of respect for sane minded gun-owners AND their own well being. Personal political agendas be Damned !!

  2. Come to the Capitol at Albany, Tuesday, June 11th for the unSAFE Act Protest! Join me and thousands more of your countrymen and lend your hand at opposing this outrage!

  3. We as a free people should remove our gov from office because of his corruption, and not being there for the people of NY. he is not a good example of a gov .

  4. Cuomo and the rest of the anti gunners need to back off and quit telling the Sheriffs they have no 1st Amendment rights. The Sheriffs union need to file a legal lawsuit against the unconstitutional laws. NY Gun owners… keep rallying against those anti 2nd Amendment laws. Sheriffs…. may have to use the strike scenario to get their attention!!!!

  5. What i have to say has been said a million times. we are One of the toughest states laws on weapons in the country yet criminales still use weapons in the comission of a crime. Law biding gun owners are NOT the probblem. Stop paroling every criminal to make yourself look good. That is a better start than gun laws. Make the punishment higher if you use a weapon in the comission of a crime.

  6. cuomo is power hungry.the sheriffs have 1st amendement rights just like us lucky people whom live under cuomo dictator ship.can you wonder what it would be like if he makes it to the white house in 2016. what this man is telling every new yorker you have NO conctitutional rights in this state! this man has to much power! it like germany in 30 & 40,s. he must be kept
    out of office or prepair for the thought oboma is bad ,watch this idot

  7. Ask your self how safe an act is that all LEO’S are against. First the media releases their addresses, and now limits the amount of rounds, retired Leo’s, security and the law abiding citizens can carry. Sounds extremely reckless to me. Nothing safe about the bad guys out gunning the good guys. Wake up public, the reckless Governor wants to be President. Leave that for stand up men like Governor Chris Christie.

  8. Gun owners had better wake up! The so-called assault weapon’s ban is a fraud. It’s the progressive liberal’s appeal to the ignorant, because the ban addresses only the appearance of a gun, not its operation. Anti gun zealots want one thing, total disarmament, and they are doing it incrementally. Today its assault weapons, tomorrow its Grandpa’s doubles barrel. They are being assisted by a biased and dishonest media and an equally dishonest government. The recently passed NY SAFE act is evidence of that. This seriously flawed legislation, passed in the dead of night, didn’t even exempt our hard-working police officers from its foolish provisions. The authors of this piece of detritus should be disbarred! These same liberal hucksters have demonized the NRA for its diligent opposition to the gun banner’s efforts, trying to paint the organization as simply a shill for the firearm’s industry. Sounds strikingly familiar to the “Big Oil and Big Tobacco” screed that we’ve heard for years. The NRA is the lone ship in the sea protecting our second amendment rights from a school of sanctimonious sharks looking to disarm us all. And I’m one gun owner whose glad the NRA is there! If you believe in the 2nd amendment, you’d better be a member of the NRA!!

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