NYâ??s new gun laws generating more reaction and controversy, state sheriffs have mixed review
By Laura Hand
Mon, 28 Jan 2013 18:29:10 GMT — New York State may have been the first to pass new gun restrictions in light of the Newtown killings and other deadly events, but the reaction to what is now law continues. The New York State Sheriffâ??s Association has come out with a four page position paper praising the legislation for several points, including better record keeping, more severe penalties for killing emergency first responders, and illegal weapons use. However, the stateâ??s sheriffs are critical of other provisions including the definition of assault weapons and the enforceability of several points, including recertification of pistol permits and gun registration. Sheriffs do not believe reducing ammunition magazine capacities will cut gun violence. They also say ammunition sales provisions are unclear. Sheriffs are critical of the way the bill was passed, saying â??stakeholders in this important issue are left feeling ignoredâ??. They say they will not go door-to-door confiscating newly categorized assault weapons. We spoke with two sheriffs: Onondaga County's Kevin Walsh tells us that in some cases, they felt the governor should have gone further, for example on keeping permit-holding information confidential. However, he calls the law 'opportunistic' and not giving an opportunity for discussion of 'the illogic of some of the limitations.' He says the law should not have been passed without more input from stakeholders in the gun issues, including law enforcers and people who own and use guns. Walsh has a several inches thick stack of papers at his desk, comments on the new law emailed and sent in, as well as previous court decisions on gun control. He's convinced this new law will be in Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd was also outspoken today. 'This bill would not have stopped any of those shooters,' he told us, referring to the governor's impetus for quick passage, the mass shootings at Newtown and Webster.'The only thing it's making it stiffer and tougher for,' he says,'is the honest citizen.....There's nothing here that's gonna prevent a criminal from getting a gun.' There are several online petitions calling for impeachment of Governor Andrew Cuomo on the gun issue, one with close to 20-thousand New Yorkers' signatures. One is directed at President Barack Obama, who clearly does not have the authority to impeach a governor; however, there must be a response if the White House gets 100,000 petition signatures on any topic. The threshold for signatures it used to be 25,000, but theyâ??ve increased it to avoid â??frivolityâ?? requests, like on the recent death star debate . The NY State Rifle and Pistol Association has filed notice of suit, planning to challenge the new law. The NRA plans to join in the lawsuit when it is filed. Former Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll, a member of the Governor's cabinet, was in Cortland earlier this month where he defended the gun control measures against critics who claim it tramples the second amendment and was rushed through in the dark of the night with closed door negotiations. The NY State District Attorney's Association is also on record as supporting the NY SAFE Act
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