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September 7, 2013

Local sheriff: I won't enforce gun law

Don’t expect any change in local enforcement of New York’s SAFE Act following recent comments by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. That was the response from two local sheriff’s departments and a state legislator Friday when asked to comment on what Cuomo had to say.

Cuomo’s office drafted and pushed through the gun law in January, which, among other provisions, bans New York sales of some popular semi-automatic rifles and gives owners a year to register those they already owned. It also limited magazine capacity in most cases to seven bullets.

Talking to reporters Wednesday, Cuomo said law enforcement’s job is to enforce all the laws, which are enacted by the Legislature. To do otherwise “would obviously be chaos” and “a dangerous and frightening precedent.”

The New York State Sheriffs Association and five individual sheriffs have joined a court effort to block enforcement of new bullet limits for magazines and firearms restrictions.

Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said he has no intention of enforcing the law, and that his office won’t do anything that would cause law-abiding citizens to turn in their weapons or arrest them for possessing firearms.

“I’m not going back on my personal conviction,” he said. Residents have told him this is what they want, he said, and “I’ve stood up for them, and I will continue to do so.”

Gun owners in his county have a tradition of being hunters and outdoorsmen possessing all types of weapons, Desmond said.

“They generally treat them safely,” he said. “If the governor thinks I am wrong, so be it.”

He was more concerned about doing what was right for the citizens of his county, he said. If there is a problem with guns, it is more in the urban areas — that is where the focus should be.

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