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Local News

April 17, 2013

Sheriffs: New gun laws cost time, money

Two local law enforcement officials said Tuesday that New York’s strict new gun control laws are already costing their agencies money, complaining that the statute amounts to another unfunded state mandate on county governments.

Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. said his agency has seen the work load associated with processing gun permits increase by approximately 90 percent in just one year.

“We’ve been swamped since this law was enacted,” Devlin said of the New York SAFE Act, which was hurried through the state Legislature in January. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has touted the measure, designed to restrict access to guns redefined by the legislation as assault weapons, as a first-in-the-nation response to the massacre of school children and teachers at a Connecticut school in December.

Devlin said he plans to notify the Public Safety Committee of the county’s Board of Representatives today that he will likely need additional personnel to assist in the increased processing of documents related to firearms permits.

In Delaware County, Undersheriff Craig DuMond said the state’s new gun law is also causing headaches for his agency.

“Absolutely we’re going to incur additional expenses to handle the administrative work behind this,” DuMond said. “The governor continues to say he understands the effect the unfunded mandates are having on local governments. However, this is another one coming right down the river being passed on to us.”

Cuomo has argued the legislation will make New Yorkers safer from gun violence. In a radio interview last week, he contended the criticism of the SAFE Act was being engineered by “extreme fringe conservatives” opposed to gun regulation. “In politics, we have to be willing to take on the extremists, otherwise you will see paralysis,” Cuomo said.

DuMond scoffed at the claim that the measure is opposed by extremists, noting more than 45 county governments have called for it to be either repealed or amended and pointing out that even the Otsego County Democratic Committee has called for significant alterations.

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