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Local News

January 8, 2013

Divide emerges in Albany over guns


A spokesman for Senate Democrats, Mike Murphy, tagged GOP senators as National Rifle Association “pawns” who are “alone in their extremist position an stubborn refusal to address the rampage of gun violence.”

In response, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Kelly Cummings, said it was “unconscionable” for Democrats to refuse to consider increased penalties for gun crimes and tightening mental health laws.

Meanwhile, The Daily Star obtained Otsego County statistics showing that the county revenue from pistol permits increased by more than 50 percent in 2012 over what it collected one year earlier — a total of $8,774 for the first 11 months of 2012 versus $5,648 for the entire 12 months of 2011.

Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr., who said it appears that the increase was driven by people adding guns to their existing permits more than by the issuance of permits to people who never had one before. A permit costs $101.50, while amending a permit runs $3 per each transaction.

Devlin said it wasn’t immediately clear why some people are acquiring more handguns to add to their permits.

As for the debate over gun control, the sheriff said he would like to allow law enforcement agencies to be able to share more information with regard persons taken into custody under mental-health law provisions when they pose a danger to themselves or others. He said his own agency — which administers the pistol permits in the county — only finds out about such mental-health encounters when his own deputies are directly involved.

“We need to fix some of the loopholes before they go out and draw up new laws,” Devlin said.

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