[Video] New York Sheriff on SAFE Act: “I Won’t Enforce It”

December 4 2013
by GSL Staff
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A New York sheriff’s opposition of New York’s latest gun control package, called the SAFE Act, might have helped him cruise to win he reelection bid last month.

During last month’s elections Timothy Howard win a third term as Erie County sheriff. Howard made a simple statement in regards to the SAFE Act prior to the election, “I won’t enforce it.”

According to the Buffalo News,

“I did what I thought was the right thing to do,” Howard told The Buffalo News. “People in Western New York feel strongly about the Constitution and Albany’s misreading of it.”

Howard’s prior terms as sheriff haven’t been without controversy, including the escape and mismanagement of county prisoners. However, his constituent’s dislike of the new gun law was apparently enough to overlook those issues and send Howard sailing into a third term.

Voter’s voiced their concern over the gun law at the polls. Also from Buffalo News,

“The SAFE Act was a major issue in this election,” said Carl J. Calabrese, a former Erie County deputy county executive who now works as a political consultant. “A lot of people in Erie County, both Republicans and Democrats, are hunters, gun owners and shooters … These are motivated people who get out and vote. In a low-turnout election year like this one, it can make a huge difference.”

New York’s SAFE Act was passed, pretty much literally, in the middle of the night following the Sandy Hook shooting last December.

Among the law’s most controversial provisions is a limit on magazine capacity of seven rounds. This makes New York’s magazine law the strictest in the country. New York previously had a limit of 10 rounds, and allowed higher capacity magazines in certain, grandfathered situations.

Many sheriffs across the country publicly announced that they would not enforce gun laws they found to be unconstitutional throughout 2013. Sheriffs, unlike police chiefs, are elected directly by the voters and answer to them first and foremost.

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