Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports that he and his fellow sheriffs in the New York State Sheriffs’ Association (NYSSA) have issued a joint position paper regarding the several gun laws recently enacted by the state. Sheriff Smith, who is also the President of the NYSSA and the Chairman of its Legislative Committee, said the position paper was drafted this week during at a NYSSA conference in Albany, attended by 52 of the state’s 58 sheriffs, and was sent to the governor’s office. Copies of the position paper and the NYSSA letter to the governor can be downloaded here.
“The 52 sheriffs at this week’s conference analyzed and weighed-in on the several newly enacted state laws, ” said Sheriff Smith, “and that brought well over a thousand years of collective law enforcement experience to bear in that analysis. ” As is stated more fully in the position paper, the Sheriffs expressed support for several of the new laws but voiced concerns that some of the laws were either impractical, of questionable constitutionality, or would tend to reduce rather than enhance the safety of law-abiding citizens.
“My deepest concern about some of the new laws, ’ said Sheriff Smith, “is that those laws will work to the advantage of criminals, who will ignore the new restrictions in the same way that criminals always ignore laws, and to the disadvantage of law-abiding citizens, by giving an upper hand in weaponry to the criminals and thus diminishing the citizens’ ability to defend themselves and their loved ones against violence. “
The sheriffs also stated their concern that the process by which the new state legislation was rushed to enactment did not allow for adequate comment and input from all interested parties. “The new laws were passed without asking for input from across the law enforcement community, ” said Sheriff Smith, “and that is why we sheriffs now had to take it upon ourselves, following passage of the laws, to bring our concerns about the laws to the governor’s attention. “