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Fulton County sheriff wants to throw part of the SAFE Act out in the trash

Dennis van Zuijlekom
via Flickr

The sheriff of Fulton County, which rests in the southern Adirondacks, is no fan of New York's fairly new gun control laws, but he  is causing a stir by telling residents there to ignore part them.

A provision of the SAFE ACT, passed in the early days of 2013, requires pistol owners to renew their permits every five years, beginning in 2018. But Fulton County is part of a pilot program to get people to register early. Sheriff Thomas Lorey says he signed up for the pilot program to know what it’s about.

Once he found out, he told a local meeting of the Oath Keepers, a national organization of law enforcement and military members sworn to defend the Constitution, what people should do with them.

"I’m asking everybody who gets those invitations to throw them in the garbage because that’s where they belong," he said to applause.

The speech was posted on YouTube. He went on, "They go in the garbage because for a hundred years or more, since the inception of pistol permits, nobody’s ever been required to renew. It’s a ridiculous way that’s going to cost you money at some point in your life, even though they say it isn’t." 

Lorey tells WRVO in an interview that he’s not advocating anyone break the law. Since the requests are only invitations, they’re not binding, he said, like an invitation to a birthday party.

"I’m not asking anybody to violate any law. I’m asking them not to cooperate with what I believe is an unconstitutional law," he said. "I’m asking them not to help the people that are trying to hurt them."

He says the gun control laws are being fought in the courts, so it’s possible the provisions could be tossed out before the deadline arrives.

Lorey is far from the only rural sheriff to be opposed to the SAFE Act. An organization of sheriffs has publicly derided the law. Most county legislatures in the state have also denounced the measures aimed to crack down on assault-style weapons and unregulated firearms.