FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Tactical Pants - Galls
A popular choice for public safety professionals, the Galls Tactical Pants are...

Top News

N.Y. Sheriffs Won't Enforce Gun-Control Law

September 09, 2013  | 

Photo via Schoharie County SO.
Photo via Schoharie County SO.
A New York sheriff says he won't enforce the state's restrictive gun law passed earlier this year because he considers it unconstitutional.

Schoharie County (N.Y.) Sheriff Tony Desmond told The Daily Star he wouldn't enforce the law and won't do anything to cause law-abiding citizens to turn in their weapons or arrest them for possessing firearms.

Desmond and several other New York sheriffs have come out against the SAFE Act that was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January. The New York State Sheriffs' Association has joined a lawsuit challenging the gun-control law filed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and supported by the National Rifle Association.

Several New York sheriffs said the law's assault weapons ban is too broad and will take away hunting rifles from law-abiding citizens. Sheriffs opposing the law are also against reducing pistol magazine capacity from 10 to seven.

In July, Gov. Cuomo signed an exemption that would allow retired law enforcement officers to keep higher capacity magazines and so-called assault weapons they acquired while on the force, reports the New York Daily News.

Comments (36)

Displaying 1 - 36 of 36

Bob@Az. @ 9/9/2013 3:32 PM

FANTASTIC!!! More and more real Americans are standing up to these control freaks trying to bring this country down. Lets take this to the voting booths and get rid of these anti-Americans before they finalize their quest. Rember your oaths! Blues, stay Safe.

Jack Betz @ 9/9/2013 3:35 PM

I have no use for the weapons ban of any kind. However, for better or worse, Police do not make laws nor do they decide which laws to enforce.

Larry Peterson @ 9/9/2013 4:12 PM

Since when do Sheriffs have the power to decide what is Constitutional ? He oversteps the power of his badge,and should be removed from office. Selective enforcement is the first sign that elected officials are not responding to the Law of the Land-instead, he makes his own?

Larry Peterson @ 9/9/2013 4:14 PM

After the second try to post here and watch it disappear-one wonders-why bother?

Larry Peterson @ 9/9/2013 4:18 PM

Perhaps you can tell me where I violated your policy? If not, please remove me from your list. It is obvious that you select who you like,and I will learn to accept rejection from such an unimportant piece of junk.

Sam Pecckinpaw @ 9/9/2013 4:20 PM

Have at it looney toons!

Chuck @ 9/9/2013 4:32 PM

Well Larry, I would say when the sheriff understands that the monarchy is and has been violating the constitution of the United States of America and when it is determined that the ruling class in Washington are no longer conducting the peoples business but are instead, conducting their own at the expense of the American public. Answer enough for you, we the people are getting very tired.

E. Craig @ 9/9/2013 4:36 PM

It's as old as the hills, nothing new. It's called "discretion."

Timothy Copeland @ 9/9/2013 4:37 PM

Since when do cops decide the constitutionality of a law or judicial pronouncement? If a judge issued an order immediately before a murder trial commanding a sheriff "to remove the defendant from the courthouse, to find a sturdy oaktree and to hang the defendant by the neck until he is dead", should the sheriff follow this order? OF COURSE COPS HAVE THE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY TO ENFORCE THE LAW, CONSISTENCE WITH THE CONSTITUTION!!!! Only trouble is, if a LEO chooses to not enforce a law or order, he or she must be prepared to defend his decision and, if necessary, to suffer the consequences ... Only sheriffs have the intestinal fortitude to look the governor and legislature in the eye and say NO!! Sheriffs serve the people, not the politicians. Police chiefs, many times mere political appointees of mayors or city managers, are faint of heart when it comes to taking a stand that could affect their retirement income...

TheRookie @ 9/9/2013 4:41 PM

Larry, All Sheriffs throughout the United States swear an oath to up hold their respective State, and the U.S. Constitution just like any other gov't official. Elected and/or appointed. Yes, like Colorado they can dictate the enforcement of this non-legal law. Are you a current or retired L.E.O.? I bet not. Case closed.

Richard Stanley @ 9/9/2013 5:49 PM

I'm here to tell Larry Peterson that there is such a thing as a lawful order and an unlawful order. The problem facing most people today is that they have to think about what they are enforcing. In the case of a law many consider to be unconstitutional they choose not to enforce it. The same goes in any military operation. If you think you've been given an unlawful order it is your duty to protest and not to follow it. Many people believe you follow orders out of necessity and in cases of Martial Law , War and other situations you may not see the whole picture and may run afoul of a lawful order. This is one of the shortcomings of our current "President elect". He has little experience and even less wisdom.

richard l isaacs @ 9/9/2013 7:18 PM


Lenny @ 9/9/2013 7:52 PM

Here's a thought, why not let the majority, through the democratic process decide which laws should be enforced. I fail to see how having the type of people who threaten to arrest volunteers trying to hand out food to the hungry is in any way a good idea. Or perhaps that wonderful group from the Long Beach Police who like beating people with batons, ya let's make them the group that decides which laws to enforce. I don't suppose any of you have a problem with the law allowing you to keep your assault rifles?

Troop @ 9/10/2013 12:52 AM

Good. In the oath we are given, the constitution comes before the laws of the state.

JD @ 9/10/2013 1:36 AM

In response to the above poster (Timothy Copeland). You said " Only sheriffs have the intestinal fortitude to look the governor and legislature in the eye and say NO!! Sheriffs serve the people, not the politicians. Police chiefs, many times mere political appointees of mayors or city managers, are faint of heart when it comes to taking a stand that could affect their retirement income..."

At least in California most Sheriff's are elected which allows them a lot more leverage when dealing with those politicians. Most Police Chiefs if not all are hired and not elected. They unfortunately, must follow the orders given them by their city managers and Mayors or they can be fired. So their ability to refuse to enforce certain laws is much more limited than their counterpart Sheriff's.

So for the Police Chiefs, intestinal fortitude or faint of heart is irrelevant.

Dan @ 9/10/2013 3:50 AM

JD, I agree with you. I was raised in SLO County. The current Sheriff Ian Parkinson and I were Police Explorers together back in the day. He has chosen to sign on to the national petition as well as writing directly to the Governor and the President in opposition of any of these anti-gun/2nd Amendment/Unconstitutional laws.

Mike @ 9/10/2013 4:30 AM

back durning the Vietnam war,
we were taught NOT to obey ILLEGAL ORDERS .
What has happened that politicians can circumvent the constitution.
ANY law that voilates the constitution is ILLEGAL !!!

Trigger @ 9/10/2013 4:42 AM

E.Craig you are correct in "discretion", my only words are maybe the sheriff should have just used discretion and not spoke up about it.

JAG @ 9/10/2013 5:26 AM

Hey Larry maybe this is where Sheriff's get their authority:"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness". Sound familiar? If modern day liberals aren't "destructive of these ends" then who is?

Robert Godeaux @ 9/10/2013 6:34 AM

If we cant stop the liberal politicians from having it there way we will be helpless in our homes, outside our homes, working, shopping. I think you get it, we will not be able to defend ourselves or our families. Sounds like some other countries I can think of. Have you heard these words before "Socialism Communist". History repeats itself, just a few rich and powerful, and what about the rest of us? Well I think you can figure it out. Way to go sheriffs !
Chief, Robert Godeaux

From the great state of Texas

jon @ 9/10/2013 6:46 AM

God Bless The Bill of Rights, and all the Constitutional Sheriffs who stand for freedom no matter what the cost.

Molon Labe

James @ 9/10/2013 6:47 AM

Larry has no clue about Constitutional law. The Sheriff is the highest legal authority in his area of interest. Larry might try a study in Constitutional law and learn something other than what he thinks he knows. Yes also the sheriff did swear to uphold the Constitution and not the wishes of a politician.

James @ 9/10/2013 6:59 AM

Lenny you need to google "Founding Fathers on Democracy" and read the utter content they had for MOB rule we call Democracy. Since the 1970's there has been a dumbing down of the citizens through the Government school system, and television and media has participated so the Fabian socialists we used to call Marxists can get their slave nation Utopia in place by 2020 as they planned. We have Constitutional Republic, not a Mob rule Democracy. It's time to unlearn the lies we have been taught.

James @ 9/10/2013 7:01 AM

Lenny you need to google "Founding Fathers on Democracy" and read the utter contempt* they had for MOB rule we call Democracy. Since the 1970's there has been a dumbing down of the citizens through the Government school system, and television and media has participated so the Fabian socialists we used to call Marxists can get their slave nation Utopia in place by 2020 as they planned. We have Constitutional Republic, not a Mob rule Democracy. It's time to unlearn the lies we have been taught.

Sorry about the typos* on the previous post....

Joe @ 9/10/2013 7:12 AM

Plain and simple. The Constitution which both Law Enforcement Officers and politicians swore to uphold. Just seems that some politicians either forgot that or don't know what it means. Obviously if you disagree with the Constitution of the United States of America you are free to move to a place that has one you do agree with ;)

Boston @ 9/10/2013 12:06 PM

Glad to see some Law Enforcement folks still have a back bone. I cannot understand why so many people continue to drink the Kool Aid. I hate to say remember the good old days.

Charles Rutta @ 9/10/2013 2:08 PM

Remember the Nazi War Crimes trials at Nuremburg? All the Nazis defended what they had done in the concentration camps by saying they were just following orders - we don't make the rules we just follow orders. Keep this in mind when you here someone say "I just enforce the laws I don't make them." We in LE in America are not little Nazis - we are Americans first and we had better know where the lines are.

Tony @ 9/10/2013 2:48 PM

To all who think the understand what a police chief does. I am a police chief. I do not take orders regarding the enforcement of laws from anyone. My obligation is stated in the oath of office I took, and have taken many times before. That is, that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and that I will faithfully execute the laws of the State of Texas. That is just a paraphrase of a part of the oath I have taken. The Sheriff in Texas is the chief law enforcement officer of the county, the police chief is the chief conservator of the peace in his city, etc etc. Those of you who think the chief is subservient to the mayor, city council is not really wired into reality!!

Tony @ 9/10/2013 2:52 PM

I don't need anyone else to define the constitution or any of the bill of rights to me. I took the oath to defend the constitution of the U.S.! Therefore, it is incumbent on me to know the law, and the constitution. If any law violates the constitution of the U.S., the constitution wins out. End of story

westcoastleo @ 9/10/2013 3:48 PM

In Los Angeles the recently retired mayor (Villa-idiot regosa and the current Police Chief, Spinless Beck) wanted officers not enforce the Calif Veh code of 30 day impound for drivers driving unlicensed or suspended. They both claimed that it was unfair for poor people to see their car get towed to the impound lot for 30 days and that the fees were un fair for each day in the lot. This is a STATE law that these two nerds tried to bend for all unlicensed drivers in the City Of Los Angeles only. So this is what I ask for the Chief, Why dont we bend the law to make not having a ccw fit in with a person who is carrying a gun? Oh no, but thats a gun issue, we cant have people carring guns without a ccw and let them go. But it's ok to let an unlicensed driver get his / her car back in an hour so they can drive on the street an kill someone. Im a current LASD supervisor and have been for 33.9 years. We have enough gun laws. Enforce just one quarter or half and we'd be ok.

Ima Leprechaun @ 9/10/2013 3:50 PM

Any Sheriff of Chief of Police that publically refuses to uphold any legally enacted law in the State of New York is guilty of: Misfeasance of duty: in law, the abuse of lawful authority in order to achieve a desired result. Malfeasance of duty: conduct by a public official that cannot be legally justified or that conflicts with the law. Nonfeasance of duty: in law, the omission of some act that is expected to have been performed.
Any Sheriff or Chief of Police that is refusing to enforce this law should be immediately relieved of duty by the Governor of New York. As I have frequently read in these blogs very few law enforcement officer's ever bother to read their state Constitution or the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and codified ordinances and they frequnetly fail to uphold their sworn oath of office. To swear any oath of office it is important to read and agree to what you are swearing your allegience to and be willing to faithfully protect and defend your oath to uphold all laws and not just the ones you agree with.

Kevin @ 9/11/2013 6:09 PM

To Larry Peterson:
Larry, you need to wake up. During the 1940s it was perfectly legal under German law to confiscate property and goods (steal) from Jews, then exterminate 6.5 million of them. The idea that "it's the law and therefore, we MUST obey it without question" is foolishness. Google "Lt. William Calley" and the "My Lai" massacre and you will see the result of unquestioning and mindless obedience. Our fore fathers broke English law when they rebelled against the king during the 1770s (the colonies were under the lawful jurisdiction of the King of England at that time). As a retired USAF NCO, former city police officer and deputy I know that I personally have the obligation and duty to ensure my compliance with any order is lawful. These sheriffs are both law and oath keepers by virtue of them ensuring their actions are consistent with the oath they have taken. It's time to open your eyes Larry, and start seeing what is going one.

Lenny @ 9/11/2013 8:51 PM

How do you feel about asset forfeiture?
You know that wonderful law that allows
you guys to keep all the money. You know where are 10 times
more stops on the side of the road where they believe money
may be going out than on the side where the drugs are coming in?
I'm sure you and the rest have no problem at all enforcing that
law. And as far as letting the drugs in, that is the "war on drugs"
at it's finest. It's probably mostly going to people who aren't white
and fat.

Lee @ 9/13/2013 8:33 AM

A big patriotic THANK YOU! to all law enforcement officers who defend our freedoms.

Troop @ 9/16/2013 8:37 PM

Great job not blindly following an unconstitutional law just because its called a law.

Sgt. Mike @ 9/18/2013 10:57 PM

Since the Sheriff is a "sworn" Office I think it IS his job to decide if a law violates the clear meaning of the Constitution. After all, he "swore" to defend the Constitution form enemies foreign and domestic. What else would he be sworn to do? Protect the parchment itself? NO, he swore to defend the intent and purpose for which it was written…and here we see him doing just that.

The Oligarchy is run amuck, and We The People, must say THIS is too far. Bravo Sheriffs of New York.

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

FN Releases FN 509 Training Pistol for Law Enforcement Agencies
The FN 509 Training Pistol is an inert pistol made to provide law enforcement agencies and...
Axon Announces First 2 Agencies to Purchase New TASER 7
Axon announced the Fort Worth (TX) Police Department and the Nevada Highway Patrol as the...

Police Magazine