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Sheriff Says He Won’t Enforce N.Y. Gun Control Law And Wins Reelection

sheriffOne of the strictest gun control laws [1] in the nation decided an election for county sheriff in upstate New York, with a sheriff who is opposed to it winning.

Political observers say that Timothy B. Howard [2] was reelected sheriff of Erie County near Buffalo because of his opposition to the so-called SAFE Act.

“I won’t enforce it,” Howard said of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (popularly called the “SAFE ACT) passed by the New York state legislature and signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

It helped Howard, a Republican, become only one of three people elected to a fourth term as Erie County sheriff since the county was created in 1821.

“The SAFE Act [2] was a major issue in this election,” political consultant Carl J. Calabrese told The Buffalo News. “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 like this one, it can make all the difference.”

SAFE ACT causes Democrats to Vote Republican

The SAFE Act [3] is extremely unpopular in rural Eire County and it even deeply divided Democrats. Reporters noted that there were anti-SAFE Act signs all over the county in the weeks leading up to the election.

Howard faced both a Democratic opponent and an anti-gun control liberal [4] who was seeking Democratic votes by running on the Law and Order Party ticket.

How to hide your guns, and other off grid caches… [5]

“When he took that position, it gave him a wedge into Democrats who would not normally vote for a Republican,” Calabrese said of Howard. “A lot of Democrats are blue-collar people, union people, hunters and gun owners.”

Even though it is rural, Erie County is hardly a small place. The Erie County Sheriff’s Department has more than 1,000 employees and a budget of $118 million a year.

The SAFE Act Explained

So what exactly is the SAFE Act and why are some New Yorkers so upset about it? SAFE has strong support from Andrew Cuomo (son of Mario).

The provisions of the SAFE ACT [6] include:

With Howard’s re-election, it looks there may be more opposition to gun control than even supporters thought.