Albany County Sheriff knocks SAFE Act

Local authorities see benefits and downsides to new gun control law

— Police will enforce the new gun control law touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a victory for safety, but that doesn’t mean they have to agree with it.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple isn’t convinced the SAFE Act will make the streets any safer, despite what the legislation’s acronym implies, but thinks it could turn formerly lawful gun owners into criminals. The real problem, according to Apple, isn’t the assault weapons targeted by the law, but rather the illegal handguns already on the streets.

“It does not address our problem locally,” Apple said. “We are addressing an issue that is only going to affect law-abiding citizens.”

Apple, who is a Democrat, says he isn’t “upset” with the governor, but rather the process of how the law was approved — in a hasty manner with little input from outside of the Capitol.

“We were never given a chance, at least the sheriffs in the state, to participate in the debate for or against it because there really wasn’t any,” Apple said. “I certainly want provisions of this law repealed.”

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association previously voiced similar concerns over not being included in discussions and suggested portions of the law be amended or clarified.

“Any time government decides it is necessary or desirable to nibble around the edges of a Constitutional right that it should only be done with caution and with great respect for the Constitutional boundaries,” read a statement previously released by the Sheriffs’ Association. “And it should only be done if the benefit to be gained is so great and certain that it far outweighs the damage done by the constriction of individual liberty. While many of the provisions of this bill have surface appeal, it is far from certain that all, or even many, of them will have any significant effect in reducing gun violence, which is the presumed goal of all of us.”

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