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Will Howard also ignore mandatory revocations?

All Erie County residents should be alarmed that Sheriff Timothy Howard has said he will not enforce any provision of the NY SAFE Act. Prior to the SAFE Act, a judge had the option of revoking the pistol permit and guns of someone who was the subject of an order of protection. The SAFE Act made that mandatory instead of just an option. This was a great victory for all New Yorkers, and it will help to keep victims of domestic violence safe.

When the sheriff said that he wouldn’t enforce the SAFE Act, it called into question his willingness to enforce the new mandatory revocations. Does he think revocation should not be mandatory? Will he order his deputies to enforce revocation only in certain instances? This is a very troubling situation, and it calls into question the sheriff’s commitment to actively work to keep all Erie County residents safe.

In 2011, in Long Island and upstate New York, an abuser with a firearm killed 30 percent of victims of intimate partner homicide. In 2010, abusers with firearms caused 46 percent of such homicides. New York State courts issued a total of 301,021 orders of protection in 2011. When the SAFE Act was passed earlier this year, it made sure that a judge asks in every single case: Does the person who will be under this order of protection have a permit and a gun in the home? Removing those guns from the equation will make women safer, and prevent tragedy.

Howard must make sure that the enhanced protections in the SAFE Act are enforced. Residents of Erie County who seek orders of protection deserve the same protections as every other New Yorker.

Suzanne E. Tomkins

Buffalo