Loss of individual rights should be bigger concern
Sheriff Timothy Howard has every right to express his private opinion about any act our state or federal legislatures may pass, guaranteed by the Constitution he is trying to protect. It is well-known that he is opposed to the SAFE Act. Our county has not sent him to Albany to create legislation, only to enforce the laws it has passed, no matter his opinion of the law.
Yes the SAFE Act does pose some restrictions on certain types of weapons, but it does not prevent any lawful citizen from applying for a permit and purchasing any weapon available under the law. Certain assault weapons are banned, but why would any reasonable person need such weapons? They are not legal hunting weapons in New York and we have all seen the drastic consequences of these weapons when placed in the hands of some deranged person.
Of course someone contemplating suicide can use many methods, but by far the easiest is the use of a firearm. If not so readily available, maybe we could save some of these individuals with proper counseling. Also, it is understood that the SAFE Act is not going to make all criminals turn in their illegal weapons. But it is a start in slowing down the tremendous growth of weapons in our country.
Howard quoted Ben Franklin’s famous 1759 saying, which I have hanging in my office. However, I feel that if the sheriff really considered what this quote states, it would be far more appropriate in regard to the trampling of our individual rights by the federal government since 9/11. What has come to light in the past few years would dismay our Founding Fathers a lot more than an act that places some restrictions on our Second Amendment rights.
Mark A. Muchowski