Onondaga County sheriff speaks out against new gun control rules

Feb 22, 2013

The Onondaga County sheriff’s office is speaking out on New York’s new gun control rules for the first time.

Sheriff Kevin Walsh helped draft a statement for the New York State Sheriffs Association that was first released a few weeks ago.

The statement says many of the measures in the NY SAFE Act passed in January are not properly explained or will not keep people safer.

Chief Deputy John Balloni says the State Legislature should have consulted law enforcement officials before passing the law.

“There are major loopholes in the law. There are major problems with the law. There was no exception for law enforcement. No exception for the military. Obviously, the law, as governor says, will have to be tweaked,” said Balloni at a press conference Friday.

The sheriffs associations says the new definition of an assault weapon is too broad, and limits what those interested in hunting, target shooting and self-defense can possess. Furthermore, they believe that restrictions on ammunition magazines sizes will not reduce violence and “will not make New Yorkers or our communities safer.”

Identity exemptions

Under New York’s new gun control rules, the names and addresses of gun owners will become public record – unless they apply for an exemption. This is another provision the sheriffs disagree with, stating, “We believe that no one should have to explain why their person information should remain confidential.”

Balloni says their office has been inundated since Tuesday when the forms were made available with hundreds of applications from gun owners to have their identities kept private. They don’t have the personnel to handle all the paperwork, he says.

“We are working diligently. We are reassigning people to try to decrease that delay. We’re not trying to be an obstacle to people that want to exercise their Second Amendment rights. We are simply overwhelmed and we are asking the public for their patience,” says Balloni.

Balloni says all the forms need to be entered manually. Pistol owners have until May 15 to file an exemption application, which can be found here.