Reader Aaron writes:
Until recently I had no idea that sheriffs could serve as a buffer between overreaching statism and the humble citizenry. So when fine folks like Tim Howard (above) of Erie County in upstate New York show up at rallies promising to not enforce the SAFE Act, it puts a smile on my face. But it has me worrying, too . . .
For all the crowing about the SAFE Act, I have yet to hear them saying anything about New York’s non-expiring assault weapon ban. And no mention of the equally outrageous and un-Constitutional Sullivan laws.
I hear a lot of confusion and conflation, both in person and online, from fellow New York residents about the legacy laws and the SAFE Act. And I fear that this could get them in trouble when they put their sheriffs’ forbearance to the test.
It also worries me when people rely on a promise to selectively enforce a law that is on the books. As I understand it, any peace officer is sworn to uphold them all no matter how reasonable or ludicrous they may be. What happens when a statement of intent to personally nullify any law collides with that obligation?
What if there is someone the sheriff personally dislikes or has an issue with who is in technical violation of the SAFE Act? They now have leverage over that person despite their public promise to leave violators alone.
I don’t mean to impugn Sheriff Howard or other LEOs who support the Constitution. But I do worry about gun owners (especially in New York state) who take all of this literally and throw caution to the wind. You?