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A Message from Sheriff Tim Howard

January 31, 2013 - Our state already had some of the toughest gun laws in the nation and with the stroke of a pen our State Legislature and Governor made them even more restrictive last month, all in the name of making us safer. I don’t believe for one minute that Governor Cuomo did this to protect us; rather he rammed this bill through for his own personal agenda, so he could be the first out of the gate to thump his chest and say how restrictive gun laws are in New York , thus beating President Obama to the punch.

It is no secret Andrew Cuomo wants to be a presidential candidate in 2016. He took a very emotional event in our nation (the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut) and the unrelated murders of two first responders in Webster, NY and wrapped his constricting gun legislation around them like a bow, hand delivering it to the NYS legislature in a sweeping package that, in my opinion, infringes on every American’s constitutional right to bear arms.

We as citizens never even had an opportunity to respond to the proposed bill with our input; even law enforcement wasn’t consulted on this. In my opinion, this new law is proof of what gun rights people have been saying all along - that registration is a precursor to confiscation. We have landed on a slippery slope allowing the government to start tinkering with our second amendment rights - what comes next?

Let’s point the finger where it belongs - on mental health. Not one of these new restrictions would or could have stopped the massacre at that elementary school or in Webster, NY. The common denominator in these shootings has been a mentally disturbed person. The government should look to making it easier for people to access mental health services. (If anybody has a family member who suffers from mental illness – you know how hard it is to get good competent help).

Let’s pass responsible laws regarding mental health issues. Give police the right to know about any resident with a mental health history that constitutes a danger to an individual or community, especially those that must remain on medications to maintain their mental health. Different mental illnesses call for different response by police. Resume civil confinement of persons with mental illnesses that constitute a danger to a community (Police in Webster, NY did not know the history of the perpetrator who had earlier killed his grandmother with a hammer). Wasn’t it then-Governor Mario Cuomo (Governor Andrew Cuomo’s father) who closed psychiatric centers and turned them into prisons - which the state is now closing due to declining population caused by faulty parole and probation policies?

The "pen is mightier than the sword” is an old adage. But in this case it (the pen) is mightier than guns, because thanks to our Governor, he has restricted even more law abiding citizens’ rights to bear arms by a mere stroke of his pen.

Listen to the Sheriff’s remarks on WBEN Radio.

January 25, 2013 - Sheriff Howard's Comments On New Gun Laws (WBEN Radio Interview)
(Click to Listen)


"I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all the citizens of Erie County for your support! Together, we will continue to make a our community a safer and better place to live."
- Tim Howard

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