BUFFALO, NY - While visiting the area on Wednesday, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo denied any attempt to stifle opposition by elected County Sheriffs across the state to the NY SAFE Act.
The Albany Times Union recently reported that when a group of Sheriffs were summoned by the Governor to the state capitol earlier this year, they thought they were being called in to add their input to the controversial gun control measures as part of NY SAFE, and to advise him on possible changes.
Instead, the paper says Cuomo told the Sheriffs to keep quiet and stop making public statements about their opposition, with one un-named source saying the governor attempted to bully them when he raised the specter of a little used executive power, contained within the state constitution, which in certain circumstances could allow the Governor to remove a Sheriff from office.
"The Sheriffs had concerns and had suggestions for modifications to the SAFE Act, so we met to talk to them about their ideas," Cuomo told WGRZ-TV. "It was modified by the budget which was passed by both the Assembly and the Senate, but that was the extent of the conversation," Cuomo said.
When asked pointedly by Two On Your Side if he ever asked the sheriffs to keep quiet about their opposition, Cuomo shook his head and said, "no, not at all."
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard has been among the most outspoken of New York's elected law enforcers about the safe act, stating on several occasions there are provisions of it he would not enforce because he finds them unconstitutional.
A spokesperson for Howard says the Sheriff cannot verify what may have been said at the meeting, because he did not attend it.
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