New York county sheriffs have been urged by Governor Andrew Cuomo to not voice their opposition to the state’s new gun-control laws. The governor reportedly threatened to remove them from their posts if they spoke out against the laws.
The bill was hastily passed by a Democrat-controlled legislature and signed by Cuomo earlier this year in response to the Newtown school shooting. Parts of the bill have needed modification because they were unclear or impossible to comply with. The new law put strict limits on the size of magazines in addition to broadening the definition of an assault weapon, a class which is banned.
Shortly after the bill passed in January, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association sent Cuomo an analysis of the law that included suggested changes. According to Albany’s Times Union newspaper, Cuomo then invited representatives of the assoication to the Capitol last month and had a “heated” meeting with them, in which he told them to refrain from commenting on the bill.
“The governor was of the opinion that the sheriffs around the state should not be interjecting their personal opinions in reference to the law,” said Chemung County sheriff Christopher Moss. Another person briefed on the meeting said Cuomo threatened to remove the sheriffs from their positions, but Moss would not confirm this.
Moss also said that Cuomo never read their analysis.
Last week, the sheriffs’ association filed an amicus curiae brief in support of a federal challenge to the new laws. “The laws appear willfully blind to legitimate safety interests, and instead are tailored to impact, and negatively impact, law-abiding firearm owners,” the brief reads.
When asked about the court brief, Cuomo said, “They’re free to litigate — God bless America.”