SAFE Act stance helps Howard win 3rd term as Erie County sheriff

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This is from The Buffalo News.

More LEO’s in New York need to follow the lead

of Sheriff Howard.

The law is turning New York into a Nazi Police State.


Four words that he uttered at a news conference last May helped Timothy B. Howard win a third term as Erie County sheriff.

The words were “I won’t enforce it,” and Howard was talking about the SAFE Act, a controversial new state firearms law that has outraged gun owners.

The support of angry firearms owners helped the Republican sheriff to a big win Tuesday over his Democratic Party opponent, retired Sheriff’s Deputy Richard E. Dobson, and Sheriff’s Lt. Bert D. Dunn, a Law and Order Party candidate who lost the Democratic nomination in the September primary.

Howard, 63, of South Wales, also received a big boost from having two candidates scrapping with each other over the votes of Democrats.

Late Tuesday night, a jubilant Howard thanked his supporters and leaders of the Republican and Conservative parties for helping him win. He said people all over Erie County have thanked him for his stand on the gun issue.

“I did what I thought was the right thing to do,” Howard told The Buffalo News. “People in Western New York feel strongly about the Constitution and Albany’s misreading of it.”

Since taking office in 2005, Howard has faced some difficult times – including prisoner escapes, mistaken releases of prisoners and suicides at the jail and prison operated by his department. But voters made him only the third Erie County sheriff since 1821 to be elected to three consecutive four-year terms.

“The SAFE Act was a major issue in this election,” said Carl J. Calabrese, a former Erie County deputy county executive who now works as a political consultant. “A lot of people in Erie County, both Republicans and Democrats, are hunters, gun owners and shooters … These are motivated people who get out and vote. In a low-turnout election year like this one, it can make a huge difference.”

Howard has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the state gun control law enacted earlier this year with strong support from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Howard supports a court challenge to the SAFE Act and has publicly stated that he won’t enforce the law, because in his view, it violates the constitutional rights of gun owners.

Gun owners worked hard to help Howard win, said Harold “Budd” Schroeder of Lancaster, chairman of the board of the Shooters Committee on Political Education. “Don’t you see the signs posted all over Erie County, opposing the SAFE Act? People are very upset about this.”

Not everyone agrees. As they walked out of a polling place at Edison Elementary School in the Town of Tonawanda, William and Pauline Stelmach said one reason they voted for Dobson was Howard’s refusal to enforce the gun law.

“Howard is the sheriff. He is supposed to enforce the law, not make laws,” William Stelmach said.

Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner said Howard’s attack on the state gun law provided a “distraction” from the real issue of the campaign, which he said was Howard’s “poor leadership” of his department.

“When he took that position, it gave him a wedge into Democrats who would not normally vote for a Republican,” Calabrese said. “A lot of Democrats are blue-collar people, union people, hunters and gun owners.”

James E. Campbell, chairman of the University at Buffalo’s political science department, said he believes the split of Democratic Party voters probably had a bigger impact.

Dobson and Dunn had battled for the Democratic Party nomination, with Dobson narrowly winning in the primary. Dunn then decided to continue in the race as a minor party candidate, spending more than $300,000 of his own money.

The sheriff makes $79,000 from the county for running the largest local police force in Western New York, a department with more than 1,000 employees and a requested budget of $118 million for the coming year. In addition to his county salary, Howard receives a State Police pension of more than $50,000 a year.

Howard was in the State Police for 24 years before joining the Sheriff’s Office as undersheriff in 1998. He became sheriff in June 2005 when his predecessor, Patrick J. Gallivan, was appointed to the State Parole Board. Gallivan has since been elected to the State Senate. Howard won elections in 2005 and 2009.

Howard has come under intense criticism at times. The low point of his tenure as sheriff came in April 2006, when prisoner Ralph “Bucky” Phillips escaped from the County Correctional Facility in Alden.

Before he was recaptured months later in Pennsylvania, Phillips went on a high-profile crime spree that included killing one state trooper and badly injuring two others with gunfire.

Howard’s department was criticized for the Phillips escape by the state Commission of Corrections. His department also has been criticized by state and federal agencies for prisoner suicides and overcrowded conditions at the Erie County Holding Center.

Howard said he has worked hard to improve conditions in both the jail and the prison.

Dobson, 68, of East Aurora, and Dunn, 43, of Orchard Park, have both criticized Howard and claimed they would be better choices for sheriff, but neither candidate ran an aggressive campaign.

The race against Howard was like a “David vs. Goliath” quest, Dobson said late Tuesday.

Dunn said he hopes Howard will hold no grudge against him for trying to beat him in the election.

“Win or lose, I’ll be back at work in the Sheriff’s Department at 5:45 tomorrow morning,” Dunn said Tuesday night. “I’ll do a good job for him. Even if he gets mad at me, I don’t interact with him very much, so I won’t really know.”




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This is from Human Events.

I hope the people of New York can fire Gov. Coumo and are

able to repeal the tyrannical Safe Act.

Gun Owners and freedom loving people need to stand firm. 


Gun-toting New Yorkers say they will generate enough voters to defeat the far left agenda proposed by Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“We are seeing a backlash from the governor’s urban-oriented base,” said New York State Assemblyman Pete D. Lopez (R.- Schoharie).

From the start, Cuomo calculated his positions to please two types of voters for two different reasons, he said.  “Cuomo does not need rural-conservative votes to win a statewide election, but he did want to show principled governance so that he could run for president.”

The governor started his campaign in 2010 to the right, he said.  “Cuomo fought for fiscal discipline, charter school funding, and a 2 percent tax cap.”

Two years later he swung the pendulum to the left, he said.  “Last year gay marriage was signed into law; in January the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act was passed, and most recently he tried but failed to enact a reproductive rights agenda by bundling it up with other female-related issues.”

“His attempt to appease both political extremes is now imploding,” said Lopez who served as Schoharie county clerk for 21 years.

The Washington-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics included Cuomo in its 2013 “The Worst Governors in America” report.  CREW said Cuomo has transparency and cronyism failures.

CREW, who has a reputation for being left-leaning, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests.

Opposition to New York’s extreme gun control law, commonly known as the SAFE Act, continues and elected officials are stepping forward to promote full repeal of the bill that was hastily, strong-armed into law.

“Behind the scenes, it is Cuomo’s base that is falling apart,” said Lopez who was a recipient of the David Williams Award for preservation of freedom and has an “A” rating with the National Rifle Association.

When push comes to shove Cuomo does not need the rural-conservative vote to be re-elected, but he does need rural-conservative support in order to be competitive in a national election, he said.  “Cuomo’s initial conservative-leaning proposals brought him some support.”

Now approximately one year before re-election time, the SAFE Act has triggered a complete collapse of upstate and rural support, he said.  “He cannot pull back even if he wanted to.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that the SAFE Act has caused Cuomo’s numbers to decline,” said Rus Thompson, a U.S. Army Veteran and founder of TEA New York.

“The SAFE Act is and has been viewed as an act of pure grandstanding and a political ploy to be the first official to pass the toughest gun law in the country after the senseless killings at Sandy Hook Elementary,” said the community activist from Buffalo, NY.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a lone gunman fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members before committing suicide at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

Thompson said that Cuomo claims to be honest, open and transparent, but is nothing of the sort. “He avoids the public as much as humanly possible.”

“At a recent fundraiser in Syracuse some protesters attempted to get close to his gas guzzling SUV and he motioned them with a hand gesture that means: I will crush you,” he said.

“What an insult!” he said.

“Cuomo is a thug with a real punk attitude; it is his way or the highway,” he said.  “His liberal-progressive agenda may benefit New York City but it hurts the rest of the state.”

Next year,  members of Congress, state representatives and the governor’s seat are up for re-election, he said.  “I foresee trouble for anyone that voted for the SAFE Act and anyone still refusing to bring the repeal bill forward.”

Rep. David J. DiPietro (R.-East Aurora), a state assemblyman and state Sen. Kathleen A. Marchione (R. – Halfmoon) introduced reciprocal full repeal bills in the state’s legislature.

“We have put together a group of concerned citizens who are looking at New York State voting patterns,” said Hector J. Miranda, a community organizer from Poughkeepsie, NY.

Cuomo is losing numbers, he said.  “We will be actively working to register new voters who are gun owners.”

Former New York State governor George E. Pataki, a Republican, was able to capture the hearts and minds of voters, he said.  “We already have a candidate in mind that can defeat Cuomo.”

Pataki was the 53rd governor of New York, and the last Republican governor in office.  He served three consecutive four-year terms from Jan. 1, 1995 through Dec. 31, 2006.

Miranda’s group is not only targeting the governor, he said.  “We are targeting everyone who does not operate to protect our rights.”

There is an avenue to remove a right from the Constitution, he said.  “If the state legislature wants to negate the Second Amendment, then they can hold a constitutional convention.”

Miranda, who was active in politics in his hometown of San Juan, PR, said that politicians that support the SAFE Act could not be successful at overturning the Second Amendment at a convention so they resorted to passing an unconstitutional law with little debate.

He said they are working to inform minority communities because historically gun control laws target them.  “Not just in the United States, but globally, gun control laws have been initiated to oppress minorities.”

“We have a natural right to protect and preserve our lives,” he said.  “We also have a right to be free.


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