Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss said Gov. Andrew Cuomo was clear in his meeting with him and a handful of other local law enforcement: Expressing your opinion about the SAFE Act hurts its enforcement.
“He was adamant that sheriffs around the state should not be giving their personal opinions in reference to the SAFE Act because they wouldn’t be able to objectively enforce the SAFE Act if they did so,” Moss said in an interview today with Gannett’s Albany Bureau. The Times Union reported on the meeting in today’s papers.
Moss, who was the only sheriff in attendance, said he thought he and members of the sheriffs and chiefs’ associations were meeting with the Democratic governor a month or so ago to discuss potential changes to the gun-control law passed in January. Instead, Cuomo sought to shut down their vocal opposition, Moss said.
“We told the governor that we were elected officials and we had a constituency just like he did, and that we were responsible to them, and we had the right as elected officials to give our opinion on the act,” Moss said.
Moss, a Republican, said there wasn’t a lot of backslapping going on. The sheriffs, who are mainly from upstate, have opposed the law, saying parts of it is unenforceable and unconstitutional. They also filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit seeking to have the law tossed.
“The meeting was cordial, but you could tell it wasn’t a friendly atmosphere after it got rolling,” Moss said. “Because at the end of the day, the governor has his opinion and we respect that, and we hope he respects our opinion as well.”
Moss said, “I think the governor is doing a good job. Just in this instance, we don’t agree with him.”
Cuomo downplayed the meeting when asked about it today by reporters, saying he remembers them simply discussing the law and potential changes to it.
“That’s not my recollection of the meeting at all,” Cuomo said of Moss’s description. He added that, “People have opinions, and people can offer their opinions and that’s part of the process. I offer mine: agree, disagree.”