At a January 17 meeting of a New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an organization of current and former military and law enforcement personnel who have sworn to disobey any orders which violate the US Constitution, Fulton County Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey told local pistol permit carriers that they would soon receive invitations to renew their permits, a step that is now required every five years under New York’s new anti-gun law the NY SAFE Act. Sheriff Lorey then told the audience, “I’m asking everyone that gets those invitations to throw them in the garbage because that is where they belong… They go in the garbage because, for 100 years or more, ever since the inception of pistol permits, nobody has ever been required to renew them.” Video of the Sheriff’s comments can be seen in the above-embedded video.
Reason notes that Sheriff Lorey himself signed his county up to receive the invitations early, but not because he intends to comply with the program. Having noticed that the bureaucracy running the program was, according to Albany Times Union, struggling to implement the renewals, Sheriff Lorey now seeks to capitalize on the situation by attempting to create a mass expiration event which would overwhelm bureaucrats and disrupt the implementation of the law. Said Lorey, “Let’s have everybody’s permit expire the same day and let ’em see what they’re going to do with it.” He also told his constituents that he would refuse to enforce the law that requires them to recertify their pistol permits, protecting them from being punished for their civil disobedience. He reassured those in attendance that his likely successor would be a judge who also opposes the permit recertification program and said that he believes that NY State Police lack the resources to enforce the rule.
Sheriff Lorey called the pistol permit renewal program a “little device that helps them revoke your permit if they suddenly get mad at you” and decried it as a scheme to force citizens to pay to keep a right to which they are already entitled. The NY Safe Act requires pistol permit carriers to recertify their permits with a county clerk or sheriff, however, Reason points out the fact that the New York State Sheriff’s Association and five sheriffs from across the state have sued to block implementation of various components of the law.
According to Albany Times Union, the New York Sheriff’s Association said of the NY Safe Act, “[We sheriffs] are entrusted with the critical responsibility of ensuring law and order. In very real and direct ways, the challenged laws increase disorder. Law enforcement’s work is made more difficult attempting to enforce unclear laws that harm, rather than promote, public safety. The laws appear willfully blind to legitimate safety interests, and instead are tailored to impact, and negatively impact, law-abiding firearm owners.”