Sheriffs call for citizens to legally arm themselves... in New York

It doesn’t really come as any surprise when police chiefs and Sheriffs in Texas urge citizens to legally carry their firearms in public. After all, Texans hold on to the Second Amendment like a life raft within sight of the Lusitania. But as domestic security concerns have spread across the nation, similar messages are showing up in unexpected places. Perhaps the least likely location for this movement to hit the news is New York, but at least in the upstate area that’s been going on in well over a dozen counties. (Press & Sun Bulletin)

A Hudson Valley sheriff’s call to arms following the San Bernardino terrorist event has spurred at least a dozen of his colleagues in other counties to weigh in.

Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum caused a viral stir Dec. 3 when he posted a public plea on Facebook, urging properly licensed gun owners to “responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm” in public.

Since then, gun owners and their supporters have led a social-media based campaign to get other county sheriffs to back Van Blarcum’s statement. And they’ve had some success: So far, more than a dozen sheriffs have weighed in, including Steuben County’s David Cole and Schuyler County’s William Yessman.

Those Sheriffs weren’t alone. In a county just outside of New York City, another lawman came forward with a similarly succinct message. (CNN)

“The police cannot be everywhere. The Second Amendment and the laws of New York state give citizens the tools to defend themselves and their families from harm until law enforcement can arrive on the scene,” wrote one of the sheriffs, Michael Schiff of Sullivan County.

Those are all encouraging endorsements, but we still need to remember that we’re talking about New York here, a state with a very split personality. The upstate region (where all of these sheriffs hail from) is more rural and conservative, but the state government is still owned and operated by the Big Apple. The long arm of the law may be urging law abiding citizens to take up arms, but that’s something of a chore in the Empire State, particularly if you want a handgun. In Texas and many southern states it’s a fairly straight forward process, with some not requiring a special permit of any kind. Conversely I was just looking at the latest handgun permit applications this month and one of the local ones is more than a dozen pages long. It requires hundreds of dollars in application fees and other costs, (non-refundable, of course) four photographs under one month old, character references from neighbors who will be subjected to criminal background checks, a record of everywhere you’ve lived since birth and repeated warnings that answering any of the questions incorrectly may result in “a fine or imprisonment.”

The hearts of the sheriffs are in the right place, but they live and work in a state which is simply opposed to the Second Amendment and does everything in its power to keep the citizens unarmed. Best of luck with that.