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A New York state sheriff called on a group of residents to violate the state's gun laws and refuse to renew their handgun permits.
Thomas Lorey, a sheriff in Fulton County, told a gathering of Oath Keepers that they would be receiving invitations to renew their handgun licenses early through an online program. The Oath Keepers is a network of current and former law enforcement officers across the United States who pledge to protect the US Constitution — including by refusing orders they believe to be unconstitutional.
"I'm asking everybody that gets those invitations to throw them in the garbage, because that's where they belong," Lorey said, in a statement that was filmed and shared on YouTube. "They go in the garbage because, for 100 years or more, since the inception of pistol permits, nobody's ever been required to renew them. It's a ridiculous way that's going to cost you money at some point in your life, even when though they say it isn't."
In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, in which 20 children and 6 adult were shot dead by a gunman, New York passed the NY SAFE Act in 2013. Described by New York officials the "toughest" gun control law in the country, the act requires all permit holders to be re-certified by 2018.
Lorey, an outspoken defender of the Second Amendment, told the gathering that the renewal would cost them $15, and called the requirement "ludicrous."
"It's just a little device that helps them revoke your permit if they suddenly get mad at you," he said, adding that he had volunteered his county for a pilot program to renew the permits online ahead of the deadline. But he told the group that they should ignore the invitations.
"I want everybody to understand, if you get a letter like that, don't do it," Lorey emphasized. "Let's have everybody's permit expire on the same day and let them see what they're going to do with it."
"In the meantime," he added, "I want to assure you that everybody in Fulton County has nothing to fear from the sheriff's office as far as the Safe Act goes. We've got real crime and real criminals that we occupy our time with."