Monroe Co. Sheriff and Rochester Police Chief Share Opposing Viewpoints on SAFE Act
Monroe County's top cops shared the stage to discuss New York's new gun law. Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard shared their views on the SAFE Act with members of the Rochester Rotary Club.
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It was an opportunity for the County's top two law enforcement officials to address what is considered the strictest gun law in the country. Members of the Rochester Rotary Club listened intently to what the two men had to say.
Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn, who also heads the State Sheriff's Association, says there are concerns over who this law will affect.
"Is it going to make everyone safer and is it worth the constitutional limitations it's going to put on people for the amount of safety they're going to receive? That's why we're happy that the Governor is looking to open up the legislation and allow input, hopefully from the Sheriff's Association and others, as to what our views are and how it can be enhanced and made into a better law," O'Flynn said.
While O'Flynn says the New York State Sheriff's Association is challenging the law, Chief James Sheppard of the Rochester Police Department supports it. He was at Governor Andrew Cuomo's side the day the legislation was signed.
Sheppard believes the differences between he and O'Flynn is an urban vs. rural-suburban issue.
"We had 218 people shot within the city of Rochester. I don't know how many people were shot in the county, but I bet you can count it on one hand," Sheppard said. "So it's definitely something we have to address in the city of Rochester and I think every urban environment in this country."
Sheppard says between 75 and 80 percent of homicides in the city are caused by a firearm; many of them stolen from legal gun owners. Sheriff O'Flynn recalls just one homicide caused by a legally owned weapon.