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Cattaraugus County officials weigh in on new gun control law

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Buffalo: Cattaraugus County officials weigh in on new gun control law
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Law enforcement officials in the Southern Tier took aim at Governor Cuomo's new gun control legislation Tuesday. YNN's Mark Goshgarian spoke with the Cattaraugus County Sheriff and District Attorney about how the measure will impact rural communities.

LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. — "It's certainly going to be impactful, and I need to know a lot more about all of the legislation as its passed before we can really make a complete assessment," said Timothy Whitcomb, Cattaraugus County Sheriff.

Whitcomb says its too early to tell if Governor Cuomo's gun control legislation will make the streets safer.

"We encounter weapons regularly... when we're exercising drug raids, often times there are weapons, sometimes they include assault rifles, sometimes they include handguns," said Whitcomb.

Part of the legislation calls for pistol owners to renew their permit within five years. Whitcomb says given the volume of permits, his office is not prepared.

"You're greatly going to increase the responsibilities of this office without additional staff, without additional equipment to do so, so we will be behind the eight ball," said Whitcomb.

"To place a burden on counties like ours where there are a lot of legal handgun owners, I think its unfair, I also think its going to increase costs and bureaucracy," said Lori Rieman, (R) Cattaraugus County District Attorney.

Rieman says while she agrees with some of the legislation, parts of it go too far.

"While most of the district attorneys in the state signed on, I opted not to," said Rieman.

Though not directly connected to the gun legislation, Rieman disagrees with Cuomo's call for penalty reductions for those caught with small amounts of marijuana.

"Possession of marijuana a lot of times give an officer probable cause to search, and without that we may not get guns that are out there," said Rieman.

The gun legislation and its impact on all counties statewide is expected to be a major topic of discussion when sheriffs from across the state gather for their annual winter conference in Albany next week.

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