Gordon: Reform pistol permit system

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Republican Oneida County executive hopeful David Gordon is calling for making the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” where there would be a new, full-time person in charge of pistol permits, which would have few if any restrictions, including on the ability to carry them concealed.

Gordon gathered supporters outside Fort Stanwix in downtown Rome Monday afternoon, invoking the nation’s first president to announce his platform for reforming the county’s pistol permitting system.

“George Washington once said, ‘The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference,’” Gordon said. “I will push for some of the most comprehensive local laws that will not only protect and defend our right to bear arms but will expand and ensure that those who follow the legal process to obtain a firearm will be afforded the right to carry their pistol to protect and defend themselves at all times.”

Gordon, a former county legislator who now lives in Utica, said he would remove restrictions on pistol licensees to allow the weapons to be carried concealed, and to remove restrictions that limit certain licensees to hunting and target practice.

If elected, he said, “if a license holder is out hunting and decides to stop at the grocery store for milk or bread on their way home and their license was previously restricted, no longer will they have to worry about traveling directly from point A to point B.”

His appointee overseeing pistol permits would be pro-Second Amendment, he said.

The New York state gun laws are generally considered to be very restrictive and operate on a “May Issue” policy at the local county level. State regulations mandate such requirements as background checks, fingerprinting and character references.

The sanctuary designation would help undo what Gordon said was damage to the Second Amendment done by the recent so-called red flag law adopted by the state Legislature earlier this year. Household members, teachers, police officers and the like can petition a court to issue a temporary order declaring a person a potential danger and unable to buy or possess a gun, amounting to, in Gordon’s view, denying due process to someone’s constitutionally protected rights.

Gordon also said incumbent Republican Anthony Picente Jr., who is seeking a fourth term, is not a Second Amendment supporter because he endorsed Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, after Cuomo pushed through strict gun laws, and did not support Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, a strong gun-rights supporter.

Asked for a response, Picente’s campaign sent a response from the New York Republican party and state Chairman Ed Cox. “Just a few years ago, Dave Gordon was a registered Democrat campaigning for socialist Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama and voting in support of Cuomo’s disastrous un-SAFE Act. He even had to turn in his own firearms after being arrested for domestic violence. Anthony Picente is the only real Republican in this race and voters won’t be fooled by liberal Dave Gordon’s deceitful smear campaign.” 

Gordon said Monday he was vindicated in the alleged incident, and said he was rated the most conservative county legislator even when he was a registered Democrat.

Gordon said he’s also seeking the 1,500 petition signatures needed to get on an independent general-election line he calls the Second Amendment Party. He passed out a copy of the petition with its party emblem, a pistol.

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