John Bocciolatt, Republican candidate for Jefferson County Sheriff, has been endorsed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Political Victory Fund for his public opposition to the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013.
Mr. Bocciolatt, a Watertown native who retired as a detective sergeant from the Portland, Ore. Police Bureau, said in a news release that 95 percent of the questions he receives from the public are about the SAFE Act, a piece of gun control legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in January 2013.
Mr. Bocciolatt said that while he opposed the SAFE Act, he did “wholeheartedly support” the passage of a law that would mandate life in prison without parole for anyone who murders a first responder.
A version of that law, called the “Webster provision” for the volunteer firefighters killed while responding to a Christmas Eve blaze in the Rochester suburb, was included in the SAFE Act.
Its inclusion drew ire from some north country legislators who felt the provision, which was similar to proposed legislation called “Mark’s Law” was included for political expediency and overlooked the local connections evoked by the law.
Mark’s Law was named for Mark B. Davis, a Cape Vincent EMT who was shot and killed while responding to a call in 2009.
According to the news release, Mr. Bocciolatt believes the other provisions of the SAFE Act contradict the Second Amendment.
“I will lend my support and my backing to any efforts to amend or repeal the New York SAFE Act, and protect our freedoms as outlines in the Bill of Rights,” Mr. Bocciolatt said in the release.
Mr. Bocciolatt also pledged to streamline the process and reduce the time required to obtain a pistol permit in the state.
Colleen M. O’Neill, a retired state police senior investigator, is running as a Democrat in the race. During her campaign announcement, Ms. O’Neill alluded to the SAFE Act, telling supporters, “As Jefferson County sheriff, I will not target law-abiding gun owners, and there is nothing in the law that mandates I should.”
Jefferson County Undersheriff Paul W. Trudeau, Ms. O’Neill’s primary opponent, said he did not personally support the SAFE Act but that as a law enforcement official, he was bound to enforce it where applicable.
“I don’t support it but I don’t get to pick and choose what laws to enforce in the state. My job is to enforce all the laws,” Mr. Trudeau said.
Mr. Bocciolatt is the only sheriff’s candidate endorsed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, according to the organization’s website.