CANTON — Newly enacted policies for St. Lawrence County pistol permit holders introduced by County Court Judge Gregory P. Storie received praise from the county Board of Legislators’ Finance Committee on Monday night.
A resolution lauding Judge Storie for adopting the new policies passed handily, with legislators agreeing that the changes restore and augment the rights of permit holders.
The adjustments loosen restrictions on how and when St. Lawrence County permit holders may carry their concealed weapon, and allow them to cross-register their firearms with other permitted carriers in the county, regardless of household cohabitation, a limitation introduced by retired County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards.
The resolution was brought forward by Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, who cheered the new judge for his commitment to promises made prior to his election.
Prior “outdoor sportsman” restrictions limited the concealed carrying of a pistol to hunting, fishing and berry-picking activities, as well as related travel, the resolution reads. Mr. Lightfoot noted that these restrictions largely prohibited concealed carrying for purposes of self-protection, adding that such limits “are not required” and “not constitutional.”
Mr. Lightfoot later posited that the previous sitting judge “overstepped his bounds” as pistol licensing officer for the county, “putting his own preferred restrictions on a perfectly good law.”
“This has been a long time coming,” Mr. Lightfoot said, also noting that the change affects a huge number of pistol license holders in the county.
He said the easing of cross-registration policies assures more control in where these weapons will ultimately end up in the event of a permit holder’s death.
Legislator David W. Forsythe, R-Lisbon, said “it’s nice to see an elected official do what they pledged,” referring to the plans Judge Storie laid out prior to his election.
“I do appreciate Judge Storie has stayed on the path,” Mr. Forsythe said, adding that the amendment has been made to his own permit.
County Board of Legislators Chairman William J. Sheridan, R-Hammond, noted that his constituents in District 4 “feel pretty strongly” on the issue of Second Amendment rights, a sentiment echoed by many of the lawmakers participating in Monday’s discussion, three of whom signed on as co-sponsors of the resolution.
Though the resolution passed without a negative vote, Legislator Margaret G. Haggard, D-Potsdam, abstained from supporting the resolution. She asserted that governmental separation of powers makes such resolutions inappropriate, as a legislative body ought not weigh in on the actions of a judiciary.
“I don’t like the precedent this sets,” the District 10 Legislator said.
Mrs. Haggard added that her qualms do not stem from an opposition toward legal gun ownership or constitutional rights.
“I fully support the Second Amendment, period,” she said.
The resolution also pledges a commitment to such matters, stating the board “will continue to actively engage in resistance to proposed legislation designed to infringe upon the rights granted to United States citizens.”
The resolution passed with 13 affirmative votes, with one abstention and one lawmaker absent from Monday’s meeting.