Gun rights activists told fight is in Albany

About 30 people interested in Lewis County becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary County attended the Lewis County General Services Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon and were informed that a new committee, or “task force,” had been formed to look into the situation. Sanctuary supporters are seen here listening to other county business raised at the meeting. Julie Abbass/Watertown Daily Times

LOWVILLE — Although it was not officially on the Lewis County General Services Committee’s agenda, more than 30 activists for the Second Amendment Sanctuary County movement filled the seats of the Lewis County Legislators’ board room on Tuesday afternoon.

Board Chairman and District 8 Legislator Lawrence Dolhof thanked everyone for coming and said that while the board understands the group’s concerns, any action the county could take is only “a patch to the problem, not a fix.”

“The fight for this is in Albany,” he said, but that the board is in the process of researching what other states and counties have done to support the gun sanctuary movement to inform their actions.

Many of those in attendance gathered outside the boardroom to talk about what was said after leaving the meeting.

“It’s all or nothing. If they don’t do what we want, I mean, they work for us, we’ll vote them out,” said Colin Olmstead of Croghan.

Mr. Olmstead acknowledged that board members work for the entire county, not just the interests of the few, but said, “But if they [Albany] just keep chipping away and chipping away, people get fed up. We want our county to back us when we do go to Albany.”

Others talking about what they saw as non-action from the board said the law they follow is the Constitution, not state or federal laws, by way of justification for the sanctuary. Legally, because legislators take an oath to uphold the laws of both the county and the state, to order law enforcement to disobey state gun laws could result in losing their legislator positions.

“You’ve got people in there that are scared to death of Albany,” said arms shop owner and National Rifle Association safety trainer Patrick Morse who is one of the spokesmen of the group. But for District 5 Legislator Richard Chartrand, it’s a lose-lose situation.

“If you break your oath, the Governor will take you out of office, and on the other side they want to vote you out of office when you could be doing so much more for the community,” he said, “We’re here to protect the taxpayers from liability, too. This is unknown territory.”

A five-member committee created to “delve into the issue” is looking at what steps places like North Carolina and Virginia have taken to ultimately come up with a resolution that addresses the concerns of their constituents and works best for Lewis County.

The committee consists of District 2 Legislator Randy Lachausse, District 4 Legislator Ian Gilbert, the legislators from Districts 9 and 10, Thomas Osborne and Jerry King, respectively, Mr. Dolhof and County Attorney Joan McNichols.

About 300 people attended the board’s Feb. 4 meeting out of the nearly 3,000 who signed the petition requesting legislators to pass a local law prohibiting county employees, including those in the Sheriff’s Office, from enforcing state gun laws to make Lewis a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(20) comments


The great unwashed, forgot to bathe and failed to remove their hats. Please, you do not represent me or my desires.

The Anonymous 1

Be assured this group in not there to represent your desires...........since your desires are to totally dominate the people and run the county like a dictatorship. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts your a democrat.........its easy to tell because you're pitching a fit over something you don't agree with..........come to a meeting and express your thoughts with no hatred nor arrogance or is that not possible for you to do??


Republicans are the ones that set up the border checkpoints between North Country towns. Lewis County has 26,000 residents, and one out of five families is on food stamps. It is a welfare county.

Remember the Dixie Chicks? Please tell us about Democrats "throwing a fit". Turn off the Fox News and learn about the real world.


Idiots. How about the next time there's a mass shooting (statistically today) they pool their efforts and their money to pay the bills for those killed and wounded..............won't happen, because that would mean taking responsibility. Lke car insurance, there should be mandatory gun insurance.

The Anonymous 1

Guns don't kill people...........People kill people, how about the next time there is an assault with a baseball bat they outlaw baseball, or the next time a football player is arrested for domestic violence they outlaw football? I think anyone who owns a baseball bat, or knives should have an increase in their insurance as both of those objects can be used as weapons and if you own any of them then you are in possession of a dangerous weapon..........................Motor vehicles are significantly deadlier than guns in New York, new NYPD data shows. Crashes involving cars, vans, trucks and buses killed 111 people on city streets during the first six months of 2019, public data shows. During the same period, 61 people died in shootings, the NYPD says.Jul 14, 2019 ............................. your homework before coming to class


If you don't know the difference between a gun and a car you are not smart enough to own a gun or car.


He also does not know the difference between a bat, a knife and a gun. You and your guns are dangerous to me and the majority in New York State.

hermit thrush

imagine writing all that and thinking you're making a good point.


When i read of a mass killing by baseball bat, I'll suggest outlawing baseball bats. But believnig it may happen makes you batty.


The Anonymous, clearly your worn out, overused comment shows you, like many others, don't understand the reasoning needed to intelligently discuss the issue without relying on a red herring.


Guns do not buy insurance, people buy insurance, and your observation about cars supports my idea of gun owner insurance. The headline, "Mass killing in high school by a bat wielding person!" ain't gonna happen, so your analogy is as dead as your logic.


Anonymous - do your homework... quit parroting the NRA's stance... 30 residents don't get to interpret the 2nd A... it's way above their pay grade.. that's my biggest problem with these or similar groups who are misguided in the belief that somehow they've got the intellect to interpret and determine what laws are valid, and what laws THEY get to obey.. That's the job of judges...and court cases...... NOT the corner diner group... the rest of your argument is just blather and lacks relevance ...heard it many times before... Bottom line you don't get to interpret laws...let alone ask the rest of us to follow your lead...


30 people does not a majority make. I hope the legislatures have the kaputz to stand up for the mouthy minority. So sad that these people overlook real issues instead of the overall picture, Santuary county should equal no state aid. These same people love it when their idiot in chief makes a similar threat to sanctuary cities. Try it on a state level and see how they like it.

The Anonymous 1

Well it's easy to tell your a have to go straight for the insults and pushing your belief that what you think and only what you think is right. Sit down and talk with some one from this group and see what their beliefs are before making insults. Just remember Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.


Republicans voted in Record Number for Trump, who is a constant string of insults.

The things you are writing only make sense in Fox News nonsense world. You will be very triggered and need a safe space if you try and talk this nonsense in the real world.

Florida: 2,800 gun deaths a year. New York: 700 Gun Deaths a Year.


Yes, I'm a democrat. Republicans are enemies of the state. I'll feel free to insult whomever I please if they deserve it. Sheriff O'Neil gave the right response to the situation unlike that Boss Hogg you have for a Sheriff in Lewis. Deal with it.


Just the facts Jack! The CDC is the Federal agency responsible for tallying gun deaths, their latest stat is for 2017, 39,773 Americans died by gunshot. National Safety Council tallies car deaths, and 2017 had 40,100, not statistically different than the number of gun shot deaths. The point is this, cars are insured, as are injuries and deaths. Gunshots are not insured, the victim or taxpayer pays, and most of the time, its the taxpayer. I do not want to pay anymore for your playing with guns. You need a car to get to work, you pay insurance. No one needs a gun, except for a police officer or soldier, both are trained and insured. You may have a gun, a reasonable gun, a gun for protection or hunting. A gun that holds a few bullets and that is time consuming to reload. I'll support that, as long as you take the responsibility for the sport and buy insurance to cover the mayhem. Just like cars, guns are owned by a few crazies and put to bad use. Just like cars, they need to be regulated.


MD - you're talking sense...great comments... not sure it'll fly with the diner gun gang who somehow obtained constitutional law degrees....


Does your ‘sanctuary county’ equal no state aid for illegal alien sanctuaries?


Let me guess, now you don't think withholding governmental aid is appropriate if a county doesn't follow state law?

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