County panel punts on gun 'sanctuary' petition


A debate about a petition to make Otsego County a sanctuary from the state's gun laws will wait another month.

At the county's Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee meeting Thursday, Nov. 12, Committee Chair Dan Wilber, R-Burlington, Edmeston, Exeter, Plainfield, said there had been a miscommunication at last month's meeting and he wanted to formally ask County Attorney Ellen Coccoma to give an opinion on the legal status of such a law and if the board had any jurisdiction in the matter.

The matter was referred to the committee last month after Rep. Rick Brockway, R-Laurens, Otego, presented a petition from the Otsego County Second Amendment Sanctuary Group requesting sanctuary from state gun laws in Otsego County at the Board of Representatives meeting Wednesday, Oct. 7. The petition had more than 3,200 signatures, Brockway said.

The board has also received letters from some residents speaking out against a potential measure.

"I would request that all of my committee members please review that document prior to the December meeting and be prepared to read Ellen's review when she sends it out prior to the December meeting, so that we may discuss it at that time," Wilber said.

Committee member Michele Farwell, D-Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield, asked Wilber if they were going to discuss it at all Thursday.

"I prefer not to," Wilber said, "because I would like to have a legal footing on what the implications are before we do that."

The December PSLA meeting has not been scheduled yet, but will be soon after the Board of Representatives meeting Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Because of the coronavirus, the county's board and committee meetings are held via Zoom. They can be viewed on Facebook at Otsego County, NY.

Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7218.

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