CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - The St. Lawrence County sheriff wants handgun owners to stay safe and help them get restrictions lifted on where they can carry.
Brooks Bigwarfe would do that by offering gun safety classroom course.
“It's the responsibility of the sheriff and the sheriff's office to make sure everyone's safe with firearms so this course kind of checks that box,” he said.
It will also check another box. For the first time in years, a judge is issuing unrestricted handgun permits in St. Lawrence County, but only if gun owners take a safety course.
“I feel the sheriff and the sheriff's office should be at the forefront to make that happen. Make sure everyone's safe out there with guns,” said Bigwarfe.
The class would take four hours. It would teach gun owners to safely maintain and use handguns. Firearms are not used in the class. Other organizations also offer a course that fulfill the judge's requirement.
“The sheriff's gun safety class will have something extra. That's instruction on Article 35. That's the state law that governs use of force by civilians.
“We want to make sure the citizens of the county know all those rules for the use of force with a gun for civilians,” said Bigwarfe.
A committee at the St. Lawrence County Legislature recently voted 'yes' on the gun safety proposal. Legislators liked the idea of helping people get unrestricted handgun permits.
“I thought that it would be an opportunity to offer somewhat of a solution to the gun owners … to get some of the restrictions removed from their pistol permits,” said Joe Lightfoot, legislature chairman.
Bigwarfe told legislators the $30 fee for the class will cover all costs. The full legislature’s first chance to approve the class will be at its March meeting.