Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 20, 2013

Shot in line of duty, law enforcement officials have different views on gun law

Shot in line of duty, law enforcement officials have different views on gun law

Niagara Gazette — Larry Eggert and Robert “Bobby” Gee both know more than a few things about guns.

Both are veteran cops. Eggert the police chief in Lockport and Gee a former officer and firearms instructor on the Falls force.

They also share something else. 

Eggert has been a victim of gun violence, shot in the line of duty along with Lockport Police K-9 Officer Steve Ritchie, while confronting a suspect armed with an assault rifle. Gee was one of three Falls officers who were shot at by suspects fleeing from a botched home invasion robbery attempt.

One officer was wounded. Gee returned fire, killing one of the suspects.

So how do they see the passage of the NY SAFE Act? From different perspectives to be sure.

“Being a victim of an assault weapon, I don’t have a problem with this,” Eggert said just after the law passed the State Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

Gee was incredulous.

“Absolutely ridiculous,” Gee said when asked what he though of the act.

Still, both lawmen seemed to want more debate on the new gun safety law and suggested it is far from a perfect solution to stopping tragedies like the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.

“There is a mix here,” Eggert said. “It isn’t just the guns and violence or the size of the (ammunition) magazines,” the Lockport chief said. “It’s the mental health component as well.”

Eggert pointed to a recent case in his jurisdiction where officers were aware that an individual with a mental health issue had weapons that should be secured, but found it difficult to gain the information they need to act.

“I’m hoping the law allows mental health professionals to be more open with us (in identifying individuals who should not have access to weapons),” Eggert said. “I hope (the law) deals with (gun violence) from a multi-plane perspective.”

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