Fulton County sheriff facing potential lawsuit from gun lobbyist

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Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino

FULTON COUNTY – A national gun lobby group is threatening to sue Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino following a Facebook post the sheriff made regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. 

Gun Owners of America posted on its Twitter page a letter dated June 28 to Giardino from Stephen D. Stamboulieh of Stamboulieh Law, which stated that if Giardino did not follow the Supreme Court’s ruling on concealed carry within five days that they would sue him for not following the law.

“You are hereby on notice to confirm your conduct to binding Supreme Court precedent, including withdrawal of your erroneous demands that Fulton County residents continue to comply with an unconstitutional permitting system that has been struck down by the nation’s highest court,” part of the letter stated. 

The letter stems from a post on the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page on June 24 addressing the recent decision after noting the department has been inundated with questions about the ruling. 

Part of that post stated that, “People should comply with their status which was in place Wednesday: carry concealed or restricted to hunting, fishing, camping, work, premises or competition until the lower court reissues their decision based on the Supreme Court.”

That post has been misinterpreted by Gun Owners of America, said Giardino, who has been a judge, district attorney and attorney. 

“I just am concerned with the process on how we are suppose to implement it and the Supreme Court was pretty clear that it goes down to the second circuit and they have to issue a decision consistent with the Supreme Court,” he said. 

Giardino also said he supports the decision by the Supreme Court. However, new state laws banning concealed carried weapons in certain places could lead to additional questions. 

“My posts were to tell people to be cautious until we get further directives from the circuit court of appeals or our local judges on how to proceed,” Giardino said. “Every jurisdiction has certain rules so my point was I don’t want any of my people in Fulton County who have permits getting in other areas without us issuing them the proper piece of paperwork.”

The state passed legislation banning concealed weapons in sensitive location including:

  • Houses of worship
  • Public transportation
  • Airports
  • Entertainment venues
  • Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol
  • Times Square
  • Polling sites
  • Educational institutions
  • Daycares, playgrounds and places where children gather
  • Libraries
  • All government buildings
  • Courthouses
  • Health and medical facilities
  • Emergency shelters, including homeless, youth or domestic violence shelters
  • Public demonstrations or rallies

Giardino also said New York Sheriff’s Departments do not give out permits, they only do background checks which then go to the judge. 

On June 28, following the Sheriff’s Department put out a new Facebook post. 

“Currently we suggest you send a letter directly to the judge who issued your permit if they are still on the bench or either judge citing the U.S. Supreme Court Decision and ask that your paperwork be amended to reflect unrestricted carry,” the post stated.

Representatives of Gun Owners of America could not be reached for comment. 

By Shenandoah Briere

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