Sheriff Suggests Revoking Pistol Permit Privilege for Repeat Drunk Drivers

March 11, 2013 Updated Mar 11, 2013 at 6:35 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

March 11, 2013 Updated Mar 11, 2013 at 6:35 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -The Erie County Sheriff wants to crack down harder on repeat drunk drivers by permanently revoking their pistol permits. It's only a suggestion, but Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard believes the measure would be another reason why people should not drink and drive. Under state laws, pistol permits are already suspended even for first time D.W.I. offenders, but Howard wants to make the punishments even stricter. He suggests any repeat D.W.I. offender to have their pistol permit permanently revoked, similar to a felony conviction.

"When we have a second D.W.I. related offense which could include the impaired, why wait for the 3rd D.W.I. Felony offense?," said Howard. "After the second alcohol offense you're not learning your lesson."

Lawyers say New York State has some of the strictest penalties for alcohol related offenses.

"What Sheriff Howard is suggesting is really to re-codify what is already happening," said Eyewitness News Legal Analyst Barry Covert. "Even for first time offenders they're already loosing their pistol permit for some period of time and they have a hard time getting it back."