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Townsend accuses Masucci of illegally carrying gun, State Police say "not true"

By PAT BAILEY

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County Sheriff candidate Dave Townsend says his opponent, Jim Masucci, has been carrying a gun without a permit.

Masucci says that is true, but that it is not illegal.

Jim Masucci became the Public Safety Commissioner in Rome, in 2005. Masucci said two years later, he was given a hand gun by the department.

Townsend says that because Masucci is not an actual police officer, he believes Masucci's gun was issued illegally.

"I don't care who gives it to you, if you don't have a permit you can not carry it. It is illegal," Townsend said. "It is mandatory jail time on a felony charge, which is three and a half to fifteen for possession of a loaded firearm."

Masucci, however, says that by law, he is safe. The Department of Criminal Justice Services can issue a gun to a civilian who used to be a police officer, Masucci said, referring to himself.

Masucci displayed his name as being on that department's list for obtaining a firearm legally because of his Public Safety Commissioner title.

New York State Police Captain Francis Coots says they were asked to look into the matter. Coots says the department did, and they believe Masucci's firearm is being possessed legally.

When contacted about the state police's determination, Dave Townsend says he still stands by his claim and he interprets the Department of Criminal Justice Services law differently.

"If I had to get a permit, I would have gladly gotten one," said Masucci. "But I don't own this gun. It was issued to me. If Mr. Townsend knew his facts, his laws, and policies, he would have known you can not get a permit or have a gun on a "C form" unless you own it."

Masucci says that despite having the gun for three years, he didn't carry it much, until recently. After the NBT Bank robbery in late July, he was the only one without a gun while police searched for suspect Brian Brown in a wooded area, Masucci said.

"I will now be armed 24/7." Masucci said.

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