As expected, gun group backs Howard for sheriff – If ever there were an expected endorsement in this year’s race for Erie County sheriff, it would probably be the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association’s nod for Republican incumbent Timothy B. Howard.  “Our endorsement is based upon his opposition to the SAFE Act  and willingness to stand up to Gov. Cuomo’s assault upon our Second Amendment civil rights,” the organization said today in a brief statement of support.  Howard’s outspoken opposition to the governor’s new strict gun control law is expected to be part of the upcoming campaign.