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Safe Act stipulations require reading

Pistol permit holders in New York State, as well as owners of long guns, need to read and heed the New York SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013) for details on recertification, rejection, expiration and other aspects of permit holding.

During a winter meeting of the New York State Association of County Clerks, State Police officials presented a 40-item Power Point presentation outlining the recertification process required under the SAFE Act.

After Jan. 31, 2018, SAFE Act requirements will impose automatic revocation for permit holders who fail to recertify. State Police will begin a pilot program of recertification in Albany, Schenectady and Fulton Counties. The process will be conducted by State Police. Two points were noted: Recertification is a State Police function and county clerks do not have a role. Counties will be notified when recertification is approved.”

Recertification letters will be sent out statewide to selected groups of permit holders between March and June of 2015. The new system will require all permit holders to obtain “a valid NYS driver’s license or ID” in order to recertify a permit.

The recertification process consists of four steps: submission of application, acceptance of application, review/return for correction and approval/revocation.

Submitted applications are checked against seven database sources: NCIC’s, MHL/946, orders of probation, DMV, parole, probation, and wanted and missing.

State Police Lt. James Sherman said, “The object of the recertification process is to create a ‘pristine’ database that any law enforcement official would be able to access at any time with real-time information.” He added, “the pistol permit data would be linked to the DMV database and an officer would know a pulled-over vehicle was owned by a pistol permit holder.”

As for disclosure, a pistol permit applicant has the option to have the information on the recertification application exempted from public disclosure. Near the end of the presentation it was noted, “Indicating a pistol permit on the face of a driver’s license is not a decision that has been made yet.”

County clerks statewide and permit holders await further steps in this recertification procedure. Current permit holders should check for an expiration date and submit properly completed recertification applications well before a permit expires.

A distinction has been made between a rejected and an expired permit. In the case of a rejected pistol permit, provisions elsewhere in the SAFE Act could lead to police officials confiscating not only pistols held under a permit, but also long guns in the possession of the permit holder.

Pistol permit holders and those planning to apply for a permit will have to do some deliberate reading and interpreting of SAFE Act stipulations at the start of the New Year.