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Handgun owners can't renew permits because NY hasn't created website

New York State's SAFE Act gun control law requires all residents who had pistol permits before 2013 to renew them or lose them, but Niagara County Clerk Joseph A. Jastrzemski said Thursday the state hasn't done what it needs to do to make that possible.

The law says the renewals are supposed to be done by Jan. 31, 2018, via a State Police website. However, Jastrzemski said, the website hasn't been set up yet and he hasn't been able to tell people calling his office what to do about the matter.

Will Fowler, supervisor of Erie County's pistol permit office, agreed. "When we get the info, we'll tell them what it is. Nothing more. What else can I tell them?" he asked.

The State Police issued a statement that said the agency "is in the final stages of implementing a simple process, which can be completed online or by mail, that will allow pistol permit holders to recertify in compliance with the law. We have been communicating our progress to the county clerks, and we will provide the clerks and permit holders with specifics once the process is finalized. We will ensure that those permit holders who must recertify by Jan. 31, 2018 will have a clear and easy path to do so."

Pistol permits issued since 2013 are supposed to be renewed every five years, Jastrzemski said.

The recertification requirement applies only to handguns, not long guns.

The NY SAFE Act, one of the country's strictest gun control laws, was passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 16, 2013, about one month after 20-year-old Adam Lanza used a semi-automatic assault rifle to kill 26 people, including 20 children and six school employees, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. It was the nation's worst mass shooting at a grade school in U.S. history.

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