(Binghamton, NY) On Friday, Sheriff Dave Harder joined Senator Fred Akshar to call on the Governor to extend the deadline for gun owners to recertify their pistol permits. The NY SAFE Act requires any gun owner with a permit that is five years old or more to recertify by January 31.
“Broome County has thousands of law-abiding gun owners and the state has imposed additional recertification guidelines,” said Sheriff Dave Harder. “We shouldn’t also be punishing them as they go through this time-consuming, bureaucratic process.”
Harder and Akshar called for the delay to allow county clerks and sheriff’s offices across the state to process recertification requests. Currently, Broome County has over 25,000 pistol permit holders, but fewer than 10% have applied for recertification. County clerks in Madison, Erie and Niagara County have joined the chorus in asking for the delay.
“We’re fielding hundreds of questions regarding recertification’s each week, but many gun owners are unaware of the deadline or have yet to receive notification in the mail,” said Harder. “Pistol permit holders need to be informed that the deadline is quickly approaching.”
The NY SAFE Act’s recertification guidelines can lead to confusion. For example, if a permit was issued before January 15, 2013, the deadline to submit a recertification is January 31, 2018. If a permit was issued on or after January 15 2013, the deadline to recertify is five years from the date the permit was issued. This means if a permit was issued on January 14, 2013, the deadline to recertify is January 31, 2018. However, if a permit was issued on January 16, 2013, the deadline to recertify is January 16, 2018. This creates a disparity and confusion for both those processing the recertifications and those who were issued a permit during the second half of January 2013.
Failure to recertify could not only lead to confiscation of legally-owned firearms, but also potentially places pistol permit holders in jeopardy of a Class A misdemeanor prosecution under Section 400.00 of the Penal Law.
While pistol permit holders are still urged to recertify, Sheriff Harder has pledged not to enforce penalties for late recertification.
“Sheriff’s Offices were left out of the conversation when they passed the misguided NY SAFE Act, but they expect us to punish lawful gun owners,” said Harder. “I say ‘No.’ Either delay or permanently suspend this deadline.”
“One of the failings of the NY SAFE Act is that it turns law abiding gun-owners into criminals overnight,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “Those who are caught with an outdated license on February 1st may be subject to prosecution under state law.”
Sen. Akshar co-sponsors a full repeal of the NY SAFE Act.