When my fellow handgun owners and I applied for pistol permits we did so with the understanding that they were lifetime permits, revocable only by our moving out of state or committing a crime.
Then along came the NY SAFE Act in 2013 which changed the whole landscape of gun ownership in the Empire State. Among the tenets of that law was the requirement to recertify those once unlimited pistol permits every 5 years with 2018 being the initial deadline.
This made for 3 years of hand-wringing by gun owners, because the process itself remained nebulous. What would recertification entail? Would we have to take the safety course all over again? Would we have to resubmit to background and reference checks?
This came to a head with public officials last month, as county clerks across the state went to the press and sent letters to Albany voicing their displeasure over the same unknown. After all, as with the initial phase of the permitting process, the NY SAFE Act originally expressed that clerks and county sheriffs would be responsible for recertification, too.
Then, magically, on the first business day of 2017, everyone was given guidance – and from an unlikely source. Suddenly, the New York State Troopers were granted control of pistol permit renewals. This will end up saving property tax payers millions, because individual recertification databases and processes on a county-by-county basis would have been overwhelming – imagine the extra hours and duties for clerk staff trying to meet with 30,000 permit holders in Niagara County alone.
The process was made easy, too, and many of the reservations we had about it are gone. Classes, interviews, and references aren’t necessary. Instead, it’s just some basic data entry.
To recertify your pistol permit, visit the website troopers.ny.gov/Firearms. There, you can either download a paper application that you can mail to the state or you can fill out an online form.
The whole process takes no more than 10 minutes; just be sure to have your driver’s license and pistol permit handy. You will be updating your personal information and entering every single handgun that you own – manufacturer, model, serial number and co-registration with spouse if that applies. It’s that simple.
Many will find this to be an exercise in futility because we all know that the state already has the information – it was entered when you got your permit and it is updated every time you purchase a pistol.
But, that hassle is far better than the alternative. It could have been a bigger hassle to renew and one that could have further eroded our Second Amendment rights.
You also have some time to get this done. Recertifications are currently only required for those permits originally issued before January 15, 2013. If your permit was issued before January 15, 2013, the deadline to submit your recertification is January 31, 2018.
But, the sooner you apply, the better. Don’t procrastinate and hold out till a year from now – the State Police still have to review and rubber stamp every single application, and you don’t want to get backlogged when there are nearly 2 million pistol permit holders in the state.
From the 09 January 2017 Greater Niagara Newspapers