Contact: Mike Fraser, office: (518) 455-3751; cell: (518) 859-8518
When the SAFE Act was passed in 2013, few expected its implementation to go smoothly. The secretive and offensive process by which the bill was rammed through the Legislature was only the beginning of the issues to come. Today, localities around the state are preparing to overcome yet another logistical nightmare the SAFE Act has created, thanks to a cumbersome pistol recertification process that is causing problems for both gun owners and municipal officials.
It's no surprise the law is, again, a point of contention for New Yorkers as it was haphazardly passed in the dead of night with little time for legislative input or public discussion. As a result of the SAFE Act's passage, gun owners are required to recertify their pistol permits with the New York State Police by January 31.
COUNTY CLERKS ARE UNDER THE GUN
The recertification requirement might have sounded like a good idea to politicians drafting a bill in Albany. But the practical application of the law isn't going over well with the men and women who actually have to carry out these new duties. County clerks across the state, who will verify the information submitted to the State Police, have expressed frustration over the tremendous administrative burden the provision will create. In addition, there are legitimate concerns that too many gun-owners are unaware of the requirement and unsure of how to proceed.
I have written to Gov. Cuomo recommending that the state extend the deadline one year to give county clerks, many of whom were newly installed just a few weeks ago, a chance to prepare for the full brunt of this unfunded mandate thrust upon them. Further, sheriffs, clerks and other local officials have struggled to adequately answer questions from gun owners, as the law is simply too unclear. More time and information are needed before moving forward. Otherwise, we risk doing far more harm than good.
DESPITE FLAWS, IT'S CRITICAL TO COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS
Since its inception, I have said the SAFE Act is the worst piece of legislation I have ever seen. The law does more to punish law-abiding gun owners than keep New Yorkers protected. Its original language was so convoluted that the bill, at times, contradicted itself. As a result of the recertification provision, which requires paperwork on guns already legally obtained, owners risk confiscation of their weapons. This is an affront to law-abiding gun owners and our Constitutional rights. Further, failure to recertify could potentially carry a felony conviction, which would result in the forfeiture of all firearms.
I will continue to advocate for common-sense laws that protect New Yorkers while respecting the Second Amendment. Until the SAFE Act is repealed, replaced or amended, the governor must consider the ramifications the January 31 deadline carries. And, to legal gun owners, I call upon you to stay apprised of the many requirements the SAFE Act imposes and encourage you to comply with the law until a more effective and judicious system is implemented.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or email me at email@example.com.