Yates County clerk explains handgun permit requirements of Safe Act:

Since the SAFE was enacted four years ago, pistol permit holders have been calling or coming into the Yates County Clerk's Office asking questions about requirements to comply with the new legislation for the SAFE Act signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January 2013.

Yates County Clerk Lois Hall says, "Our Yates County pistol permit holders are law-abiding citizens who want to know what needs to be done to comply. One of the biggest complaints expressed is that the SAFE Act was sent from committee to the governor's desk in less than 24 hours as a response to the Sandy Creek Elementary School shooting on Dec. 12, 2012."

Hall says gun owners also question the portion of the legislation that requires all handgun licensees who received their pistol permits prior to 2013 to recertify those permits every five years starting in 2018. The expansion of classification of weapons considered to be assault weapons and restriction of their access; limited types of magazine allowed to be possessed; and, the number of rounds permitted to be loaded in a magazine are also unclear, she says.

Hall recently attended a County Clerks' Conference in Saratoga where the New York State Police gave a presentation on the Pistol Permit Recertification required under the SAFE act.

"What we do know at this time is the State Police will be launching a web site where pistol permit licensees can be recertified either online or by downloading the paper form. There is no scheduled launch date for this web site. Only the due date of Jan. 31, 2018, for all licenses issued prior to January of 2013 is determined," she explains, adding "It was not clear if the State Police would be sending out individual notification letters to permit holders by mail or use other means such as email.

The recertification form requires the listing of all all handguns, not long rifles, possessed.

Hall reminds gun owners the recertification transaction is between the State Police and the pistol permit holder, not the county. The State Police will contact the pistol permit holder to resolve any discrepancies between the application and their existing records.

According to information Hall has gathered, the goal of the State Police is to create a database for use by law enforcement, licensing officers, and mental health. All applications will be cross checked against the data bases of the DMV, mental health, and federal criminal data files.

Once the recertification application is accepted, the permit holder will receive a letter stating that their permit has been recertified. There will be no requirement that a permit holder carry proof of recertification.

The responsibility of the permit holder will be fulfilled when the recertification form is submitted to the State Police. If the form is submitted electronically the permit holder will receive a receipt that can be printed out. If submitted by mail it was recommended that the application be sent by certified mail so there will be proof of mailing.

At the end of recertification, the State Police will send to the licensing officer a list of people who are in their records and did not recertify. The exact process of revocation has not been determined and remains murky, notes Hall, adding, "However there is an exemption from revocation in the law for persons who have not been notified of their need to be recertified because of a change of address.There will be much more to come I am sure"

Hall says anyone with questions related to pistol permits or any other matter should contact her at lhall@yatescounty.org, or 315-536-5120.