ALBANY — Assemblyman Marc Butler has introduced legislation to extend the firearms recertification deadline for pistol permit holders along with Assemblyman Brian Miller.
Pistol permit holders issued licenses before Jan. 15, 2013 must recertify their licenses by Jan. 31of this year, according to the SAFE Act. However, of the estimated 1.25 million pistol permit holders in the state, only 204,000 have recertified as of December 2017.
Butler’s legislation, which would extend the deadline to Jan. 31, 2019.
"This bureaucratic quagmire concerning pistol recertification is a real threat which could turn many otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals. The mess that is growing out of the pistol permit recertification requirement is one of the many concerns I had over the governor’s so-called SAFE Act," Butler, R-Newport, said in a statement. "Since so many hand gun owners are confused over the law, have received no notification from the state police, and with additional questions being raised by our county clerks, New York must give additional time for this to be sorted out. I want to be sure we are helping citizens avoid being ensnared in the governor’s troubling gun law."
"The SAFE Act has already threatened the constitutional rights of law-abiding New York state residents. Now, due to a rushed and reckless implementation of the governor’s unconstitutional policies, hundreds of thousands of law-abiding residents may unknowingly find themselves ‘guilty’ of a class E felony through no fault of their own," Miller, R-New Hartford, said in a statement. "It remains unclear how many permit holders have been notified of the need to recertify and how many have not. That is unacceptable. Even worse, because of this flaw in the system, permit holders would be forced to surrender their handguns and possibly their long guns as well due to the nature of the ‘crime.’ Permit holders must be properly informed and given due notice to recertify instead of being labeled as ‘criminals’ due to flawed policy."
The New York State Association of County Clerks had written to the governor, raising questions regarding the implementation of the pistol recertification law. They raised concerns over the consequence of missing the deadline, what due process permit holders were afforded, the role regarding the licensing officer and who is responsible for license revocations and weapon seizures.
Butler raises additional concerns over the governor’s law as it can be interpreted that a failure to register by the deadline could mean that not only pistols could be confiscated, but also other long guns, such as rifles, which do not require owners to register with the state.
He said failure to recertify a pistol by the Jan. 31 deadline could result in the criminal possession of a firearm, which the SAFE Act made a class E felony. Under state penal law, felons are prohibited from possessing rifles, shotguns or other long guns. This, said Butler, could be a troubling state-sponsored firearms confiscation which is a violation of the Second Amendment.
Constituents have been flooding Butler’s office calls reporting they have not received notification from the state police regarding the need to recertify their pistol permit licenses nor of the deadline, according to a news release. Permit holders should have already been notified, according to the governor’s law.
Butler says it is unreasonable to think any of these confused details can be resolved before Jan. 31.
His bill was introduced earlier this week in Albany, and he is lobbying legislators of both houses in a bipartisan manner to see his extension legislation move forward.