SAFE Act Pistol Permit Renewals
By Peter Vasilion
The NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 changed pistol permits into a renewable license. Renewal and re-certification of a permit holder’s eligibility is now mandatory. If a pistol permit holder were to fail to re-new and re-certify his or her eligibility to possess a pistol license, that permit holder could (probably would) be charged with at least one Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year of incarceration.
On Tuesday November 18, 2014, the State Police conducted a presentation on the recertification process required under the New York State Safe Act.
A pilot of the recertification process will begin in January of 2015. Three counties will pilot the State Police renewal scheme: Albany, Schenectady and Fulton.
Under the SAFE Act and the State Police renewal process, you will need to verify the following information on your pistol permit to the New York State Police every 5 years: name, DOB, gender, race, residential address, social security number, the firearms possessed, and if you want, your e-mail address.
The official purpose of the recertification is to update information. It is expected that once the pilot programs work out flaws in the State Police scheme, you will have up to three years to do your first recertification. If you still have not recertified after three years, you will receive a notice to recertify. Once you have completed the recertification, you must recertify every five years thereafter. If you do not recertify, your permit will no longer be valid and a number of nasty things can happen to you, including your arrest and prosecution for, among other things, criminal possession of a weapon or multiple counts thereof.
Assuming the Pilot Program succeeds, the following will occur in the remaining 49 Counties:
You will receive an invitation to recertify. The invitation will contain a computer user ID and password or PIN number.
The invitations will direct the permit holders to a state police website where they can download the recertification form. The invitation will also inform you that you can pick up a paper recertification form at your local State Police Barracks.
There will be no county seal or any other county identifier on the letters to be sent out. The renewal program, explicitly and by statute, IS NOT A COUNTY ADMINISTERED PROGRAM.
You will be invited to recertify immediately, although recertification is not required prior to January 31, 2018.
Recertification letters will be sent out state wide to selected groups between March-June 2015.
The goal of the State Police is to have as many people recertify electronically as possible.
Once approved the State Police will issue a plastic recertification card that will need to be carried with the permit at all times.
The recertification web site will only available to individuals who have already received an invitation to recertify with a user id and password. There will be a “save” function on the State Police website so the recertification can be completed across more than one computer session.
The paper forms can be filed by anyone at any time.
The applicant’s home address will be checked against DMV records.
Out-of-state addresses will be sent to the licensing officer for processing.
Any permit holder that does not have a valid NYS driver’s license or non-driver’s ID will be required to get one. This includes out of state residents that are permit holders, even though a non-resident, out-of-state, permit holder cannot legally obtain a New York State Drivers License.
The original issuing county will be notified when recertification is approved. However, the County Clerks do not have a roll in the re-certification because it is wholly a State Police function.
Recertification discrepancies must be corrected by amendment to the license at the county level. Applicants will be instructed file an amendment with their County Clerk to resolve any discrepancies.
When a permit holder recertifies online they will be able to print out a receipt with a tracking number. That tracing number can then be used to check where the application is in the process at the State Police.
If the applicant recertifies by mail they will receive a return receipt with a tracking number. The State Police do not encourage the use of certified mail even though it would be a proof of mailing an application and proof it was received.
The recertification application is just like a pistol permit application without the references. The applicant is required to list all arrests, drug or alcohol treatments, mental illnesses or family court petitions or charges.
The applicant lists all hand guns registered to him and this information may need to be reconciled with the State Police database.
There are four steps to the recertification process:a. Submission of application
b. Acceptance of the application
c. Review/ Return for correction
Once submitted, the recertification application will be checked against the following data bases:a. NCIC (National Crime Information Center)
b. MHL/946 (State-Wide registry of persons detained under Mental Hygiene Law)
c. New York State Registry of Orders of Protection
d. DMV (for proof of registry and also to deny permits to child support scofflaws)
e. NYS Division of Parole
f. NYS Department of Probation
g. NYS Wanted and Missing Persons Registry
If databases “a” through “g” FAIL to reveal any cause to suspend or revoke the license, then the application (recertification) will be approved and the recertification cards will be issued.
If databases “a” through “g” DO reveal any cause to suspend or revoke the license, then the permit holder will be referred to the County licensing officer for revocation or clarification action.
If the New York State Police determine that it cannot re-certify the permit FOR ANY REASON, the recertification is sent to the licensing officer. The permit holder will have his entire application reviewed by the State Police and the application may be referred to a licensing officer for further review even if the information disclosed on the recertification application is the same as the information provided in the initial pistol permit application.
In the event that NCIC returns a positive result (meaning, the NCIC database shows there is a disqualifying event in the permit holder’s criminal records), then the County Licensing Officer MUST revoke revoke the permit.
The licensing officer would be responsible for recertifying a permit if the permit holder committed a non-federal crime and obtained a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. THE PERMIT HOLDER WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OBTAINING AND PROVIDING THE LICENSING OFFICER with a certificate of relief from disabilities for past problems that are not covered by the federal disqualification list (that is, any local or state level criminal convictions).
There are three letters that are possibly sent to a permit holder seeking to recertify the pistol permit:a. Letter calling for re certification
b. Letter stating there is a discrepancy to be resolved
c. Letter granting recertification
After January 31, 2018 any failure to recertify results in an automatic revocation of the Pistol Permit. The County Licensing officer will be the official to actually revoke the permit.
There will be a check box on the recertification for a co-registered weapon.
The pistol permit holder has the option to have the information on the recertification application exempted from public disclosure. You must check the “exempt” box otherwise your information becomes disclosable to the public.
According to Lt. James Sherman of the New York State Police, the object of the recertification process is to create a “pristine” data base that any law enforcement official would be able to access at any time with real time information.
Lt Sherman stated that the pistol permit data would be linked to the DMV data base and an officer would know a pulled over vehicle was owned by a pistol permit holder. Ostensibly, most law enforcement agencies already have this information.
The New York State Police may in the future require that the driver’s licenses of permit holders be made to indicate that the driver is licensed to possess a firearm on the face of the driver’s license