BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The clock is ticking for many gun owners who need to recertify their pistol permits in the Empire State.
January 31, 2018, just over a month away, is the deadline to recertify under New York’s SAFE Act, if your permit was issued before January 15, 2013.
If not, Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns says there could be consequences.
“If I were you and I had a pistol permit, I would recertify,” said Kearns.
“As it is now, it is immediate revocation. There could be a legal challenge based on due process, but I would not take that chance. I would not take that chance. I would recertify,” Kearns added.
He says paper applications can be picked up at the Erie County Auto Bureaus, and that his staff is ready to help with questions.
“If you do fill out a paper version, I recommend you send that certified mail so we have some type of receipt to let the state know that you have complied with the law,” Kearns explained.
According to the New York State Police website, if your permit was issued on or after January 15, 2013, the deadline to recertify is five years after the date the permit was issued.
Kearns says there’s been such a high demand for recertification that he’s making some changes at the clerk’s office.
Starting next week, Kearns says first time pistol permit applicants will need to schedule an appointment by calling the clerk’s office at 716-858-8866.
Applicants will need to provide their name, address and phone number. The applicant will then be mailed documents to begin the process.
“To ease the wait times for both our pistol permit applicants as well as our permit holders using the office for quick transactions and modifications to their permit, we are adjusting our permit application process,” Kearns said.
Kearns says that process will be in effect through the state’s recertification deadline on January 31.
The recertification process is being handled by the State Police.
Trooper James O’Callaghan says the best way to recertify is by going online. He says it’s an easy form that can be filled out in about ten minutes.
“This is a free recertification process,” O’Callaghan said.
“The information is very basic. It’s all information that can filled out from using your driver’s license and pistol permit,” he said.
Once submitted, O’Callaghan says you’ll get an email confirmation and be able to print out the documents.
But if you decide to go with the paper application by mail, the confirmation will take longer to process.
“If someone doesn’t do this they could in fact lose their pistol permit. And obviously no one wants to do that,” said O’Callaghan.
It’s estimated there are around 50,000 permit holders in Erie County alone who have not recertified their pistol permits.
Computers stations have been set up at the Erie County Clerk’s office on Franklin Street to help with the online process.
Trooper O’Callaghan points out that recertification is not targeted to just Western New York pistol permit holders.
“A lot of people are under the misconception that this is just an Erie County thing or just a Niagara County thing. This is a New York State thing. If you have a New York State pistol permit in any county, you need to recertify your permit,” O’Callaghan said.
Again, the pistol permit recertification process is free.