By Bob Confer
When my fellow handgun owners and I applied for pistol permits we did so with the understanding that they were lifetime permits, revocable only by our moving out of state or committing a crime.
Then along came the NY SAFE Act in 2013 which changed the whole landscape of gun ownership in the Empire State. Among the tenets of that law was the requirement to recertify those once-unlimited pistol permits every 5 years.
This began in January of 2017. The New York State Police were granted control of these pistol permit renewals. This move, atypical to standard pistol permitting which is run by county clerks’ offices, saw the creation and administration of an online process through which handgun owners could affirm that they still own the guns appearing on their permit.
It took some time, and considerable amount of outreach by local and state officials and shooting clubs, but most permit holders met the initial deadline in 2018. Fewer than 1-in-5 registered handgun owners failed to certify.
For those of you who immediately took part in that recertification process, you’ll need to renew soon, maybe even this month. Your 5 years is nearly up.
It’s not an arduous task. The process was made easy and many of the reservations we originally had before its launch never appeared – there were and are no classes, interviews, and references required for recertification. Instead, it’s just some basic data entry.
To recertify your pistol permit, visit the website https://safeact.ny.gov/pistol-permit-recertification. There, you can either download a paper application that you can mail to the state or you can fill out an online form.
The whole process takes 10 to 15 minutes; just be sure to have your driver’s license and pistol permit handy. You will be updating your personal information and once again entering every single handgun that you own – manufacturer, model, serial number and co-registration with spouse if that applies. Understand that the data you submitted 5 years earlier is not made available to you online – you must re-enter all the information.
Many will find this to be an exercise in futility because we all know that the state already has the information – it was entered when you got your permit, it is updated every time you purchase a pistol, and you just verified everything a handful of years ago. But, that hassle is far better than the alternative: It really could have been much more difficult to renew under the SAFE Act which could have further eroded our Second Amendment rights.
Check your records as to when you last certified your permit and tackle this before your expiration date comes. Back in January of 2018, with the initial deadline looming, the State Police said they wouldn’t take criminal enforcement action against permit holders who unknowingly failed to recertify. But, that was 2018. This is 2022. At lot has happened since then – a new Governor, a new State Police Superintendent, and many more attempts at new gun laws. Don’t tempt the fates and ignore this simple process.
*Allegany County Sheriff Rick Whitney added that, “
“I’m sure a lot of holders don’t remember or know when their recertification is due. They can go to this website to check the status of their recertification and see when they are due to recertify.”