The newly implemented pistol permit recertification process in New York has guns owners worried about what the state is up to and more than a dozen gun owners attended Tuesday's Public Service Committee Meeting to hear County Clerk Michael Cianfrini update the legislature on the county's role in the process.
In short, the county has no role.
This is a State Police process, Cianfrini said.
Recertification requires gun owners with pistol permits acquired before Jan. 15, 2013 to fill out a form with information about themselves and their pistols and submit it to the NYSP (there is an online form for this). For those gun owners required to recertify, they must complete the application before the end of January, 2018.
The recertification requirement was part of the SAFE Act and it's taken the state these past couple of years to come up with a system for implementing it.
Gun owners don't trust the state or the process, said Bill Fox, president of Genesee County SCOPE (Shooters Commitee on Political Education).
"I don't trust them for the simple reason there is no reason to trust them," Fox said.
For one thing, Fox said it doesn't seem like the state is entirely transparent about the recertification process. He alleges there is a secret mental health database the state isn't disclosing that can be used to deny recertification.
The other criteria the state might use to deny recertification isn't clear, he said.
And if a gun owner is denied recertification, he said, the state can use that denial as an excuse to take all of a person's long guns as well.
"That's written right into the law," Fox said.
Fox indicated it would actually be better if recertificate was handled at the county level.
"That way, if there was a problem, I could just go into Mike and straighten it out," he said.
The process is easier and more transparent in Pennsylvania, Fox said.
Cianfrini said the only role for the county is in assisting gun owners in obtaining records and making sure they're accurate to help make the recertification process easier for the gun owner.