There are roughly 30 thousand pistol license holders in Oneida County, and only a small percentage of them have re-certified. According to Oneida County Pistol License Officer Dan Sullivan, under New York’s Safe Act, if you don’t re-certify your pistol license by the deadline put forth by the State, your pistol license is revoked. If your permit was issued before January 15, 2013, the deadline to submit your recertification is January 31, 2018. 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. As a permit holder, it is your responsibility to recertify your permit whether you receive a notification letter or not.
Daniel P. Sullivan, Oneida County Pistol License Officer says "Theoretically the way the law was written is that a failure to re-certify your license is a revocation order. It’s a revocation of your license. If you don’t do it you’re revoked."
If you are revoked and haven’t turned in your firearms, you could be considered a felon.
"You’re now leaving them in possession of firearms, which according to the State in the re-certification process, they don’t lawfully possess anymore. So basically you’re making a felon out of a legal gun owner."
Under New York State Law anyone convicted of a felony is unable to legally possess a firearm. That would include long arms.
Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol tells us the law includes other firearms. "We do have some concerns because in the law it talks about failing to re-certify would call for revocation of your permit and seizure of all guns."
Yes you heard that right. All guns including long arms. That’s raised a lot of questions for gun owners and law enforcement. One of the big concerns for local law enforcement is how the Safe Act is going to be implemented and what their role in it will be.
"I want to make sure the information is out there. That folks have to re-certify by the set date, and if not there’s consequences that come with that. How they’re going to be played out and how they’re going to be handed out I do not know the answers to that."
The County Clerks are looking for a meeting with the Governor’s staff regarding the re-certification process as well as the shortage of staff and lack of resources to complete the confiscation process. Technically a pistol license has to be revoked by a judge, and then there’s the issue of due process. District Attorney’s already have their hands full from criminal cases, and in order for a judge to sign thousands of revocations would take hours upon hours. The Sheriff says it takes about eight man hours to process one revocation, and the idea of going after thousands is beyond his resources.
"We’re advising folks that this is the law and this is what the law says that you have to do. At the same time we’ve been fielding dozens and dozens of calls on this."
Dozens of calls and still a lot of questions. Many concerned about having their guns taken away, but Dan Sullivan doesn’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, as the resources to get that done just aren’t there.
"At some point the State is going to have to reach out to the County Licensing Officers, the Judge Dwyer’s of the State, and the Dan Sullivan’s who run the office of the State and say alright we want this to work, how can we make it work."
We will be talking with the New York State Police on how they plan on executing enforcement of the Safe Act, and what those who don’t recertify can expect.