The New York State Police have been tasked with creating a centralized pistol license database. Re-certification is the way they’re assuring the information on pistol license owners is up-to-date and accurate. Many gun owners are concerned about the police showing up at their door and taking away their guns, but District Attorney Scott McNamara says that’s now how it’s going to happen if you fail to re-certify.
"In order for you to be…your license revoked, you have to have due process on it, so the mere fact that you didn’t do it, I don’t think is the due process that we would need to turn somebody that’s an otherwise registered handgun owner into a felon."
The DA may not be looking to prosecute offenders for felony charges, but Oneida County Pistol License Officer Dan Sullivan is reading the process as black and white.
"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."
After reading through several sections of the new law, the District Attorney did find a felony charge that’s likely going to concern many gun owners.
"Possessing 5 or more firearms that are unregistered, yea that’s a C felony."
A C felony carries a sentence of 3 & ½ years in State Prison. While the DA isn’t looking to prosecute these people as felons, the law is on the books. Should you end up with a felony charge, Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol says you could lose all your guns.
"In the law it talks about failing to re-certify will call for revocation of your permit and seizure of all guns."
Scott McNamara agrees. "It does say any and all firearms rifles and shotguns known to possess, so yes."
New York State Police Director of Public Information Beau Duffy is fielding all inquiries about the re-certification process. He sent us this answer on how the New York State Police are planning on dealing with those who don’t re-certify:
'State Police will not take criminal enforcement action against individuals who have unknowingly failed to recertify. Keep in mind, the goal of recertification is to improve the accuracy of pistol permit records, and we want to ensure that every permit holder has an opportunity to recertify. With that in mind, we will continue to accept re-certifications past the deadline.'
So while it doesn’t appear there’s going to be any immediate action taken to prosecute those who haven’t re-certified, the potential for jail time and loss of firearms does exist.