In a controversial move, the New York State Police announced state residents must now recertify their pistol or revolver licenses every five years. The new requirement is part of the 2013 Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act.
Individuals who had their pistol or revolver license issued before January 15, 2013 have until January 31, 2018 to renew their permit. If the license was issued on January 15, 2013 or after, the recertification deadline is five years from the issue date.
Under the old firearms laws, people who had a pistol permit could keep it for life without having to renew it. However, the license could still be revoked for reasons such as mental health issues, a felony conviction or certain misdemeanor charges.
According to state police, gun owners who fail to recertify within the deadline could have their pistol or revolver license revoked. In addition, those who do not renew their permit could face a Class A misdemeanor charge and be sentenced to up to a year in jail.
Many have opposed the new SAFE Act requirement saying it inconveniences law-abiding gun owners and will be a logistic nightmare. Oneida County Assistant Pistol Licensing Officer Dan Sullivan said the law puts people at risk of having their gun license revoked due to simple mistakes. For example, a pistol owner may not receive their recertification notice because they forgot to update their address with the DMV.
The recertification process requires pistol owners to confirm basic personal information. Details about the firearms they possess — such as make, model, serial numbers and caliber — must also be included. In addition, they need to verify that they are not prohibited from possessing firearms under state and federal laws.