SAFE Act Pistol Permit Renewals

The NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 changed pistol permits into a renewable license.  Renewal and re-certification of a permit holder’s eligibility is now mandatory and affects every one of our Members.  If a pistol permit holder were to fail to re-new and re-certify his or her eligibility to possess a pistol license, that permit holder could (probably would) be charged with at least one Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year of incarceration.  What follows is our current understanding of the process and how obtained this information:

On Tuesday November 18, 2014, the State Police gave a presentation to the State Association of County Clerks on the recertification process required under the New York State Safe Act.

A pilot of the recertification process will begin in January of 2015.  Three counties will pilot the State Police renewal scheme:  Albany, Schenectady and Fulton.

Under the SAFE Act and the State Police renewal process, you will need to verify the following information on your pistol permit to the New York State Police every 5 years: name, DOB, gender, race, residential address, social security number, the firearms possessed, and (optionally) your e-mail address.

The official purpose of the recertification is to update information.  It is expected that once the pilot programs work out flaws in the State Police scheme, you will have up to three years to do your first recertification.  If you still have not recertified after three years, you will receive a notice to recertify.  Once you have completed your first recertification, you must recertify every five years thereafter.  If you do not recertify, your permit will no longer be valid and a number of nasty things can happen to you, including your arrest and prosecution for, among other things, criminal possession of a weapon or multiple counts thereof.

Assuming the Pilot Program succeeds, the following will occur in the remaining 49 Counties:

1. You will receive an invitation from the NYSP to recertify.  The invitation will contain a computer user ID and password or PIN number. The State Police wish to have as many people recertify electronically as possible.  This is to minimize the labor required on their end to populate the database.

2. The invitations will direct the permit holders to a state police website where they can fill out the recertification form online.  The form can be saved or downloaded so you can work on it offline.  The invitation will also inform you that you can pick up a paper recertification form at your local State Police Barracks.

3. There will be no county seal or any other county identifier on the letters to be sent out.  The renewal program, explicitly and by statute, is not administered on the local level.

4. You will be invited to recertify immediately, although recertification is not required prior to January 31, 2018.

5.Recertification letters will be sent out state wide to selected groups between March-June 2015 as part of the pilot program.

6.Once approved the State Police will issue a plastic recertification card that will need to be carried with the permit at all times.

7. The recertification web site will only available to individuals who have already received an invitation to recertify with a user id and password.  There will be a “save” function on the State Police website so the recertification can be completed across more than one computer session.

8. The paper forms can be filed by anyone at any time.

9. The applicant’s home address will be checked against DMV records.

10. Out-of-state permit holder recertifications will be sent to the originating licensing officer for processing.

11. Any permit holder who does not have a valid NYS driver’s license or non-driver’s ID will be required to get one. This includes out of state residents that are permit holders.  As has been pointed out, a non-resident, out-of-state, permit holder cannot legally obtain a New York State Drivers License.  It is uncertain at the time of this writing whether they can obtain a NYS non-driver ID.

12. The original issuing county will be notified when a recertification is approved.  However, the County Clerks do not have a roll in the recertification because it is wholly a State Police function.

13. Any discrepancies between the permit holder’s information on file and the recertification form must be corrected by “amendment” to the license at the county level.  In this context, an “amendment” is simply is correction of the local Clerk’s record and the issuance of a corrected permit.  In Erie County, a new plastic pistol permit card will be issued with the new information.  In counties that still rely on paper permits, the old information will be whited-out and re-typed.  Applicants will be instructed file an amendment with their County Clerk to resolve any discrepancies and the permit holder must pay the required amendment fee ($3.00) charged by the Clerk.  This is no different than when you update your address information at the local Clerk’s office.

14. When a permit holder recertifies online, he or she will be able to print out a receipt with a tracking number. That tracing number can then be used to check where the application is in the process at the State Police.

15. If the applicant recertifies by mail they will receive a return receipt with a tracking number. The State Police do not encourage the use of certified mail even though it would be a proof of mailing an application and proof it was received.

16. The recertification application is just like a pistol permit application without the references. The applicant is required to list all arrests, drug or alcohol treatments, mental illnesses or family court petitions or charges.

17. The applicant lists all hand guns registered to him on the recertification application form.  This information may need to be reconciled with the State Police database.

18. There are four steps to the recertification process:

a. Submission of application

b. Acceptance of the application

c. Review/ Return for correction

d. Approval/Revocation

19. Once submitted, the recertification application will be checked against the following data bases:

a. NCIC (National Crime Information Center)

b. MHL/946 (State-Wide registry of persons detained under Mental Hygiene Law)c. New York State Registry of Orders of Protection

d. DMV (for proof of registry and also to deny permits to child support scofflaws)

e. NYS Division of Parole

f. NYS Department of Probation

g. NYS Wanted and Missing Persons Registry

20.  If databases “a” through “g” FAIL to reveal any cause to suspend or revoke the license, then the application (recertification) will be approved and the recertification card will be issued.

21. If databases “a” through “g” DO reveal any cause to suspend or revoke the license, then the permit holder will be referred to the County licensing officer for a suspension/revocation hearing or for action to clarify the discrepancy.

22. If the New York State Police determines that it cannot re-certify the permit FOR ANY REASON, the recertification is sent to the local licensing officer for review. The permit holder will have his entire application reviewed by the State Police and the application may be referred to a licensing officer for further review even if the information disclosed on the recertification application is the same as the information provided in the initial pistol permit application.

23. In the event that NCIC returns a positive result (meaning, the NCIC database shows there is a disqualifying event in the permit holder’s criminal records), then the County Licensing Officer MUST revoke revoke the permit.

24. The licensing officer would be responsible for recertifying a permit if the permit holder committed a non-federal crime and obtained a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities.  THE PERMIT HOLDER WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OBTAINING AND PROVIDING THE LICENSING OFFICER with a certificate of relief from disabilities for past problems that are not covered by the federal disqualification list (that is, any local or state level criminal convictions).

25. There are three letters that are possibly sent to a permit holder seeking to recertify the pistol permit:a. Letter calling for re certificationb. Letter stating there is a discrepancy to be resolvedc. Letter granting recertification

26. After January 31, 2018 any failure to recertify results in an “automatic revocation” of the Pistol Permit.  The local County Licensing officer will be the official to actually revoke the permit.

27. There will be a check box on the recertification form for a co-registered weapon.

28. The pistol permit holder has the option to have the information on the recertification application exempted from public disclosure. You must check the “exempt” box otherwise your information becomes disclosable to the public.

29. According to Lt. James Sherman of the New York State Police, the object of the recertification process is to create a “pristine” data base that any law enforcement official would be able to access at any time with real time information.

30. Lt Sherman stated that the pistol permit data would be linked to the DMV data base and an officer would know a pulled over vehicle was owned by a pistol permit holder.  Local criminal defense attorneys  believe that most  law enforcement agencies already have this information.

31. The New York State Police may in the future require that the driver’s licenses of permit holders be made to indicate that the driver is licensed to possess a firearm on the face of the driver’s license.

More or updated information will appear here in the future as it becomes available.

15 comments to SAFE Act Pistol Permit Renewals



  • […] The SAFE Act changed pistol permits into a renewable license and a permit holder’s eligibility for renewal and recertification became mandatory. […]

  • Dan Ward

    Thanks Peter – a very disturbing and dangerous precedent in my opinion.

  • Nick Massal

    READ #27 very carefully and then read it again several times! Who can ACTUALLY revoke a pistol permit??

  • Peter Militello

    So sad. Does the state think criminals will use this process? Just a waste of taxpayer money (state police time).Why does a law abiding citizen have to be subject to this. A million years of bad luck to our governor for this useless process.

    Peter Militello

  • Don Frank

    Certainly the state has illusions about criminals partipating. The progressive politicians have decided that we no longer are able to think for ourselves and a large segment of the population here agree. They have also decided that those who dont agree with their approach and must be diarmed for their own safety. They underestimate our resolve to be free.

  • Thanks Peter, this convoluted procedure will unwittingly make criminals out of unwitting law abiding citizens. So oppressive to obstruct a right that we already have. I’m sure there will be a fee charged at some point for the recertification also. Anyone who has been subject to an Order of Protection that has since been vacated should obtain and save a hard copy of the Order Vacating the Order of Protection. Don’t rely on the Court to correctly enter into the State Computerized records that it was vacated.

  • Erwin Splittgerber

    The state has all this information already. This is a harassing tactic hoping to have people either say “To Heck With It” and get rid of their pistols or the state may hope you make a mistake on your re-certification form so the state can deny your application.

    In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s German Jews, considered themselves German citizens. When Hitler (Nazi’s) passed laws for Jewish registration and wearing of the Star of David, they complied.

    Why? Because good Germans always obeyed the law.

    We all know from history what compliance brought to the Jews of Germany and Europe.

    However in our Constitutional Republic if laws are unjust, if they violate the supreme law or moral conscience of good people. We must as Benjamin Franklin said in these quotes.

    Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    Distrust and caution are the parents of security.

    If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.


    Franklin also reminds us:

    If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.

    There was never a good war, or a bad peace.

    We must use our Constitution to benefit us, until the day we are denied access to our Constitution.

  • John Frungillo

    While I agree that anyone with a mental disability should not own a firearm, I do however question the mental stability of our governor to create such ridiculous laws that potentially make criminals of law abiding citizens. I agree with Peter. Does the Governor think criminals will follow this process? Will he be sending notices to all criminals with “illegal guns” in New York State? The SAFE Act does nothing to deter crime. Period. End of story!

  • Just this year it took 3 mo’s to renew in Westchester

  • Stephen Richman

    People have to respond to this “Big Brother” law by voting Cuomo and other Democratic “Royals” out of office!

  • mike

    Simply don;t do it.
    The majority of counties are all messsed up, as is the NYSP database.
    Permits are still active on dead people.
    What are they going to do? Start storming peoples houses? I don;t think so. Law already states that if your permit is inactive in counties that issue for life, as does mine, that if 5 years have gone by the county will send your info to LE for a check. Until that is complete you can;t buy any weapons..once your background check is returned and things are ok, you are good to go for another 5 years…if you don;t buy any weapons your permit is still good, you just can;t use it to purchase unless background has been updated…always been that way here…a copy of all permit records are forwared to the NYSP anyway so they already have the info they are saying they need. This is BS and should not be complied with untill the very last second of 2018. Thats the law, they wrote it that way, then comply that way…you have until Jan 31 2018 then thats when you comply…not a second before for any reason, its not the law and you cannot be prosecuted for not taking part.

  • Ken ( otter )

    have to stop this draconian law..cuoamo has to go. i hope they find dirt on him and make him resign… repeal the safe act in its entirely..what part of will not be infringed upon dont they understand… And they took the oath to uphold that law. dems have got to go..

  • Any updates on that topic? Currently reading up on it and stumbled across your page. Did it get easier by now with the end of the Obama period?

  • It’s quite simple… if we want to do away with the draconian gun laws in New York, then we need to stop voting in democrats. I myself never vote for a Democrat, but unfortunately millions of other New Yorkers do and I don’t understand what they see in the party line of oppression.

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