A little publicized provision of the 2013 New York S.A.F.E. Act is about to become effective and unsuspecting New York pistol permit holders may find themselves in legal jeopardy if they do not act quickly to comply with the statute.
Prior to the adoption of the S.A.F.E. Act, pistol permits issued in New York were good until revoked. The S.A.F.E. Act added a new provision to Section §400.00 of the New York Penal Law creating a five year expiration term for all pistol permits in New York. Every five (5) years a pistol permit must be renewed by filing a recertification form with the State Police. If your pistol 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. This means that the vast majority of pistol permits issued in New York will expire on January 31, 2018 less than ninety days from now.
Pistol permit holders should take this new requirement seriously. Once a permit has expired for failure to recertify, a new pistol permit application will be required in order to obtain a permit. The process to obtain a permit can take from six months to a year and is not automatic. New York is not a “shall issue” state and there is no guaranty that a current pistol holder will be able to obtain a new permit, or obtain one without restrictions. In addition, and potentially more importantly, once an existing permit has expired, the mere possession of a firearm subjects a former pistol permit holder to potential criminal prosecution. Mere possession of a weapon can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B felony depending upon the number of weapons owned and whether or not they are loaded. Conviction of any felony disqualifies an individual from obtaining a future permit. In short, if you currently hold a New York pistol permit you should recertify promptly.
Recertification can be accomplished online by visiting https://firearms.troopers.ny.gov/pprecert/ or by completing a paper form available at https://troopers.ny.gov/firearms/. Forms can also be obtained in person at offices for the New York State Police.