NEW YORK – Lawmakers branded nearly a million people potential targets of felonies in New York State on Thursday as the deadline for recertification under the SAFE Act of 2013 came to an end; this begs the question, when will enforcement begin?
Law enforcement lawmakers, including Assemblyman Clifford Crouch and Senator Fred Akshar, have expressed their concerns.
Crouch made it clear that the act will be successful if 100 percent of permit holders are compliant.
The number of pistol permits estimated by the New York Rifle and Pistol Association implies that current recertification is at approximately 24% compliance; with the deadline to recertify having passed January 31. This means a majority of New York State citizens, who legally owned a pistol last week, are now potentially felons.
Akshar commented on the results thus far saying, “This is what happens when bureaucrats make a decision without involving stakeholders. You get another piece of legislation that wasn’t properly thought out, and now we’ve ended up with another law that isn’t enforceable.”
Both lawmakers said that it was currently impossible to know how many people need to recertify, and acknowledged that this was in large part because people with pistol permits have passed away with their permits remaining active.
Crouch added, “The New York Rifle & Pistol Association estimate over 1.25 million pistol permit holders.” and expressed concerns over the punishment of the near million people who have yet to recertify.
“According to the SAFE Act statute,” Crouch explained, “failure to recertify shall act as a revocation of the permit. Consequently, pistol permit license holders are at risk of becoming criminals, since it is a crime for most people to possess a handgun without a pistol permit license under state penal law. The SAFE Act made criminal possession of any firearm a class E felony.”