By Will Elliott
The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs meeting at Bison City Rod & Gun Club Thursday evening included much about the holiday spirit, youth hunting and fishing access, pistol permit procedure and not one comment about the recent caustic gun commentary from Bob Costas.
Guest speaker Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs and his staff made a presentation during this meeting, articulating the procedures required to obtain a legal permit to own a pistol in Erie County. The procedure is relatively easy, but the access — measured in time and review requirements — is far from easy/immediate.
Jacobs noted that as in all other upstate counties across New York State, the procedure to obtain a pistol permit takes some months.
He began his remarks by saying, “I personally am a strong believer in the Second Amendment.” He added that the current justice reviewing permit applications, M. William Boller of Elma, also shares those Second Amendment views.
But Jacobs, as the newly elected Erie County Clerk, manages an office that has seen staffing cuts and changes in deeds and mortgages procedures along with backlogs of paperwork for pistol permit applicants.
Jacobs praised previous clerk Kathy Hochul for upgrading procedures and taking the pistol permit process to gun show sites to help reduce processing time.
Recently, staff has been added, but the pistol permit process still moves slowly. Jacobs called upon veteran permit department clerk Alan Brown to further explain the system and apply means for changes.
Brown answered questions and made clear the “mental health” slow up that has stalled the permit process across New York State. Last year, a regulation was imposed that each applicant must include a mental health checkup stage, which requires county clerks to mail all applicants’ files for processing. A pilot program would have those checkups processed locally, saving time in the process.
Brown’s best advice to all interested in applying for a pistol permit: “Have all your paper work completed when you first make your submission.”
Brown suggests applying at the highest level of status, rather than the basic permit with hopes/plans for an unrestricted/conceal-carry permit later.
He estimates the process in Erie County for most resident applicants to be a six to eight months wait, depending on how promptly local police agencies handle the application. He added that, in general, the larger the county the greater the chances for duplication of services and extended delays for completing the permit process.
Jacobs concluded that the clerk’s office strives for an efficient permit-issuing process and noted the efforts of Mike Cecchini and Martina Rehorik, who attended the meeting along with Brown and him, answering questions about every aspect of permit procedure from application tips to record keeping, lost or stolen firearms and other concerns. These officials and other at Erie County Hall look forward to making the pistol permit application processes as smooth and as hassle-free as possible.
As part of the Christmas-meeting celebration, County Clerk Jacobs drew the names of young county recipients of lifetime sportsmen licenses.
Coordinator Joe Jemiolo brought together four major sponsors (West Herr Auto Group, S&S Taxidermy, Sassafras Charters, and Dick’s Sporting Goods) and other contributors, to amass $3,370 to purchase lifetime licenses for youths in Erie County.
The seven lucky winners Jacobs drew, four girls and three boys, will be presented their lifetime licenses at the ECFSC annual banquet at Father Justin Knights of Columbus Hall in Cheektowaga on March 2.
During that banquet, the licenses will be presented to William E. Nadler of Hamburg, Matthew Mandych of East Aurora, Lily Katz of Hamburg, Hanna Olejniczak of Buffalo, Ashley Vought of Angola, Halie Maracle of Hamburg, and Matthew Johnson of Tonawanda.
For details on this presentation and other federation programs, go to eriectyfsc.org.