LITTLE VALLEY – Cattaraugus County has become the latest to distance itself from the state’s controversial SAFE Act gun control law, seeking to block the state from using the county name and seal on paperwork related to the recertification of pistol permits called for by the law.
The County Legislature voted unanimously this week to deny the state permission to include the county on its paperwork. The move comes out of concern that state officials plan to have letters sent to pistol permit holders that bear both the state seal and the county seal, in an effort to ease the minds of permit holders, said County Clerk James Griffith.
He said he believes it would increase communication to the County Clerk’s Office about the process, even though his office has nothing to do with the recertification.
County legislators are hopeful that they have blocked the state from a tactic that could result in confusion and create mistrust at the county level.
“It’s false advertising,” one legislator murmured.
“It is my understanding that New York State thought that, by doing this, local gun owners would think the local agency has authority in the recertification process,” County Attorney Tom Brady said. “If they have any other reasons to do this, I have not heard of them.”
According to the language of the SAFE Act, the recertification of pistol permits will be handled by the State Police on a five-year basis.
“As far as we have heard, even at the state association level, that is not our responsibility,” Griffith said.
Under the resolution, no use of the name or the seal of the county, or any of its officers, letterhead or “address for purposes of correspondence with legal and registered gun owners regarding permit recertification or for any other purpose associated with the SAFE Act” is permitted.
The resolution will be forwarded to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the State Police superintendent, State Sen. Catharine Young, Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, all county legislatures in the state, the New York State Association of Counties and the Western New York Inter-County Association.