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Jastrzemski talks recertification with Newfane gun owners

PRESS RELEASE

                                                                                                                           
NEWFANE -- County Clerk Joseph A. Jastrzemski continues to stress the importance of "recertification" to pistol permitholders around Niagara County next week with a town hall meeting in Newfane.

Pistol permits must be "recertified" on a five-year schedule under a new mandate imposed under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's controversial SAFE Act gun-control legislation. The Niagara County Legislature has gone on the record multiple times in unanimous opposition to the SAFE Act.

County clerks and other government officials and community leaders around the state have begun sounding the alarm with a substantial number of pistol permitholders still not having recertified.

Since October, Jastrzemski has been explaining the new recertification rule to individuals licensed to carry concealed firearms, with roughly 28,000 of the county's more than 33,000 pistol permitholders affected under the law's Jan. 31, 2018 deadline.

Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the county clerk will hold his latest town hall meeting at the Newfane Community Center, 2737 Main St., Newfane, joined by Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane. The two will discuss the controversial requirement and steps gun owners need to take to comply with the mandate. The New York State Police have already indicated that failure to comply will lead to revocation of pistol permits.

"Our pistol permitholders are law-abiding people, and every time we meet, they're asking tough questions because they don't want to be caught afoul of this new rule from Gov. Cuomo," Jastrzemski said. "We're helping them navigate the new paperwork so that they don't lose their permits and access to their Second Amendment rights because of a bureaucratic requirement."


Niagara County Clerk Joe Jastrzemski uses a public computer terminal to log onto the New York State Police pistol permit recertification website in the Niagara County Pistol Permit Office as Pistol Permit Clerk Janice Rider looks on in this file photo. Jastrzemski has been working with local gun owners to navigate the onerous requirement, part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's NY SAFE Act gun control law. Both Jastrzemski and the Niagara County Legislature are on record urging the SAFE Act's repeal.


Jastrzemski noted pistol owners have several recourses to abide by the legal requirement, but that they have to provide very specific information on each handgun they own, including its make, model, caliber, and serial number to State Police.

"We have been diving deep into materials circulating about this requirement, and are doing our absolute best to answer every question that comes up—and some of them are very unique," Jastrzemski said. "This law is flawed to its core, and we just want to help aw-abiding folks keep their rights and continue having the tools they need to defend their homes."

Syracuse, long a vocal opponent of the SAFE Act, worked with Jastrzemski and county Pistol Permit Office staff to set up the town hall meetup in Newfane after numerous heavily-attended meetings elsewhere in the county.


Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane, speaks at a press conference alongside U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, in this file photo. Collins and Syracuse are both vocal opponents of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's SAFE Act gun control law. Syracuse is hosting Niagara County Clerk Joseph A. Jastrzemski at a Thursday night town hall meeting in Newfane to discuss the SAFE Act's pistol permit recertification rule.

"The SAFE Act is bad legislation," Syracuse said. "It was wrongheaded. It was rammed through in the dark of night. It attacked a Constitutional right. But to top it all off, it's not even being well-executed."

Syracuse noted that many gun owners are still confused about the recertification requirement, with a lack of communication from state government about the requirement a recurring complaint at Jastrzemski's town hall meetings.

"People were issued permits that were supposed to be good for life, and this new requirement has turned that on its head," Syracuse said. "We're just trying to help keep everyone legal so that this isn't an excuse for someone to be deprived of his or her rights."

The meeting is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

Additional meetings may continue to be held at other sites around the county.  Details will be announced at a later date.