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Gun Database to Cost Taxpayers $28 Million

5:47 PM, Mar 27, 2013   |    comments
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ALBANY, NY - The soon-to-be-approved NY state budget includes $27.7 million to create a statewide database of gun permits, about $5 million less than Gov. Andrew Cuomo had initially sought.

The database is a part of the state's January gun law, which requires State Police create it and update as firearm owners re-up their pistol and assault-weapons permits every five years.

Cuomo had included about $32.7 million in his initial budget proposal to create the database, which has to be up and running by January 2014. It had been included in the State Police's capital projects budget under Cuomo's plan.

The State Senate's one-house budget did not include the funding, while the Assembly's budget did.

In the final budget bills, which the Senate voted on overnight and the Assembly is taking up Thursday, the funds are included in the Office of Information Technology Service's budget, according to legislative officials.

"This database will be a powerful tool that will aid in the enforcement of New York's gun control measures and keep more of our citizens out of harm's way," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said in a statement.

The database will be available to police agencies, but will be exempt from the state's Freedom of Information Law. It is meant to allow the state to periodically check the gun records against mental health and criminal records.

Silver's office says that as part of the development of the database, the New York State Police will create statewide standards for handgun license applications.

"I have no idea where they got that ($28 million) figure...they have a data base right now for pistol permit information," said Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs, who is trying to ascertain how this may impact his office, which currently handles such applications.

"That's one of the questions we (County Clerks from across the state) had in our one conference call with state police....what is the scope of this data base that was supposed to be created with all this money? And there was not really an answer because I think they're grappling with it as well, because this law was passed so quickly," Jacobs said.

More than a month ago Jacobs and other county clerks rolled out information for any permit holders who want to maintain confidentiality, by "opting out" of having their permit information as part of the public record. 

Jacobs says thus far, 15,000 pistol permit holders, or approximately one-quarter of those with permits in Erie County, have sent in forms making that request.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 on Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Norm Fisher. Follow dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2 

This story includes reporting By Jon Campbell, Gannett Albany Bureau

WGRZ-TV, wgrz.com, Gannett Albany Bureau

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