Some Counties Still Accepting Pistol Permit Opt-Out Forms

11:48 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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Despite Wednesday's deadline for pistol permit holders to turn in their opt-out forms, at least two county clerks are still accepting them. They tell that us this part of the SAFE Act is causing headaches for their staffs.

Nearly half of the 89-thousand active pistol permit holders in Erie and Niagara Counties have already turned in their opt-out forms, which keep a gun owner's personal information private.

New York's SAFE ACT allows for a gun owner's name and address to be released if a Freedom of Information Request is filed, unless the owner opts out.

"It's a lot of extra work. It's a lot of extra work for a very small pistol permit office staff," says Niagara County Deputy Clerk Wendy Roberson.

Roberson is getting the extra work brought on by the SAFE Act gun control law done by cross-training employees and spending her overtime budget. So far, that adds up to four-thousand dollars.

"It certainly would be more if, you know, we had a bigger staff and people weren't so tired. I mean, you can only work people so long. And, it's beginning to really show. The wear is really beginning to show," says Roberson.

"This was just something thrown onto us with no additional resources," adds Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs.

In Erie County, Jacobs is looking at the possibility of requesting additional staff members.

"We are concerned that the wait time to get a permit is so long, you really begin to infringe on someone's Second Amendment right," he says.

Despite the opt-out deadline coming and going, and the data entry still lagging behind in both counties, the pistol permit holders who live there have no need to be concerned right now about their personal information going public.

"I will not entertain any Freedom of Information Act Requests until all of those documents are entered no matter how long it takes," vows Jacobs.

"At this point in time, we couldn't possibly because we just don't have all the information gathered. It's out of the question," says Roberson.

Last month, the governor said that since there are so many gun owners who want to opt-out, he told the counties to take their time, adding that there's no timeline on when this has to be done and to do it as the normal workflow allows.

Both Erie and Niagara County are still accepting opt-out forms. You can pick one up at any auto bureau and fax or mail it in or drop it off in person.

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