SARATOGA SPRINGS — With new regulations and additional paperwork, Governor Cuomo’s ‘Safe Act’ now requires permit holders to re-register all their handguns every five years, and Saratoga County permit holders are not happy about it. The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, commonly known as the NY SAFE Act, created in 2013, is a gun regulation law passed by the New York State Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January 2013 and has been described by Cuomo as, “the toughest gun control law in the United States.”
The NY SAFE Act contains several firearms regulations and several provisions. In the Capital Region, anti-SAFE Act rallies have occurred at the New York State Capital, one in 2014 featured President Donald Trump. Often criticized, the SAFE Act nonetheless, carries on.
Gerard Moser, co-owner of Defense Dynamics, a “safe, family-friendly place for firearms training and self-defense training in Saratoga,” according to the website, has taken great issue with the recertification he is being required to do.
For over 26 years, Moser has had his pistol license, “the provision of the recertification for me is definitely an issue, and I feel that it’s more than just the recertification, it’s the actual list that is kept of every firearm that I own.”
Locally speaking, Moser is concerned that current permit holders, especially the elderly, haven’t even heard about the new provision and recertification.
“Having spoken to a lot of folks and being out in the public and doing the classes, there are a lot of folks, especially the elderly, who are completely unaware of this. That’s a concern to me because I think that there is a bit of age discrimination in that. Most of this is done online, there is a requirement for an email. There are many older people that do not have an email. My father, personally, does not have one, so I had to do the registration for him and he was unaware of it until I told him. So, I think that the way this was handled was designed in a way to actually create an issue and was designed to get people in trouble,” Moser said.
The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department is already privy to the information that the recertification is requesting, leading people to wonder why they are required to also do this for the New York State Police.
“New York State sends out notifications for renewals for similar things, such as driver’s licenses, car registrations, and other things well in advance to remind people,” he explained, “but with this they’re not doing that. They have failed to follow through and alert people, so I think there are a lot of unfortunate folks out there that are going to run into a problem where they were completely unaware of the requirement to do the recertification.”
The recertification is due at the end of January, and people in Moser’s classes are still just learning about this.
“I’ve had a license for 26 years and never had to do anything, I don’t believe I should have to do anything now. I think you’re infringing on what my license originally was, a lifetime license. If you’re going to change the law then change the law, but there has to be a certain degree of grandfathering in for the people that have had these for many years,” Moser explained.
Aside from the abovementioned concerns, Moser is also concerned with “so many issues that we see in government today. This list of information can be misused against somebody if it isn’t properly managed. I’m not aware of any other state that actually allows for the keeping of the list of the firearms that somebody owns. I understand the reason for licensing, to ensure the individuals are legally able to have a firearm and be properly identified. Most states have some sort of licensing provision, so I don’t feel that licensing is necessarily the issue but it’s the keeping of the serial numbers and then having a list of something that I own, and I am not free to just sell it to somebody. There are so many provisions in nys which are blocking that, which I think are civil rights violations, in my opinion. I’m not sure what an attorney would say, but my opinion is that is a civil rights violation. Everything we buy we don’t have to keep a registration of, we shouldn’t have to with this, especially when it’s a civil right. It’s the Second Amendment,” Moser said passionately.
The bottom line is, people in this county are not being properly informed, and that is setting individuals up for failure to do what is expected of them, simply because they do not know what is now expected.
“It seems to me that this was set up as a ‘gotcha.’ It’s very unfair and a violation of privacy,” Moser concluded.
“I am pro Second Amendment and I disagree with the part of the NY SAFE Act that requires pistol permit holders prior to 2013 to go through the process of recertifying. We have 22,000 pistol permits in Saratoga; 15,000 that applied through recertification, 6,000 that have actually recertified, and 9,000 that haven’t. I do not have the man power to go out to these houses and secure the weapons,” Sheriff Michael Zurlo stated.