Officials Upset Over State’s Use Of Catt. County Seal For Gun Renewals

LITTLE VALLEY – Since the inception of the New York SAFE Act, various county entities throughout the state have stood against various portions of the implementation of the measure. Cattaraugus County legislators are hopeful that they have blocked the state from a tactic that could result in confusion and trust issues, county officials said.

During the regular session of the legislative body, a unanimous vote was held to deny the state permission to use the seal and name of Cattaraugus County in paperwork related to recertification of pistol permits. According to the language of the SAFE Act, the recertification of pistol permits will be handled by the New York State Police on a five-year basis.

“As far as we have heard, even at the state association level, that is not our responsibility,” County Clerk James Griffith said.

“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.”

The SAFE Act has been controversial throughout the state, to include such bodies as the state Sheriff’s Association, who has told its members that they should not sponsor such ideas as what the state is suggesting, according to Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb.

The resolution will be forwarded to the governor, the superintendent of the New York State Police, state Sen. Catharine Young, Assemblyman Joseph Giglio and all county legislatures in the state, as well as the New York State Association of Counties and the Western New York Inter-County Association.

According to Griffith, the plan held by state officials would 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 the permit holders. He said he believes it would increase communication to the county clerk’s office about the process, even though they have nothing to do with the recertification.

“It’s false advertising,” one legislator could be heard saying.

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 of for any other purpose associated with the SAFE Act” is permitted.