Sunday, May 03, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,

SAFE Act inquiries have overwhelmed county clerk's office

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - Updated: 4:50 PM


Recorder News Staff

FONDA -- Montgomery County Clerk Helen Bartone said her office has been overwhelmed with inquiries and residents' amendments to their pistol permits in response to the state's Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

According to the state Association of County Clerks, it will increase more if the state changes provisions that call for five-year re-certification of pistol permits to be undertaken by the clerk's office, instead of State Police.

Bartone's office took over as the county's license-issuing agent last year upon the county's purchase of software and equipment for a new plastic ID card system.

It was a role previously undertaken by the sheriff's office, which still receives applications for new pistol permits, and is still involved in processing, along with county Judge Felix Catena, Bartone said.

Since the bill was signed into law in January, Bartone said the number of permit amendments and gun transfers has increased dramatically for the approximate 7,000 pistol permits issued in Montgomery County.

"We've been very, very, very busy -- there are days my staff is spending 100 percent of its time just on pistol permits," Bartone said. "There are tons of calls, and for a lot of questions, we don't have the answers. We've never been informed or contacted by anyone from the state."

Deputy Clerk Lori Tessiero-Semkiw said most of the impact on the office is created by existing permit owners' new gun purchases, which have to be added to their permits, and transfers of guns.

Many of the latter are coming from the county's elderly, she said.

"People want to co-register their weapons, or they're selling them, or gifting them to family members," she said. "They just don't want them anymore. One elderly man came in this morning and transferred eight weapons."

The Association of County Clerks recently issued a position statement on the SAFE Act's impact, and any potential amendments that would make county government for a five-year re-certification of all pistol permits.

"Any shift of this responsibility from the State Police to the county government would amount to an unfunded mandate on the county taxpayers," the statement reads.

In addition to Semkiw, Bartone's staff is comprised of four full-time employees, and one part-time.

"This has never been done before, and we couldn't possibly do that with the staff we have," Bartone said. "There are already about 7,000 permits."

Fulton County Clerk William Eschler said his office is not the license-issuing agent, rather the sheriff's office is.

"We're getting a break there," he said of amendments and transfers, "but we're still the keeper of all records, so there is an impact, especially in the phone calls alone. They're from people concerned/worried/inquisitive, and I don't think the state knows what's going on, either."

Bartone said she's passed her concerns onto state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam.

Both Montgomery and Fulton counties adopted resolutions calling for the law's annulment.

The state has recently established a temporary hotline to deal with the influx of questions regarding the new law -- 1-855-LAW-GUNS. It's available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A frequently-asked questions log can also be accessed at


Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

The Recorder Sports Schedule


The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Area high school sports calendar
    Monday, April 27, 2015

    CEO: Victim cut during incident between employees
    Thursday, April 30, 2015

    Sawyer-mania about to reach its fever pitch
    Friday, May 01, 2015

    Sawyer relates his life to his performance
    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    State officials shut down Route 30's Olympic Diner
    Friday, May 01, 2015

    Fredericks to return Wednesday for homecoming rally
    Thursday, April 30, 2015

    Police report
    Monday, April 27, 2015

    Growing local jobs Strike force has a way to assist local businesses
    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    A WWII veteran is being honored by his hometown
    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

    Resource recovery New county post already pays off
    Monday, April 27, 2015


Copyright © Port Jackson Media

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us