For the second time since the law was passed in 2014, the Saratoga County sheriff and clerk are taking a stand against New York's controversial SAFE Act. Matt Hunter reports.
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. – Less than a week after the New York State Police announced pistol permit holders could begin the process of re-registering their licenses, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo announced he and his deputies have zero intention of enforcing that part of the state's SAFE Act.
"I don't have the capability and the manpower or whatever to enforce it, and I'm not going to enforce it," Zurlo said.
Joined at a Friday press conference by Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner, a fellow Republican, Zurlo says his office has been inundated with calls about the recertification process.
"My office has been fielding over 100 calls in the last three days in regard to it,” Zurlo said. “We have not been provided any more information as to how the process is supposed to go."
Like many other parts of the state, pistol permit applications are handled by the sheriff's office in Saratoga County and then sent to the county clerk for official record keeping. Prior to the SAFE Act, permit holders were not required to re-register every five years.
"I think we do really well here in Saratoga County. I think we have a great process, and I think this just adds redundancy to the system,” Hayner said.
"It's just more information that we already have on file," Zurlo said.
A State Police spokesperson declined to comment about the sheriff's and clerk's remarks, but a press release from early in the week says the recertification process is done for free on the state's website and is not handled at the local level.
"This, unfortunately, can look like a hostile takeover by the state of something that has always been a county responsibility," Hayner said.
Both men say they're not concerned about any potential political fallout, and are asking county residents to send their questions to the state police.
"When something isn't right, we are going to make a statement about it," Hayner said.
"I am elected for the residents of Saratoga County to protect them, and that's what I’m going to do," Zurlo said.