New York County Leaders Decry State’s Failure To Process Pistol Permit Applications
Jagow & Updegrove Urge Governor Cuomo To Clear Administrative Roadblock on your 2A Rights.
LOCKPORT, NY –-(Ammoland.com)- A severe backlog in the processing of pistol permit applications by a state executive branch agency has left Niagara County officials gravely concerned about the public’s ability to exercise a fundamental right—and the safety of citizens who need to exercise that right.
County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow disclosed today that more than 100 Niagara County pistol permit applications are backlogged due to the failure of the New York State Office of Mental Health to process routine background checks—and called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to take immediate steps to rectify the problem, which stems from cuts contained in Cuomo’s 2011-2012 executive budget.
“The New York State Mental Health Office section responsible for pistol permits was slashed from four people to one,” Jagow explained. “This has produced a huge bottleneck in pistol permit applications.”
By targeting the Office of Mental Health’s pistol permit section for cuts, the state’s executive branch has turned a normally routine check to verify that pistol permit applicants have not been institutionalized for mental illness into a logjam on what, until recently, was a fairly smooth and quick process. Statewide, thousands of pistol permit applications are languishing as a massive backlog has formed.
“Hundreds of residents of Niagara County are experiencing unconscionable delays waiting for a permit that will allow them to take steps they believe are necessary for their self-defense and the protection of their homes and families,” Jagow said. “And that’s unconscionable.”
Jagow said his gravest concern from the delay is that law-abiding citizens who sought a sidearm for home protection would be unable to quickly obtain a pistol or revolver—and could be in jeopardy if their lives were under threat.
“No failure of this nature should leave any citizen, or their families, exposed and in danger. The Second Amendment exists for a reason,” Jagow said. “We have always recognized that fact in Niagara County , and taken reasonable steps to eliminate government barriers to our citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights. Now, though, this issue is leaving our citizens vulnerable. And we think that’s terribly, terribly wrong.”
Within hours of Jagow revealing the state executive branch’s failure to process the permit applications, the leader of the Niagara County Legislature’s multi-party Majority Caucus threw his support behind Jagow’s effort.
“The Majority Caucus of the Legislature has been consistent in its support of the Second Amendment rights of Niagara County ’s citizens,” Majority Leader Rick Updegrove, R-Lockport said. “The delay in processing pistol permit applications is absolutely unacceptable and an affront to the rights of sportsmen.”
Updegrove has been a leading voice in the County Legislature on behalf of sportsmen and the Second Amendment, working closely with Newfane lawmaker John Syracuse and several other members of the Majority Caucus to oppose most recently an effort by Sen. Eric Adams, D-Brooklyn, to require costly registration fees on all legally-owned firearms in Upstate New York.
The failure of the executive branch of government to uphold its responsibilities to law-abiding citizens under the state’s already-stifling gun regulations, however, drew Updegrove’s direct ire.
“This situation needs to be rectified immediately,” Updegrove stated, directing his remarks at Cuomo and executive branch leadership. “We support the sportsmen in Niagara County , and we support our county clerk’s demand that state bureaucracy not impede our pistol permit application process.”
Also joining Jagow is calling on Cuomo to immediately rectify the situation was the president of the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs, Inc., Chris Schotz.
“There should be no reason that this is delayed due to staffing issues in Albany ,” Schotz said. “To have this delay is unfair to the law-abiding people who are just trying to exercise their rights.”
Schotz noted that, in addition to home- and self-defense considerations, hunters and sport shooters were being punished by the executive branch delays, as well as individuals working in security-related fields that are required to carry personal sidearms.
Jagow warned that inaction by Cuomo would only exacerbate the situation.
“Every day this problem is allowed to persist, the backlog gets longer and longer and longer,” Jagow said. “As one single box on the pistol permit application remains unchecked, an otherwise orderly process has ground to a complete halt.”
Christian W. Peck
Public Information Officer
Niagara County Public Information Office
175 Hawley Street
Lockport , New York 14094
TEL: (716) 439-7241
MOB: (716) 534-4419
FAX: (716) 439-7058