New York State Association of Counties 2nd resolution opposing NY SAFE


2013 NYSAC Fall Seminar

Standing Committee on Public Safety

Resolution #1




WHEREAS, Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2013, known as the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (NY SAFE) Act, was enacted on January 15, 2013; and


WHEREAS, the lawful ownership of firearms is, and has been, a valued tradition in the United States, and the rights protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution are exercised by many of our residents; and


WHEREAS, the enactment of the NY SAFE Act (Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2013) has engendered significant controversy over both the process by which it was enacted and certain provisions contained within it; and


WHEREAS, the expedited process in crafting the NY SAFE Act resulted in complex policy changes, many of which resulted in problems with implementation in the months following the legislation’s enactment; and


WHEREAS, the law requires mental health practitioners to report to the county Mental Health Commissioner, known as the Director of Community Services (DCS), any person who the mental health practitioner determines is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others; and 


WHEREAS, the law requires the DCS to determine whether or not he/she agrees that the person is likely to engage in such conduct, and if so, the DCS is then required to forward that person’s name to the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS); and


WHEREAS, the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) created a portal called ISARS for mental health practitioners to report information required under the statute, including the individual’s county of residence; and


WHEREAS, a report from ISARS is sent to the DCS at the person’s county of residence and then, if approved by the DCS, it is forwarded to DCJS for confirmation of the person’s identity before finally forwarding that information to the sheriff or local law enforcement; and


WHEREAS, though the OMH ISARS portal has reduced the workload burden on counties in complying with the SAFE Act, it has not eliminated the burden, and county mental health departments continue to have to redirect staff away from their duties to review a significant volume of SAFE Act reports many of which require follow up or additional information from the reporting practitioners; and


WHEREAS, the requirements of the SAFE Act are burdensome to county mental health departments, by straining resources and encumbering employees, without the funding required to support this mandate; and 


WHEREAS, county clerks across the state incurred significant burdens, costs and strain on their resources in dealing with new requirements of this act, including increased or new requirements in the firearms registration process, new FOIL opt-out procedures, and other permit and filing related matters; and


WHEREAS, counties will incur these problems again when the pistol permit recertification process occurs, increasing requirements for county clerks offices where local applications are currently processed; and


WHEREAS, county law enforcement, police officers and peace officers have experienced problems in gaining timely access to ammunition for their job training purposes; and


WHEREAS, the SAFE Act expressly states that no costs of this law shall be borne by local governments, however many county departments have experienced significant increases in their workload due to the new requirements the law creates; and


WHEREAS, 52 Counties in New York State have passed resolutions opposing the SAFE Act.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that NYSAC calls on the Legislature and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to work with counties to amend Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2013 in order to address the many administrative problems that have been faced by counties, as well as and address the county specific costs that have been incurred by counties to implement of this legislation; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NYSAC calls on the New York State Police to provide clarity and assistance to counties as the State Police develops the statewide database; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be sent to the sixty-two counties of New York State encouraging member counties to enact similar resolutions; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the New York State Association of Counties shall forward copies of this resolution to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Legislature, and all others deemed necessary and proper.

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