Warren County supervisors don’t want county gun owners to think they had anything to do with the state’s controversial Safe Act gun laws.
County supervisors followed the lead of others around upstate New York who have requested that State Police not use county letterheads or seals when sending out paperwork to handgun owners to renew their pistol permits.
Handgun owners around the state will receive renewal forms in the coming months, as part of a Safe Act change requiring that permits be renewed every five years.
Those forms were supposed to show some sort of county letterhead or emblem such as the county seal of the county in which the permit holder lives, but when word was received by county officials, they began voicing opposition it.
While county judges approve pistol permits and county clerks keep documents for them, the counties play no part in the process and get no reimbursement from it, Warren County Clerk Pam Vogel said.
The use of a county’s letterhead or seal could mistakenly give permit holders the impression the county is involved, she said.
“It gives a sense the county is doing this, which we are not, that we are supportive as to the Safe Act,” Vogel said.
The state County Clerks Association passed a resolution opposing the use of county seals and letterhead. More than three dozen counties across the state have passed their own resolutions about it.
Washington County supervisors will take up the issue at their next meeting Feb. 21.
County Sheriff Jeff Murphy asked the Washington County Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee recently to forward a resolution to the full Board of Supervisors asking that the State Police be advised not to use the county’s letterhead or seal.
The state Sheriff’s Association has said the state cannot use counties’ letterheads or seals without their permission.
“This is a state law. It’s not a county law, and we had no input on this law,” Murphy said of the Safe Act, which he has opposed. “It’s a legitimate concern for us.”
A letter Murphy wrote to Washington County supervisors explaining his position can be found on the website of the Sheriff’s Office and on its Facebook page.
It was unclear whether State Police would abide by the counties’ requests.
On Wednesday, the State Police public information office did not return a phone call or an email about the matter.