Dates added for pistol permit processing

GREENPORT—Due to an increase in Columbia County pistol permit sales and information received from NRA safety instructors reporting a large influx of students taking the course in recent months, the Sheriff’s Office will process pistol permits on three Saturdays in January.

The three Saturday dates that have been added are January 16, 23 and 30, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The dates and times are subject to change as needed by the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Wayne Lopez told The Columbia Paper that the Sheriff’s Office sold 1,118 pistol permit applications in 2015 and processed 428; that compares to 710 permit sales in 2014 and the processing of 290 permits in 2014.Just completing a pistol permit, once the application is purchased for $10, requires the applicant to obtain four references to verify his or her good character, to take an NRA gun safety course and get court dispositions of any prior arrests.

Once a completed pistol permit is processed, which involves fingerprinting, photographing, notarizing and scrutiny by the FBI, the application is sent on to Columbia County Surrogates Court, where a judge reviews it and makes the final determination about whether or not to approve it, said the lieutenant. Permit approvals are filed with the County Clerk’s Office.

Many more permit applications are sold than are processed, possibly because the completion of an application is more involved the applicant realized.

Pistol permits in Columbia County and other upstate New York counties do not have an expiration date. But pistol permits issued in downstate counties near New York City and Long Island do expire and require renewal, Lt. Lopez said.

As always, applicants are encouraged to come into the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., on a first-come first-served basis to get their pistol permit applications processed. The office is only able to process the first 28 applicants in a given day, which is due to increase to 50 in early January.

In order to be processed on one of the added Saturdays, Columbia County applicants will have to call the Sheriff’s Office and schedule an appointment with Jessica at 518 828-0601 X 1414 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments will be scheduled in 15-minute increments and callers will be scheduled based on availability of open slots. If someone misses their appointment time, they will have to come back on a Wednesday. Walk-ins will not be accepted on Saturdays.

“I realize there has been a recent surge in pistol permit sales in the past few weeks. I want to make sure that Columbia County residents who want to get those pistol permit applications processed, are able do so in a reasonable amount of time with as few inconveniences as possible. This is why I am increasing the amount of applications to be processed and adding the additional dates. Depending on the demand for pistol permit applications and the need to process them, I may include more dates for the applications to be processed in the future,” Sheriff David P. Bartlett said in a press release.

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