A web-based news service for gun enthusiasts
N.Y. Gun Owners Targeted By New Fees
In an attempt to generate revenue and close the state`s enormous budget gap, Governor George Pataki (R) has included in his Executive Budget a proposal that targets, and seeks to profit from, law-abiding gun owners.
The provision in budget bills S. 6056/A. 9556 will require handgun licensees to pay a $100 "certification" fee to the state, institutes a five-year expiration period for licenses (currently most jurisdictions issue lifetime licenses), and charges a fee of $25 for each handgun owned.
Additionally, this proposal would remove the caps on local processing fees, which means fees can certainly be expected to climb, and in many jurisdictions could price gun owners, sportsmen, and collectors right out of the market. Instead of directly banning handguns, this proposal would simply make it too expensive to own them.
Please call (518) 474-8390 or write to Governor Pataki at Executive Chamber, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224 to express your opposition to his latest attack on gun owners.
It is also critical that you contact your lawmakers TODAY to tell them that they must oppose this unfair "TAX" on gun owners! To get contact information for your representatives, please use the "Write your Representatives" tool at NRAILA. Received via NRA Alert
Opposition To Increasing Handgun Permits
Dutchess legislators oppose new firearms license fee schedule
Tioga Legislature passes resolution opposing changes to gun permit fees
New fees will hurt legal gun owners
(Albany, NY) 02/27/04 -- According to Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's spokesman Mark Hansen, the Republican-led state Senate is rejecting Governor George Pataki's plan to increase handgun permit fees.
Erie County legislators oppose new gun fees
Senate Republicans Reject Hand Gun Permit Fee Hike
Gun buffs blast pistol permit plan
Senate GOP rejects hand gun fee hike
Allegany County Legislature voices disapproval on Empire Zone and guns
Gun permit renewal plan drawing fire
Proposed bill would cost pistol owners
Fee hikes a slap to gun owners
Legislators oppose plans by Pataki in budget
Pataki's gun fee proposals spark outcry
Bill would raise fees for gun licenses
Gun policies, ideas are bad
Delaware board blasts gun permit plan
erie.gov - First found: February 19
recordonline.com - First found: February 15
buffalonews.com - First found: February 13
timesunion.com - First found: February 12 - Letter to the Editor
troyrecord.com - First found: February 8
recordonline.com - First found: February 6
pressrepublican.com - First found: February 6
rochesterdandc.com - First found: February 4
timesunion.com - First found: January 30
heraldtribune.com - First found: January 30
By Mike Kubow - Times Herald Record
In an attempt to generate revenue and close New York's enormous budget gap, Gov. George Pataki has included in his executive budget a proposal that targets, and seeks to profit from, law-abiding gun owners.
The provision in budget bills S. 6056/A. 9556 will require handgun licensees to pay a $100 "certification" fee to the state, institutes a five-year expiration period for licenses (currently most jurisdictions issue lifetime licenses), and charges a fee of $25 for amendments of licenses.
Additionally, this proposal would remove the caps on local processing fees, which means fees can certainly be expected to climb, and in many jurisdictions could price gun owners, sportsmen, and collectors right out of the market.
Instead of directly banning handguns, this proposal would simply make it too expensive to own them. People and companies are leaving New York because of schemes like this that benefit the rich at the expense of the little guy.
What is worse is that this legislation is a direct threat to the right to keep and bear arms. This legislation requires gun owners at renewal to provide make, model, caliber, and serial numbers of all "firearms." The problem is that in 2000 the definition of firearm was changed to include anything that could fall under the definition of "assault weapon."
It is important that all New Yorkers, whether you own handguns or not, contact the governor and your state legislators and let them know you oppose this legislation. Even if you don't own a handgun, if this passes, how long do you think it will be before they do the same thing with hunting rifles and shotguns (AKA "assault rifles")?
What to do with the budget gap without increased fees and renewable licenses? Why not trash another one of the governor's anti-gun policies? As of Jan. 1, 2004, the Combined Ballistics Identification System (CoBIS or so-called "gun DNA") had cost the taxpayers of New York $11,666,666 and had not been used to solve a single crime in New York state.
Mike Kubow of Blooming Grove is chairman of the Orange County Chapter of the Shooters' Committee on Political Education, an organization dedicated to the preservation of firearms ownership since 1965.
Letter to the Editor - Albany Times Union
Andy Pelosi of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (letter, Feb. 5) states that we need more such legislation as proposed by Gov. George Pataki in regard to pistol permit renewal.
Renewable permits are currently available in several counties, mostly downstate. Overall, this should be an issue for local county governments.
To further punish law-abiding gun owners, and to blame them for illegal gun traffic in the state, is something I would not expect any newspaper to publish. Firearms owners must overcome massive hurdles, costs and waiting periods and are subject to background checks and fingerprinting, as if they are already criminals.
The eventual outcome of this legislation will be to prevent those poorer state citizens from maintaining their permits. They will end up turning their firearms in, or selling them. What would then occur is that many may opt out of the program and purchase more illegally obtained firearms, not fewer.
I am writing to assure you that I am not supportive of an executive budget proposal that would increase pistol permit fees and require permit holders to renew every five years.
This proposal would make it more difficult and cost-prohibitive for many law-abiding New Yorkers to exercise their constitutional right to own a pistol or revolver. The proposal adds a State licensing fee schedule that is as follows: $100 fee on new and renewal pistol or revolver licenses; a $25 fee for each permit amendment; a $100 fee on gunsmith and dealer licenses; a $25 fee on duplicate licenses; and a $25 fee on license transfers.
Addressing the illegal use of firearms is a goal we all share, especially by those criminal elements who should be prohibited in the first place from acquiring and purchasing handguns. However, preventing, discouraging and making it cost-prohibitive for law-abiding residents to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms in no way serves to achieve this goal.
I am confident we will find ways to fund programs in this year's budget without having to resort to fee increases on pistol permits and will do all I can to prevent this anti-gun proposal from advancing.
Additionally, I will soon be announcing the formation of a New York State Legislative Sportsman Caucus, which I will co-chair in the Senate. The purpose of this caucus will be to ensure legislators are apprised of issues and legislation affecting New York's sportsmen. Details will be forthcoming in several weeks.
Senator Betty Little
By Anthony Farmer - Poughkeepsie Journal
Pat Fairchild has been shooting for nearly three decades.
To her, it's just recreation, a form of relaxation.
She doesn't hunt and you won't catch her packing heat, walking around the streets like some cowboy.
''We take them to the range and we shoot,'' Fairchild said. ''We practice or compete.''
But when she steps up to the firing line at the shooting range, it's just her, the gun and the target.
It doesn't matter how big or small you are, how old you are or if you're a man or a woman, she said.
''It's a sport where a woman has the same advantage as a man,'' said Fairchild, who lives in the Town of East Fishkill. ''How many sports can you say that about?''
Costs could go up
But Fairchild and her family, and others like her, may soon be paying a lot more for their sport -- if Gov. George Pataki gets his way.
As part of his 2004-05 budget, Pataki has proposed making handgun permits, currently issued for life, renewable every five years, while tacking on other new fees. The plan has received little support in the Legislature.
If approved, Pataki's plan could raise as much as $11.3 million a year, according to the governor's budget office. The plan is aimed at helping the state close a budget deficit of $4 billion to $5 billion.
Pataki proposed charging $100 every five years for the permit, plus $25 for each additional handgun someone with a permit wants to use.
That doesn't include what a county would charge for handling the permitting process.
Pataki has proposed letting counties charge whatever they want for dealing with that responsibility.
Dutchess County Sheriff Butch Anderson said the current $10 application fee would have to be raised. The two full-time workers and one part-time workers handling pistol permits can't keep up with all the work they have now, he said.
''It's going to double our work,'' Anderson said.
Fairchild has three shooters in her family, including her husband and daughter. The three are all licensed to use any of the 10 handguns they own.
That would mean the family would have to pay nearly $1,000 every five years to maintain their hobby. And that's without whatever the county decides to charge.
While that's enough to get most gun owners riled up, there's more.
The fact they need a license in the first place, to exercise a Constitutional right guaranteed under the Second Amendment, is objectionable to them.
Most fear these kinds of steps will only lead to their guns -- used for sport and protection -- being taken away from them.
''It lays open the possibility that at any time, the state Legislature could say, 'We're not renewing them any more,' '' said Norm Dauerer, a Hopewell Junction resident and member of the Wallkill Rod & Gun Club. ''That's one way of getting in the back door and putting a ban on handguns.''
The proposal has received a cool reception from the state Senate's Republican majority. Pataki would need agreement from both houses of the state Legislature to put the plan in place.
Issue generates most reaction
One local senator said he's heard more from constituents about this issue than virtually any other related to the governor's budget plan.
''By far, the gun issue is the biggest,'' said Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope.
Sens. Steve Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, and Vincent Leibell, R-Patterson, sent a joint memo to Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno recently expressing their opposition to the plan.
''I don't think it's likely they'll be in the budget that's finally adopted,'' Saland said of the new fees.
Leibell predicted the proposal won't go anywhere.
''It's dead,'' Leibell said. ''It's not an appropriate revenue source.''
To some who own firearms, Pataki has abandoned his Republican/Conservative roots. To them, this latest proposal is another in a line of restrictions on gun owners put in place by the governor.
''We were better off under (Mario) Cuomo,'' David Warshaw, Dutchess County Chairman of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, or SCOPE, said of the former Democratic governor.
If the new fees do go through, there's nothing to stop them from going up every five years, Warshaw said.
At the very least, Warshaw said, anyone currently holding a lifetime permit should be grandfathered in under the proposed regulations, if approved.
''We were told they would be good for life, unless revoked for good cause,'' Warshaw said. ''I don't consider the budget good cause.''
ALBANY ó Senate Republicans are at odds with Gov. George Pataki over guns and fees.
The governor wants pistol owners to renew their licenses every five years and pay a $100 fee ó or more if they own multiple guns. Now, unless theyíre revoked for criminal activity, licenses are good for life.
The fee would generate an estimated $31 million a year in revenue, with most of the money going into the state general fund.
Many Republican lawmakers are up in arms over the fee and what they see as one more infringement of Second Amendment rights.
"Itís not going to make anyone safer. Itís to encourage people to give up their guns," said Sen. Owen Johnson, the Long Island Republican who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
Several other Republican senators, including Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury), said they also oppose the plan. Republicans control the Senate.
Little said the plan would force legitimate gun owners to jump through the hoops of getting their licenses renewed but would not prevent criminals from getting guns.
"I donít see whatís to be gained here," she said.
Chauncey Parker, Patakiís criminal justice director, said the renewal requirement would allow the State Police to keep its database current for all handgun owners, thus enhancing public safety.
The counties and New York City would continue to issue pistol licenses, and records of those licenses would continue to be filed with state police. Pistol owners would not be required to supply additional information to get a license, Parker said.
"All this does is it keeps current records that the State Police are required to keep as a matter of law in New York state," he said. "It doesnít in any way change the requirements for getting a pistol."
State Police maintain records of nearly 1.2 million pistol licenses issued since 1936.
"We have no idea any longer how many are still active," said State Police spokesman Lt. Glenn Miner.
New York City and its suburban counties require pistol owners to renew their licenses periodically, but there is no statewide renewal requirement. Colorado is the only other state that does not require pistol permit renewals.
Some lawmakers said they expect the proposal to die in the budget process.
More accountability needed for handguns
Fred LeBrun's Jan. 30 column, "An agenda hides behind handgun fee," does a nice job of telling part of the story by relaying to readers that Gov. George Pataki's budget proposal contains certain fee increases for handgun permit applications, renewals, amendments, transfers, as well as for gunsmiths and dealers.
However, he fails to point out that eight counties already require renewal of handgun permits. Permit renewal every five years is a helpful tool that keeps gun owners accountable for their weapons.
Handguns are responsible for most of the 1,000 gun deaths in New York each year. About two-thirds of these crime guns originate out of state. But what about the third that originate in New York, in places like Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and their suburbs? How are these weapons traveling from the legal to the illegal market?
We need to face up to the fact that we have an intrastate gun trafficking problem that needs our attention. Making handgun owners and dealers a little more accountable is a good investment in public safety.
ANDY PELOSI - Executive Director
The Honorable Governor George Pataki
Dear Governor Pataki,
I oppose the proposed amendment to Section 400.00 of the penal law pertaining to pistol permit licensing and fees.
Governor, in your "State of the State" message you spoke of freedom, and I applauded louder than most. It was exactly the sort of inspired vision that I came to Albany to implement.
I am hearing loud and clear from my constituents (and yours) that this proposal restricts freedom. It is de facto gun control. At best, it is elitist and can be accommodated only by the well-off. As the owner of six handguns, I will find it expensive. As the holder of a lifetime license, I too will be embittered if I lose that lifetime guarantee to exercise my right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
I believe that the present system is too burdensome and expensive. It takes six months to get approval for a license, and amendments require a loss of otherwise valuable time.
Lawful gun owners are not the problem. This proposal punishes them, diminishes their freedom, and provides them with an economic incentive to break the law. The last thing we need to do is breed contempt for law and order by doing this.
Back when you first ran in 1994, I displayed an NRA sticker on my 4x4 that said "Protect Freedom Ė Elect Pataki."
Please make it mean something by removing this provision.
Daniel L. Hooker
"As a general rule, we're not looking to tax people with fees," Silver said. "I'd rather do it with pistol permits than (continuing a sales tax on) clothing."
Gun owners in Westchester County feel they already are under fire. The county legislature there has already taken a series of measures during the last few years which have not been friendly to gun owners. Gun owners are now fearful that if they are given the opportunity, Westchester County authorities would price them right out of the market.
Lawmakers would be able to claim that they have not blocked anyone's right to buy a handgun. Instead, they would simply make it economically prohibitive to own them. Activists feel it would not be very long before many jurisdictions in the state, under the guise of trying to "solve a crime problem" -- whether real or imagined -- would start charging exorbitant fees for processing handgun licenses.
The totality of the proposed changes to penal law make it clear to me that the agenda goes far beyond raising about $31 million over 10 years.
"It just seems that they are kind of picking on special interest groups that are probably not going to say a whole lot if their sport or their hobby ends up costing them more," Deecoss said.
Pataki has said the fees will help keep track of handguns, but Deecoss thinks the proposal has more to do with raising new dollars for state coffers. Deecoss said that he, for one, will fight the change.
"You have to stand up and say something. That's what America is about -- speak your mind. We can at least still do that, anyway," Deecoss said.
I am writing to address the recent inclusion of Bill A-9556 & S-6056.
These bills address the issue of "fee adjustments" and re-vamping the Penal code to allow the State to impose fees and limit durations on Handgun Licences.
I believe that taxation without representation has been done before to no avail. I also belive that if Goverment is going to levy fees and such then something beneficial should befall the people that are footing the bill. In this case that is just not so.
Before the Leglislature takes this into their own hands without proper information, it is NOT about safety, security, or anything else like that, it is simply a means to an end, a multi-million dollar end at that. Funded by the sportsmen and women of New York State with absolutely no benefits to them whatsoever.
I have written before on this subject and if New York is going to revamp its permit system, then perhaps it should start by leveling the field and abiding by the statute as written. ie; no additional restrictions other than those allowed by statute will be allowed. No fees other than those allowed by statute will be allowed, and licences are valid statewide including New York City. Their licences are already valid statewide, but not vice-versa.
Please try and see the unjustice and discrimination contained in these Bills. The State of New Yorks budget woes are everyones problem, do not single out a group just because we practice our individual rights and constitutional guarrantees.
If the system needs an overhaul, then do so...but make it a fair and just overhaul, not a way to grab money from a group that lawmakers wish would go away. The statistics don?t lie, look at the states that are shall issue and have permit systems in place that allow for that long forgotten concept of protection for self, property and loved ones. The crime rates are way down, crimes committed by permit holders is for all purposes non-existant. New York has nothing to fear from its licence holders, its the criminals that are to be feared. We have gone thru all of the required checks and hoops, we are not the problem.
I know that this is a politically charged and dangerous stance to take, but please try and see the point and to look at the statsobjectively and then make a informed decision rather than just go with the flow...
We are just as responsible as anyone else and as far as the State of New York is concerned, we have answered and withstood all of their requirements, have done the dance, have gone thru the process. The real question before us is do we now get to enjoy the benefits of the process or are we to be "contained" and pushed aside?
I strongley urge you to vote no on this leglislation as written it is unfair and just plain discriminatory.
What will we sacrifice next?....who knows...it is in our hands, but mostly it is in yours as my voice in the Gov?t. please make us heard.
Senator William J. Larkin, Jr.
Dear Senator Larkin:
It has come to my attention that the Governor is proposing some changes to Section 400 of the Penal Law in his Budget Request. Namely, he proposes to make pistol permits renewable every five years and to establish fees for such permits. Additionally he would lift any limit on the fees charged by localities. The bill numbers are A-9556 and S-6056.
Somehow, the neighboring State of Vermont does entirely without handgun permits and yet shows some of the lowest crime figures in the nation. Whatís their secret? Are New Yorkers lesser citizens than Vermonters? I have studied the Department of Justice Crime Statistics and I donít believe there is any evidence that our permit system prevents or reduces crime and violence. If there is, I wish someone would direct me to that source. There are currently about 37 states that have so-called "shall issue" pistol laws. In every single case, crime rates have been reduced.
However, given the political realities in our State, the chances of scrapping the entire system are slim to none. Iíd like to offer a reasoned approach. Please consider my thoughts on pistol permits. Perhaps the laws of other states with successful working systems could be examined and used as a model.
I believe and suggest that:
A. State Law regarding permits should preempt any local laws. All New York State residents should be treated fairly and equitably regardless of where they currently live. Standards are currently by county and by New York City. They are extremely inconsistent in every respect. Permits are almost impossible to obtain in New York City without "connections". I will call it what it is, corrupt and oppressive. I would expect such nonsense in a third world country, not in the Untied States of America. Safety training is not required by statute but is required by some locales.
B. Permits should be issued by the State of New York, through a local official, at various locations throughout the State. County Clerks or Motor Vehicle offices could perform this function. These offices could access the NICS system the same as a gun dealer does. Judges should be relieved of the burden of issuing permits.
C. Permits should be issued promptly, as soon as a NICS check is completed. Currently, licenses often take up to or past the statutory limitation of six months with little chance for redress except through an Article 78 proceeding. The intention of the Legislature is routinely ignored. Again, applicants are not treated uniformly.
D. Permits should be valid statewide. My permit from Orange County is not valid in New York City but a New York City permit is valid in Orange County. This is discriminatory. Again, residents from various locales are not treated uniformly or fairly.
E. Permits should have no restrictions. If a person is checked out and found trustworthy enough to carry in the first place, then when or for what lawful purpose they carry is irrelevant. If there are places where no one should carry, it should be addressed in the law. I have had a permit since 1976 and only recently had the restrictions removed.
F. The permit system should assume that proper cause exists. At the very least, proper cause always exists as long as we still believe in self defense.
G. Amendments should be granted promptly. I see no reason why approval or denial canít be immediate upon presentation of an application. One copy to file, one copy for the applicant, one copy to act as the purchase coupon.
H. Fees for permits or amendments should be minimal and sufficient only to cover the cost of licensing. Fees should not fund other programs or go into the general fund. Frankly, I donít feel a right should be taxed at all. A fee is a tax, and "the ability to tax is the ability to destroy".
I. Permits should be made out of a durable material such as that used for our driverís licenses. Photo licenses should be reissued every five years for a nominal fee. Processing again could be similar to driverís license renewal and photos taken at the already existing Motor Vehicle offices. With todayís technology, a magnetic strip on the card could provide the information necessary to process amendments which are primarily additions or deletions of handguns. It should be no harder than a charge card purchase and the records could be shared with the State Police in Albany and the local licensing authority instantaneously.
J. The law should require evidence of some firearms safety training. Proof of hunter safety training, military service, etc. should be accepted. Current licensees should be grandfathered. The State should develop and/or adopt a curriculum for teaching handgun safety, and legal rights and responsibilities. Perhaps representatives from the State Police, Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Education Department could collaborate on such a curriculum. The State should develop and provide instructor and student manuals and certify volunteer individuals to teach the course, similar to our Hunter Safety Program. A modest fee could be charged by the instructor. ( No fee is charged for Hunter Safety Courses.) Another approach would be to use course materials developed by the National Rifle Association and use N.R.A. Certified instructors. This approach would be very cost effective.
K. The Attorney General should be directed to negotiate reciprocal agreements with other states to mutually honor handgun permits. Many other states currently honor permits from other states. For instance, a Florida carry license is honored in 26 other states. If driverís licenses are honored in all states on a reciprocal basis, why arenít pistol licenses? Federal legislation to address this has been proposed but is stalled in Congress.
Will any of my suggestion be acted on? Sadly, I doubt it. Those politicians and pseudo public servants who donít believe in "the peopleís right to keep and bear arms" believe that the people can be discouraged from exercising that right by paperwork, waiting periods, permission slips, finger printing, backgrounds checks, and of course, hefty fees.
My wife and I both have permits so the fees would apply double in our case. We are recently retired and now must continually deal with ever increasing taxation in New York State. How did the plan to issue driverís licenses for eight years into the future come about? It seems the State has an insatiable appetite for tax payerís money whether it be through taxation, license, or fee. The Governor is now poised to add insult to injury by another ill-advised tax scheme. No one despised Mario Cuomo more than I, yet he never made as many or such sweeping assaults on my Second Amendment rights as has George Pataki.
What happened to Republican principles? It now seems that some New York Republicans are little better than Massachusetts Democrats. I am totally disgusted with the directions the Governor has frequently chosen on taxation, spending, and gun control. The taxation policies of this State have resulted in commercial and residential tax bases moving to more favorable areas. While we have loved New York State for all itís natural and man-made wonders, we may be forced financially and ideologically to follow millions of others and flee to another state that better reflects our beliefs.
John E. Darney
Pistol permit parameters
With the passage of a handgun carry licensing law in Ohio on Jan. 8, that state joins 36 others with standardized "carry" laws on the books.
"New York in one of those 13 states that does not have a general carry-law provision," said State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew. Volker noted that standardized, statewide licensing laws do not exist because of the Sullivan Law amended in the 1940s in New York State. That law imposed restrictions on carrying handguns and extended the right of pistol permit issuance to county officials, rather than impose a general law with statewide standards.
Thomas H. King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, says varying standards of handgun registration cause "law-abiding citizens to take their chances with the law (when possessing handguns)."
For more details, see the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Web site
Posted By: Joe Potosky
The Lost Target