WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y (WIVB) — Erie County Legislator Ed Rath sits at a table in the atrium of 5500 Main Street in Williamsville when Gerry Cumbo approaches, bringing up an issue both he and Rath are passionate about — pistol permit recertification.

Rath says he’s heard from dozens of gun owners recently who are asking for assistance filling out their recertificaiton form. Anyone who was issued a permit before January 15, 2013, has until January 31, 2018 to recertify. If a permit was issued after January 15, 2013, the deadline to recertify is five years after the date the permit was issued.

“We’re closing in on this deadline,” said Rath.

The January 31st deadline is less than three weeks away, yet, according to Rath, there are more than 29,000 gun owners in Erie County who haven’t filled out the form yet.

“These people have been living their lives right, they’ve been in compliance with the law and if, for some reason they don’t get their application in on time, they’re going to be considered a felon,” said Rath.

The legislator feels there are many issues with the regulation. The one he’s hearing about most from people who have reached out for help is that those who mail in a recertification form, aren’t receiving any kind of notification afterward, letting them know if the application has been received and processed. Other common complaints, according to Rath, include dual residency issues and gun co-ownership problems.

“New York State didn’t do its homework,” said Rath. “They’re not being respectful of the citizens in this process and when you have so many questions in the air, you need to change the deadline to give people a chance to comply, lawfully.”

Despite his stance on the issue, he’s still working with people, trying to help them through the process. He hosted one workshop already, dozens of people coming out to ask questions; another is being held Wednesday, January 10, form 6 to 8pm at the Newstead Public Library located at 33 Main Street in Akron. 

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