Saratoga County on Tuesday became the latest county in New York to forbid the state from using the county’s official seal or letterhead when enforcing the controversial SAFE Act.
The Board of Supervisors at its monthly meeting in Ballston Spa voted 18-2 to notify Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials not to indicate any county endorsement of the law in correspondence to gun owners.
The only two votes against the measure came from supervisors Peter Martin of Saratoga Springs and Preston Jenkins of Moreau, the two Democrats who attended the meeting.
“I voted against it because it’s poppycock,” Jenkins said after the meeting.
Martin, who was county clerk for most of 2013, said the majority’s resolution “addresses an issue that does not exist at this time.”
State police contacted county clerks across the state last summer, he said, and when a majority of clerks objected to using their county seals, state police agreed not to.
“There is no current proposal to use the county letterhead or county seal,” Martin said.
The board’s third Democrat, Tom Richardson of Mechanicville, wasn’t at the meeting.
Republicans stood unanimous in their opposition.
“I still think we need to reiterate to the state that Saratoga County does not agree with the SAFE Act,” said Hadley town Supervisor Arthur “Mo” Wright. “Anything we can do to show our displeasure with the SAFE Act, I think we should.”
The resolution covers all correspondence from the state to gun owners, but was sparked specifically by an upcoming requirement under the law that pistol permit owners be recertified every five years. Letters to the first 3,000 permit holders selected for recertification will go out through state police in March.
Both County Clerk Craig Hayner and Sheriff Michael Zurlo urged supervisors last week to approve the opposition resolution.
The county has several roles in administering pistol permits: applications, investigations and amendments are done by the Sheriff’s Department, and if an applicant receives a permit, it is recorded in the county clerk’s office.
Hayner said 18 other counties — including Schoharie County, which acted in December — have passed resolutions prohibiting the use of their official seals on SAFE Act correspondence.
The SAFE Act — officially the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act — passed a year ago, shortly after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, placing a variety of new restrictions on firearms and has been very unpopular with upstate gun owners.
Saratoga County and a number of other upstate New York counties last year went on record as opposing the act and its enforcement.