St. Lawrence County stepping in to process pistol permits

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 3:52 PM EST
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - What the state isn’t doing, St. Lawrence County will. We’re talking about a couple of hundred residents getting their pistol permits processed.

County officials say residents were recently told by state police their pistol permit applications would be denied for concealed carry due to incomplete background checks or they could be issued a “premises-only” license, which only allows the person to have a pistol or revolver in their home or place of business

County Attorney Stephen Button says this affects 200 St. Lawrence County residents and the county is ready to step in and help the applicants.

“We had a discussion with the county clerk who receives the applications in discussion with Sherriff Brooks Bigwarfe about how to make sure that people who have applied for these pistol licenses can get their investigations complete. And it’s my understanding that the sheriff has committed that he will take over those incomplete investigations and complete them,” said Button.

The state’s new Concealed Carry Improvement Act, passed in July, requires applicants to display good moral character, and their social media accounts are up to review.

While that provision is in a legal battle, St. Lawrence County Legislator David Forsythe says he’s in favor of the county doing what it can to honor a citizen’s 2nd Amendment rights.

“Since I’ve been there, this is the most calls I’ve ever been on. The most calls I’ve ever gotten have been regarding pistol permits and hunting restrictions and licensing restrictions. So we will continue to be a voice for the people,” he said.

In a statement, Sheriff Bigwarfe said, “We will complete the pending background investigations to assist citizens in moving forward with the exercise of their rights.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Wednesday that the state can, for now, enforce the concealed Concealed Carry Improvement Act which also bans guns from “sensitive places” including schools and playgrounds as a legal battle about the law continues.