St. Lawrence County residents with restricted pistol permits now have path to get restrictions removed
Friday, January 17, 2020 - 9:19 am

BY JIMMY LAWTON
North Country Now

CANTON -- St. Lawrence County residents with restricted pistol permits now have a path to have the restrictions removed.

With the exit of St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome Richards, Hamilton County Court Judge Tatiana Coffinger has been appointed to serve as St. Lawrence County's pistol licensing officer.

A memorandum from Coffinger issued to pistol permit applicants lays out guidelines for having pistol license restrictions removed, and new qualifications for recipients seeking pistol licenses.

Under Judge Richards, nearly all pistol licenses issued in St. Lawrence County came with heavy restrictions, but Coffinger appears to be coming in with a new mindset.

"As the new pistol licensing officer appointed for the calendar year of 2020 and upon meeting with stakeholders involved with pistol permit licensing and amendments in St. Lawrence County, the following policies will be instituted beginning on January 1 ... and continuing until December 31, 2020 or until otherwise modified," Coffinger said in the memo.

According to her memo, current St. Lawrence County pistol permit holders with restrictions may apply for the removal of restrictions if they have had their permit for at least one year, had no suspensions or revocations for the past 10 years, complete the NRA-approved pistol safety course or a "type 1" classroom safety course provided by the sheriff's department within five years of the application for review.

New applicants may also apply for unrestricted permits if they complete a proper gun safety course. With proper documentation, active duty or retired law enforcement or military personnel who have had firearms training are exempt from the course requirement.

In the memo, Coffinger also lays out criteria for co-registration of pistols, but only if the co-registrants are spouses, or an adult child residing in the same household as the parent.

No more than two people can be co-registered to the same firearm.

The new options for unrestricted pistol licenses represent a dramatic change from Richards’ practice, which has drawn criticism from pistol owners and many St. Lawrence County lawmakers in recent years.

Richards announced his retirement in December and will officially resign in February. An election in November 2020 will choose St. Lawrence County's new county court judge, who will serve a 10-year term.

Until then, other judges have been appointed to handle Richards’ various duties.