JASTRZEMSKI OFFERS SATELLITE HOURS IN FALLS, NT
NORTH TONAWANDA—Niagara County Clerk Joe Jastrzemski knows that New York State’s pistol permit process is a burden for many gun owners, and said he’s made it a goal of his office to increase access to services for local pistol permit holders.
That’s why the county’s Pistol Permit Office will be offering part-time satellite offices alongside the county’s DMVs in North Tonawanda and Niagara Falls. Jastrzemski also began sending out a mobile team to process amendments at area gun shows earlier this year—something many gun rights advocates have long asked for.
The county clerk, who is in the second year of his term, said the decision to create satellite pistol permit offices came after a pair of elected leaders from North Tonawanda approached him in February. The officials—Legislator Rich Andres, R-North Tonawanda, who chairs the County Legislature’s Community Services Committee and regularly works with the Clerk’s Office on policy, and North Tonawanda Alderman-at-Large Jeff Glatz, a former county manager and pistol permit holder—said they knew that for many city residents, particularly seniors, multiple trips to Lockport to add a pistol to a permit were a hassle.
“We pride ourselves on an approachable, customer service-oriented Pistol Permit Office, but even here in Niagara County, where we do everything we can to respect the Second Amendment, the amendment process can still be drawn-out,” Jastrzemski said Friday, after conducting a test run of the North Tonawanda Pistol Permit Office Satellite Site with Pistol Permit Clerk Patti Jo Sturak. “Exercising your Constitutional rights should never be an inconvenience.”
Under rules governing pistol permits, a pistol permit holder visits a gun shop and purchases a handgun. He or she is then given a receipt from the gun shop, which they currently take to the Niagara County Courthouse in Lockport and present to pistol permit clerks there, who then modify their pistol permit with what is known as an “amendment”: typically, a listing of the newly-purchased handgun model and serial number. They then receive their amended permit, their receipt, and a coupon that they must take back to the gun shop. Once there, the gun shop exchanges the coupon for the gun.
Jastrzemski says that adding the bi-weekly satellite hours in North Tonawanda and the Falls should save pistol buyers a visit to Lockport—an hour or so round trip. Jastrzemski noted that other amendments, such as change of name or address, or co-registration of guns, could also be performed at the satellite office, and that pistol permit application forms are always available at the county’s three DMV sites.
Glatz, a career Air Force officer who is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, said the development is welcome news for residents of his city.
“The law-abiding gun owners are inconvenienced by the state’s permit process. This lightens that load a bit, giving them easier access. I appreciate that,” Glatz said. “More importantly, though, this treats law-abiding citizens exercising their rights with the respect they deserve.”
Glatz helped in Friday’s test run, serving as a sort of “guinea pig.” Sturak used Glatz’s pistol permit for a fictional amendment to ensure the computer and card printer were working at the remote site.
The system worked flawlessly, Jastrzemski said.
Andres, who was also on-hand at Friday’s test, and who first brought Glatz and Jastrzemski together to talk about bringing the service to the NT DMV site, praised the County Clerk’s initiative.
“This is about delivering valuable services efficiently and respectfully to the taxpayers paying for them,” Andres said. “We have a lot of seniors who don’t necessarily want to go all the way to Lockport for government transactions, and we have busy career people in our community who have limited time to get a process like this completed, perhaps on a lunch hour. This is designed with them in mind.”
Andres added that “efficiency is the goal here, as well as convenience.”
The North Tonawanda Pistol Permit Satellite Office will be located in the North Tonawanda County Building, 500 Wheatfield St., North Tonawanda, and will operate the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The North Tonawanda Satellite will be open June 14, July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8, and Dec. 13.
The Niagara Falls Pistol Permit Satellite Office will be located in the Trott Access Center, 1001 11th St., Niagara Falls, and will operate the fourth Wednesday of the month from from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Niagara Falls Satellite will be open June 28, July 26, Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 25, Nov. 22, and Dec. 27.