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Clerks call on state for SAFE Act clarification

Monroe County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo, along with Livingston County Clerk Jim Culbertson and Wayne County Clerk Michael Jankowski, called on the state to accept the responsibility for investigating mental health issues of weapons owners relating to the SAFE Act.

A top State Police official was quoted in a Buffalo-area news story as saying it’s the duty of county clerks. Clerks say, not so fast, as they have no investigatory powers, Dinolfo said.

“This is not a county clerk responsibility,” Dinolfo said.

A provision of the SAFE Act indicates that an individual may be the subject of a 9.46 mental health report, which is required if that person is determined to be likely to engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to himself or others. If that person has a firearms license, it must be revoked or suspended and weapons turned over.

Dinolfo cited the case of two people in two separate counties who had their licenses revoked as a result of information supplied by the state. Neither of the individuals was confirmed as the actual subject of the 9.46 report that identified them.

The state is better equipped to investigate than county clerks offices, which are conduits to pass information along to the appropriate agency, Dinolfo said.

Clerks already have taken issue with state leaders over some of the costs of the new gun law they say are passed onto local governments.