St. Lawrence County legislators call on state for changes to pistol licensing process
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 9:16 am

By JIMMY LAWTON

CANTON – The full board of legislators approved a resolution Monday that calls on the state to remove the responsibility for issuing pistol licenses from judges.

The resolution was also approved recently by the Finance Commitee.

The resolution was introduced in the wake of an opinion from the Judicial Conduct Board, which states that the decision to initiate licensing revocations or suspensions should be made by prosecuting agencies such as district attorneys, not judges.

According to the county resolution, changing this responsibility would remove the potential for impropriety of judges acting as prosecutor and judge on issues related to the permitting process.

As it stands, the St. Lawrence County judge not only issues the licenses, but may also unilaterally revoke or restrict a license without review.

Because of the state board ruling, county legislators are asking the state to remove that responsibility from judges in order “create uniformity in the issuance of pistol licenses within the county and state.”

The resolution says that “in the absence of state legislative change, the board of legislators is of the opinion that the decision to prosecute pistol license revocations should rest solely with a prosecuting agency, whether that be the district attorney or county attorney.”

Judge Jerome Richards did not wish to comment on the matter.

The resolution passed in a 12-0 vote with two members of the legislature absent from the meeting.