OPWDD NICS-01 Application For Certificate Of Relief From Disabilities Relating To Firearms
If you have been, or may be, disqualified from possessing a firearm based on an involuntary commitment to a facility for persons with developmental disabilities in New York State, you may petition the New York State Office For People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) for relief from that civil rights disability. OPWDD will review your application and determine whether your record and reputation are such that you will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and where granting the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.
The NICS Improvement Act amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, which established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Brady Act requires Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) to contact NICS before transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person. NICS will provide the FFL with information on whether the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under state or federal law. Federal law prohibits the receipt or possession of firearms by an individual who has a history of involuntarily commitment to a facility serving individuals with developmental disabilities. (Federal law prohibits the receipt or possession of firearms for many other reasons.) Federal Law requires that New York State establish a "certificate of relief from disabilities" process to permit a person who has been disqualified from possessing a firearm to petition for relief from that civil rights disability. OPWDD only considers requests for a "certificate of relief from disabilities" concerning individuals who are prohibited because they have a history of involuntary commitment to a facility in New York State which serves individuals with developmental disabilities. OPWDD cannot grant a certificate of relief from disabilities for individuals who are prohibited because of any other reason, such as the individual's criminal history or history of involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital. The New York State Office of Mental Health considers requests for a "certificate of relief from disabilities" concerning individuals who have a history of involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital in New York State.
To Apply for the Certificate of Relief
To apply for the certificate of relief from OPWDD, you must complete the application (PDF) and submit it to OPWDD along with all other required documentation. The application may also be obtained by contacting the NICS Appeals Office, Counsel's Office, Office For People With Developmental Disabilities, 44 Holland Avenue, Albany, New York 12229, or via telephone at (518) 474-7700. The application and all documentation must be sent by mail (return receipt is preferable). Incomplete applications cannot be considered.
Overview of the Application Process
Once you have submitted the application and additional documentation, your application will be reviewed by OPWDD and a determination will be made whether or not to issue a certificate of relief from disabilities. If OPWDD finds that you have demonstrated that gun ownership would not be dangerous to public safety or contrary to public interest, you will be issued a written determination indicating that a certificate of relief has been issued. OPWDD will also notify NICS of the issuance of the certificate of relief from disabilities for the purpose of updating your record. You will also be provided with written notice that the certificate of relief does not automatically qualify you to purchase or possess a firearm. The certificate of relief will only remove the civil rights disability based on your involuntary commitment to a facility serving individuals with developmental disabilities in New York State. If you are denied a certificate of relief, you will receive this decision in writing and will be notified that you have the right to have the decision reviewed in accordance with New York State law. Please be advised that if you are denied, you may not apply again for a certificate of relief until one year after the date that the written determination is issued.