posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 07:18 PM
Given the recent tragic events in Colorado there has been influx of threads concerning the nation's gun laws, both for and against, with each camp
having substantial, significant, and valuable contributions and considerations. Here in New York State, we have some of the most restrictive gun laws
in the nation. As many of you have called for more legislation and restrictions concerning handguns, I thought I might share with my fellow ATS
members what our application process is like, some rules & regs, etc, etc.
Oh, where to begin. Let's open with this first, NYS has its hands in everything, mostly so they can collect fees to continue to fatten the
pockets of elected officials and politicians, or as I like to refer to them as what and who they truly are, criminals. The application process
begins with a trip to the pistol permit office/sherrif's department, however, you must first call to set up an appointment to pick up the application
paperwork. The office clerk, who was a tyrannt in this position, recently retired, but held the position for over twenty years. Her hours were
irregular, limited to three days a week, a little "slow," and had a mean streak, if provoked. The secret was, and I learned it early on, was to ask
her about her grandchildren. This all for a county of approximately 74,000 residents. Nothing is available on the computer or the internet. On the
second appointment when it came time for fingerprints, she would have to request an on-duty deputy to complete them because in NY, only a LEO is
permitted to perform fingerprints (according to her, and she refused to be deputized for the task at hand), provided the deputy was not busy. The
equipment was antiquated, bordering on archaic. A follow up appointment was then made to submit the paperwork to the judge. The total cost is
approximately $130.00; amendments cost $3.00 each.
The relevant part of this process to the tragic events in Colorado is this, while the process that I underwent to obtain a handgun in my county seemed
cumbersome and unwieldly, it felt that way because I am a law-abiding citizen. It felt as though I was being punished in a sense. So much of the
process seemed irrelevant, because I wasn't a criminal, or a felon, was not involved in illicit drugs, no violent history, no domestic violence
history, and no mental health issues. NYS requires a handgun safety course prior to the submission of the paperwork, or the judge will not sign-off on
the applicant's permit. The NRA offers such a course, and it is usually taught by state instructors and provided by organizations, like Bass Pro Shop
and Gander Mountain. Additionally, these NRA classes are routinely offered at community colleges in the area. I was exempt from this requirement as I
served in the military and received training on a variety of different weapons. I had to do was provide a copy of my DD-214, or discharge papers.
Much of the paperwork in NYS, or at least my county of residence, required my signature for release of medical information, including releases of
information regarding my mental health, including any medications prescribed for anxiety, depression, etc. It seemed like I signed three to four
releases just for medical records. There also was a standard FBI background check and criminal background. Additionally, it is necessary to submit
three letters of reference.
This entire process takes approximately six months to hear back from the county.
In NYS, it is understood that the permit is CCW, unless the judge places a restriction on it. That all depends on the need of the individual, but
more importantly, the opinion of the judge. In my county, unless there is reason to deny it, the judge approves CCW. NYS is concealed, or closed carry
only; there is no open carry in this state. A NYS pistol permit is valid everywhere except New York City and the 5 boroughs. Each county is this state
does things different. In my county, it takes about a week to add another pistol to your permit. The typical process is you present a purchase receipt
to the pistol permit office. The judge takes about a week to to sign and return the request.
Overall, I'd say the vetting process in NYS is a good one. Though, lengthy, it address not only an applicant's criminal but medical and mental
health history as well. I know this is not the case in other states. While we do have some decent gun law legislation, we have too much of what I
would call, "Feel Good Legislation." This type of gun law legislation appears good on paper, but lacks any real teeth to keep guns out of the hands
of criminals, or otherwise people who should not possess firearms. Much of the law on the books in NY just hurts the law-abiding citizen, as I believe
the state, at least my county, has a strong selection and denial process. NY limits handgun magazines to 10 rounds. This law is more annoying for the
gun owner than anything else. NY has also adopted the Federal Assault Weapons ban. So unless your rifle magazines are considered "Pre-Ban," you are
also limited to 10 round magazines. Unlike handguns, rifles and shotguns are able to be purchased and taken possession of on the same day, provided
you pass the criminal background check.
It seems the problem is that each state is so different; there is no standard procedure from state to state. Some states are less or more restrictive
than others to obtain firearms, handguns in particular. What gun owners want the most is standarization and pro-active gun laws, based upon logic
rather than emotion. Reactionary gun laws really do nothing to stop tragic events like in Arizona or Colorado.
The issue of gun control and discussion of the 2nd Amendment are far-reaching and its implications are more complicated than black-n-white. There are
so many points to argue on this topic. My brother lives in Pennsylvania, and the gun laws there are significantly different than ours in NY.
Pennsylvania is significantly less restrictive than NY, and while I appreciate this as a law-abiding citizen, I can understand how someone who should
not be in possession of firearms can cause a lot of pain, injury, and death. This is not to say that someone, once previously in a state of good
mental health cannot have a psychotic break and wreak the same havoc. The only way to prevent something like this is to ban firearms all together and
this is something that you just won't see in this country.
This issue of gun control is highly-polarized by itself, and especially so given recent events, and even more so given the fact that this is an
election year and it will politicized by both democrats and republicans. My political views are typically moderate, so I find it easy to make
compromises provided they are rationale and objective. I am also happiest when both sides of the issue can walk away with "something" that is
important to them.
Here in NY, I believe the strength of our gun laws lies in the vetting process, not the actual gun laws themselves. It is always easier and best to
"prevent" than have to "treat afterwards." Again, I have to stress that each county is different in NYS, how different? I do not know...
I think this paints a solid picture of gun control laws in NYS, at least at the very basic level of obtaining firearms. So, as a nation, do our state
laws help or hurt us? What do we do about it? As a moderate I see easy solutions, provided we can leave politics out of it. Is that possible?