Is NYC's Chaos Creating More Gun Owners?

With the number of New York City residents applying for permission to keep a gun in their home doubling compared to last year, there’s growing evidence that the Second Amendment is enjoying a surge in support in one of the most anti-gun jurisdictions in the country. Darren Leung, owner of the Westside Range in Manhattan, joins Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. today to talk about how the continued unrest on city streets and the surge in shootings and homicides in New York City are leading more residents to embrace their own right to keep and bear arms, even as the city does all that it can to keep New Yorkers from exercising their Second Amendment rights.


Leung’s range still isn’t open for business as usual, though he was able to reopen back in June to serve law enforcement. Civilians, on the other hand, are still forbidden to shoot at Westside, thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus enforcement orders, which will likely keep places like Westside Range off-limits to most gun owners for months to come. Even though the city is now in “Phase Four” of it’s re-open plan, Cuomo’s restrictions have kept restaurants closed to indoor dining, and museums, movie theaters, malls, and the city’s few gun ranges all remain closed.

Thanks to the help of a GoFundMe set up by one of the range patrons, Leung says he’s been able to keep the lights on, and he expects that when he’s officially allowed to reopen he’ll not only be greeting a steady stream of loyal range members, but some new gun owners as well. The range has been getting quite a few calls from non-gun owners who want to know more about how they can legally own a firearm in New York City, and Leung says he and his staff have been doing their best to educate those would-be gun owners while also tempering their expectations about how quickly they’ll be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights.


The process of securing government permission to keep a gun in a New York City home is a lengthy and expensive one, with hundreds of dollars in fees and all kinds of personal information (including tax returns!) required to be turned over to the NYPD Licensing Division for an investigation. If someone were to apply today, it’s likely that it will be sometime in the summer of 2021 before they’re approved or denied by the NYPD, and that denial can come even if the applicant is legally allowed under state and federal law to possess a firearm. Everything from unpaid child support to parking tickets can adversely affect an applicant, and if the licensing bureau determines that the applicant is not of “good moral character” or doesn’t have “good cause” to possess a handgun, they’ll likely be turned down.

In other words, while more New Yorkers may be interested in owning a gun than they were a year ago, New York officials are still as reluctant as ever to recognize the right to keep and bear arms in the city. Unfortunately that’s not likely to change unless and until the Supreme Court takes an interest in the Second Amendment, and if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win in November, the odds are that New York City-style gun control laws will be imposed on all of us, instead of the Second Amendment’s eventual recognition in the Big Apple.


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