New Yorkers rush to apply for carry permits ahead of new mandates

New Yorkers rush to apply for carry permits ahead of new mandates
Don Petersen

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and her anti-gun allies in the state legislature may have taken dramatic steps to try to keep New Yorkers from exercising their right to bear arms in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning the state’s “may issue” carry permitting scheme, but the sweeping new restrictions set to take effect on Thursday aren’t stopping thousands of residents from applying for their permits. Several counties have reported long lines of hopeful gun owners waiting to apply, and in Erie County the county clerk announced that they’ll be open until midnight on Wednesday evening in order to accept applications that will be processed under the state’s current standards (albeit without the applicant having to demonstrate a “good cause” to carry).

Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns said the permit process is only step one.

“The Erie County Clerks office handles one third of the process,” Kearns said.

After the application and safety classes, there are background checks, finger printing and approval from a judge. Kearns said he recently spoke with eighth district judge Williams Boller who gave him insight one the deadline.

“As long as people get their application in prior to September 1st, you will not have the burden of the new restrictions under the law,” Kearns said. “So that’s why we’re having so many people applying,” Kearns said.

Under the new requirements, applicants will have to demonstrate proof that they’ve undergone 16 hours of training, including two hours of live fire instruction at a range. Applicants must also pass both a written test and a range test, and provide licensing officials with all of their social media accounts in order for authorities to determine whether an applicant is of “good moral character”. Unsurprisingly, many New Yorkers are choosing to apply ahead of the new laws going into effect.

Gun enthusiasts who were only allowed to fire their weapons at a gun range before the high court struck down the state’s tough gun permit laws are among the thousands of people now anxiously seeking full carry permits, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.

CBS2 discovered 9,187 people applied to the state for fingerprinting for gun permit background checks in August alone. That’s a stunning increase from the 3,187 who applied in August 2021.

Experts say the rush to get gun permits before the new law takes effect is because people don’t like the new requirements developed by Gov. Kathy Hochul and state officials to blunt the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision.

The new law says applicants must get 16 hours of hands-on gun training that includes firing and turn over three years of social media posts to prove they are of “good moral character.”

“This is going to ensure that we have qualitative people that are afforded these gun permits,” said Darrin Porcher, a Pace University professor and former NYPD lieutenant.

Actually, this is going to ensure that some people are denied their permits based on the arbitrary and capricious reasoning of licensing officials; a practice that was supposed to come to a screeching halt when SCOTUS ruled the state’s “may issue” laws out of order.

And when these applicants actually receive their new permits, it’s going to be a felony offense for them to carry in most publicly-accessible places in the state, from public transportation to public parks. All privately-owned properties are de facto “gun-free zones” under New York’s new rules, with some property owners allowed to approve concealed carry on their premises but many others forbidden from doing so under any circumstance.

Given those restrictions and the legal jeopardy they entail for gun owners who want to remain on the right side of the law, it’s kind of amazing that there’s a rush to acquire a carry permit right now. There’s clearly a desire on the part of many New Yorkers to bear arms in self-defense, even if officials like Hochul and New York Attorney General Letitia James are doing everything they can to criminalize that right.

Will these new rules actually take effect though? There are multiple legal challenges underway, and it’s possible that some or all of the new laws may be halted before they can be enforced if the courts act before Thursday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that outcome, but even if the laws are allowed to take effect the court fights will continue until the state is finally forced to recognize and respect the right of the people to keep and bear arms.