NYC Carry Applications on the Rise in Response to Crime Concerns

AP Photo/John Minchillo

The number of New York City residents applying for a concealed carry license is growing by leaps and bounds compared to the pre-Bruen days, though how many of those applications have been approved is an open question. The NYPD Licensing Bureau reports that more than 13,000 applications were submitted in 2023, with another 3,300 or so turned in between January 1 and March 3 this year, but the department isn't detailing how long it's taking to approve the applications, or how many New Yorkers have actually received their carry permits. 


The New York Daily News spoke with several folks in the firearm community about the increase in applications, and managed to find a gun store owner who's not happy about the current training requirements for applicants; not because they're overly cumbersome when it comes to exercising a fundamental civil right, but because they don't go far enough for his liking.  

David, a firearm consultant who helps New York gun permit seekers with the process, said the application explosion comes as he has noticed an increasing number of clients wishing to get a weapon because they’re scared. While major crimes in the city have dipped in recent years, they still remain above pre-pandemic levels. 

“Definitely the most popular reason is they just don’t feel as safe as they used to, with the protests, riots, crime,” David, who spoke on condition that his last name not be used, told The News, referring to recent demonstrations against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

The new police data reviewed by The News shows the NYPD received 13,369 gun permit applications in 2023. That marked a significant jump from 2022, when the department received 7,407 applications, and 2021, when it took in 4,665, according to the data.

From Jan. 1 through March 3, the most recent span for which data is available, the department received 3,358 applications, making the total number of permit claims submitted since Jan. 1, 2023 at least 16,727. If the application clip through March 3 continues, the department will see roughly the same spiked number of permit claims in 2024 as it did in 2023. 

Gerald Esposito, owner of Esposito’s Custom Guns in Queens, said he sees the increase in permit seekers as an overall good thing, but worried New York’s current weapons training requirements for applicants are too lax.

“It’s 16 hours in the classroom and two hours on the range. I took the class and it’s a very basic class. I would not let someone hold a gun next to me who was in that class. I was scared with some of the people in the class. One mistake could be a very bad mistake,” said Esposito, whose shop mostly caters to patrons who need customized weapons for target shooting competitions. “The training needs to be beefed up or reinforced … I would love everyone to have the right to carry a gun, but I want to be safe too.”


Everybody does have the right to carry (with a few exceptions, of course). New York is infringing on that right by mandating eighteen hours of training; a requirement that simply doesn't exist for any other civil liberty in the state. And despite Esposito's concern, there's no evidence that concealed carry holders have been committing crimes or were unsafe with their firearms even under the pre-Bruen training mandates, which required fewer hours of classroom time and no live-fire test. 

Esposito says he just wants to be safe. Well, so do the people who took the concealed carry class with him, and they have good reason to be concerned. 

The data shows that as of last Sunday, the number of major felonies in the city so far this year are up 39.3% when compared to the same period in 2019. Looking at the same comparative point in time, the number of shooting victims are up 16.7% and the number of shooting incidents are up 11.1%.

Looking at the more recent past, major felonies are down in the city by 0.9% when compared to 2022 and down 3.1% when compared to last year. Shooting victims and shooting incidents are down even more, having respectively dropped by 39.1% and 39.5% when compared to 2022, the data shows.

Echoing David the firearms consultant, a Nassau County gun shop owner told The News he has in his own surroundings noticed more people applying for weapon permits because of “what’s going on globally.”

“It’s taken on an extra sense of urgency,” said the owner, who spoke on condition that neither he nor his shop be named. “People are in fear of what’s going on.”


If New York actually respected the right to keep and bear arms we'd probably see even more applications filed in the five boroughs, but between the 18-hour training mandate and the $340 non-refundable application fee, the state has placed carry licenses outside the reach of some residents. That might be just fine for some gun owners like Esposito, but the rest of us would prefer the state pay more than lip service to the Second Amendment. That's why we're supporting lawsuits like Antonyuk v. James, which could be taken up by the Supreme Court this fall. The "gun-free zones" and ridiculous training requirements imposed after Bruen were put in place to defy SCOTUS and deprive citizens of their Second Amendment rights, and with any luck, it won't be long before the Court steps in once again and reminds officials like Letitia James and Kathy Hochul of that pesky little document called the Bill of Rights. 

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