New York Gun Laws Continue to Punish the Law-Abiding

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

If you want to legally exercise your right to keep and bear arms in the Big Apple, it's going to cost you hundreds of dollars in application and training fees. Then there's the issue of the time that it takes to get your Second Amendment permission slip; from the months-long wait for the NYPD Licensing Bureau to schedule you for an in-person interview to the interminable delays while your application is being processed. Only after you've forked over a large sum of money and twiddled your thumbs for months on end will you be able to keep or carry a gun without fear of being charged with a violent felony. 

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If you don't mind breaking the law, however, getting and carrying a gun in New York City is simple. In fact, it's so easy that even pre-teens and illegal immigrants can arm themselves by utilizing the booming black market in the five boroughs. 

Just this week the NYPD has taken a 12-year-old boy into custody for fatally shooting his 14-year-old cousin on Sunday morning, along with a 19-year-old from Venezuela who's suspected of shooting two NYPD officers early Monday morning. 

NYPD Officer Richard Yarusso, 26, was shot in the chest while wearing his bullet-proof vest, while his partner, Officer Christopher Abreu, also 26, was hit in the leg, police said.

Police said the officers' injuries came after the 19-year-old suspect, Bernardo Raul Castro Mata, allegedly opened fire after the officers spotted Castro before 2 a.m. EDT driving the wrong way on 82nd Street near 23rd Avenue in East Elmhurst. 

The migrant teen then allegedly ditched the scooter and proceeded to run on foot before the shooting incidents took place, police said. Both officers, part of the 115th precinct, were treated at Elmhurst Hospital and then released about six hours later.

Abreu and Yarusso were investigating a series of robberies totaling 80 so far that involved criminals using motorized scooters or bikes. 

Police officials say Castro Mata entered the United States illegally last July from Venezuela through Eagle Pass, Texas, and was staying in a converted migrant shelter.

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According to the NYPD, more than 2,700 guns have been confiscated in the city this year; almost 18 guns per day. Meanwhile, the department won't say how many concealed carry permits have been issued since the start of the year; perhaps because it would be embarrassing to officially acknowledge the paltry number of concealed carry licensees in the city. We do know that in 2022 the department only issued 1,551 carry permits, compared to seizing 7,135 guns from individuals who were possessing them in violation of New York law.

Some of those seizures involved individuals accused of committing actual crimes of violence, but even if someone was simply carrying without a permit because they wanted to protect themselves and knew it would be a waste of time to go through the bureaucratic nightmare of applying for a license they could still be charged with a violent felony offense. 

New York's gun control laws clearly aren't effective at preventing folks from getting their hands on a gun illegally, but they're doing a bang-up job of blocking residents from lawfully exercising a fundamental civil right.

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