Gun Permit Applications Are Soaring in NYC, But There's One Major Problem

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Posted: Dec 24, 2020 12:00 PM
Gun Permit Applications Are Soaring in NYC, But There's One Major Problem

Source: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Shootings are through the roof in New York City, and the residents who are not fleeing the Big Apple are applying for gun permits in skyrocketing numbers. The New York Post reports that nearly 9,000 New Yorkers have applied for gun permits amid the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The problem? Fewer than 1,100 of those applications have been approved, far less than the nearly 1,800 approved during the same time period last year.

(Via The Post

The 8,088 applications for first-time pistol and rifle permits submitted since March 22 — when coronavirus-related restrictions went into effect — represent a threefold-plus increase over the 2,562 submitted between March 22 and Dec. 31, 2019, NYPD statistics obtained by The Post this week show.

But only 1,087 applications were approved ...

Meanwhile, the approval rate since March 22 is less than 14 percent, compared to nearly 70 percent last year.

The dramatic drop comes despite an alarming spike in shootings, which are up almost 98 percent this year, and murders, which have risen about 39 percent, according to NYPD data.

Recent weeks have also seen a series of disturbing incidents that led one police source to say that “it’s not surprising more people want guns.”

“People are getting pushed on the subway tracks. People are getting robbed. It’s because crime is going up,” the cop said.

“People want to protect themselves.”

Gun store owners said they’ve been hearing complaints from would-be customers whose applications seem to have disappeared into limbo at the NYPD’s License Division, which was rocked by a corruption scandal in 2017.

“They just stopped doing the investigations and the processing,” said a city gun dealer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“It’s a slowdown across the board. It’s every person that applies. Every day, I’m speaking to frustrated people.”

Andy Chernoff, who’s owned Coliseum Gun Traders in Uniondale, Long Island, since 1979, said, “If I had to rely on New York City business, I’d be out of business.”

“I’ve never seen it this bad,” he said.

Chernoff told the Post that he doesn't expect applicants to get their licenses for another year and a half. And an unidentified NYPD source told the Post the licensing division is too short-staffed to handle all the gun-permit applications and pointed to an unofficial reluctance among politicians to approve them. 

"The politicians are generally against giving licenses, to begin with, so it’s not a priority," the source told the Post. 

As John R. Lott Jr., famed economist and Townhall contributor, writes, there is no good reason for local governments not to issue gun permits more generously. 

"Permit holders are extremely law-abiding, losing their licenses for firearm-related violations at rates of thousandths or tens of thousandths of one percentage point," Lott writes. "Police rarely commit crimes, and they are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at about one-twentieth as frequently as the general population. But permit holders are even more law-abiding, facing a conviction rate that is just one-tenth as often." 

Lott acknowledges police are the single most important factor in reducing crime but points out that police virtually always arrive on the crime scene after the crime occurs.

Issuing gun permits would be an easy way to help law-abiding people brave enough to remain in New York City protect themselves.