By the time the Niagara County Courthouse opened Wednesday morning, 150 people had lined up to get permits that would allow them to carry handguns concealed in public. Nearly 100 people camped out overnight, some staying up all night on deck chairs and taking regular walks to keep warm.
The crowds represent an urge that has become evident in most of New York as hundreds of people try to evade the hours of training and paperwork required by the new gun law, many of which include effective Thursday.
The state passed the measure in an effort to continue to strictly regulate firearms after the U.S. Supreme Court in June introduced a centuries-old law that severely restricts the carrying of handguns in public. , which stipulates that citizens have a broad right to self-defense outside the home.
Since then, New York City has seen a 54 percent increase in trailing permit applications. Oswego County has appointed two more employees to handle the permit full-time. Niagara court officials, who had to divide Wednesday’s crowd into three lines, have been processing 150 applications a day this week. And one certified firearms trainer in Suffolk County says he gets up to 50 phone calls a day from people wanting to get licensed.
Coach Matthew D. Seifer said: “People are just scrambling to sign up for their jobs right now. He added that those who have not received a new permit by Thursday – a months-long backlog in much of the state will include many people in line – will still have to pay attention to the new requirements for carrying follow the trail, which includes 16 hours of training, as well as providing character references and a list of past and current social media accounts.
Those obstacles may have encouraged new applicants to push past the deadline. But they may not be permanent: They could be scrutinized by the Supreme Court, which is expected to redefine its already expanded stance on the Second Amendment. The law was challenged, in a case that a federal judge fired on Wednesday night. But a similar challenge could ultimately be heard in Washington.
“It was a fair and right decision, and our smart, sensible gun laws go into effect as planned tomorrow, September 1st to keep New Yorkers safe,” said Governor Kathy. Hochul spoke about the judge’s order in a statement Wednesday night.
In an earlier news conference, the governor acknowledged the increase in applications but said she did not expect an immediate increase in concealed firearms, as there had been time to process. registration applications; Waiting times can be as long as a year, she said.
But ultimately, demand for guns will harm safety, Hochul added, noting that under the old law, New York had the fifth-lowest per capita death rate from guns. She called the Supreme Court’s decision “sloppy and reprehensible.”
“We have worked very, very hard, illegally removing thousands of guns from other states onto our streets,” she said. “We don’t need guns on our streets.”
License applicants must provide fingerprints to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services for background checks. In the nine weeks since the Supreme Court’s decision, the agency has received an average of 1,719 filings a week, compared with 845 during the same period last year. Over the past three weeks, that average has risen to 2,452. While not all of those submissions indicate a license application, let alone a successful one, they help illustrate the need.
About 100 applications have been filed in the past 24 hours in Wayne County, in the western part of the state, Alison McGee, a pistol licensing officer, said Wednesday. The one-day total represents about a quarter of all applications filed in the county this year.
Kevin Dix, a retired deputy sheriff who has worked as a gun instructor in central New York for more than 20 years, said interest in his class has reached an all-time high.
“I saw the whole parking lot full of cars,” he said. “I’ve gotten to the point of telling people to bring their own lawn chairs.”
In most counties, license holders can reconfirm them with the state police in a simple process that can be completed online. That has led officials to believe that backers are mostly new applicants.
In New York City, and in Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester counties, permits must be renewed every three years, a much more cumbersome process that would require permit holders to meet the same requirements as permit holders. submit a new application.
No surprise to the experts. Jonathan Metzl, director of the Department of Health, Health and Social Affairs at Vanderbilt University, whose research focuses on guns in the US.
The new rules – which also ban the carrying of guns in a large number of “sensitive locations” including public transport, parks and playgrounds – have alarmed some gun sellers. Bill McGuire, 73, owner of Interlaken Guns & Ammo on Main Street in the town of Finger Lakes, said the new law was unconstitutional.
“Pistol licensees are the most honest people in the entire state,” said McGuire, who is wearing a Kahr P40 semi-automatic pistol, one of 16 pistols he owns. “Why? Because if they break the law, they’ll have their license taken away and they don’t want to lose it.”
The new law, which also makes it illegal to carry guns in private businesses unless they signal otherwise, has raised concerns to the contrary. For many people, the idea of guns in public represents what Carmen De La Rosa, a city councilwoman who represents neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan, calls “cultural change.”
“I don’t want to imagine a New York City where people just carry firearms,” she said. “It’s a scary prospect.”
At a press conference with Governor Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams noted that police have recovered about 4,700 illegal firearms so far this year, and that there have been more than 1,200 victims of shootings in the city. town by the end of August.
“The Supreme Court has targeted the death of New Yorkers,” Mr. Adams said. “They put us on fire.”
Seifer, a gun trainer in Suffolk County, said the new law may discourage people from bringing guns into New York City. He says he is advising customers to keep weapons in their cars when they visit. Given the density of sensitive sites in the city and private property regulations, they could be in trouble, he said.
“You run the risk of being exposed that if you carry a handgun without compliance, you will be charged,” he said. “You will lose your license and you will be charged with a felony.”
Kenneth Sturtz contribution reports from Oswego, Cole Louison from Ithaca and Jeffery C. Mays from New York City.