If you are a gun owner and don’t live in New York City, consider yourself lucky. Obtaining a firearms license in the Big Apple is nothing short of a nightmare.
People who attempt to get one are in for a long and difficult process that’s extremely frustrating. It takes time, perfect paperwork, and many months of waiting. The process is the same for long guns, shotguns and handguns — even though there are different offices that you have to go to for each type.
Let’s look at what red tape the responsible gun owners of NYC have to go through in order to obtain a firearms permit.
An Office in Queens and One in Manhattan
If you want to get a firearms license for a hunting rifle, you’ll have to deal with an office in Queens called the Rifle and Shotgun Licensing Section of the New York City Police Department. You have to be at least 21-years-old with no criminal record to start with. With a prior arrest, even if you weren’t convicted, they are probably going to deny your application. There are a ton of extra hoops you have to jump through if you have even a misdemeanor on your record. Plus, if you have been in the military, you’ll need to show your honorable discharge papers as well.
You’ll be fingerprinted and have to pay two separate fees of $140 and $91.50. Then you have to bring four separate photos of yourself attached to your application, proof of your address, birth certificate, and social security card. The total application is 13 pages long, and needs to be notarized.
After about a year of waiting, you’ll hopefully get the firearms license. The bad news is that this license only lasts for three years before you have to go through the process all over again — and pay an additional fee, of course.
If you are going to get a pistol permit, you’ll have to go to an office in Manhattan at their Pistol Licensing Division. When you are applying for a handgun license, you’ll need to go through some of the same steps but also the additional process of sending in personal reference letters that speak of your “moral character.” Then you’ll be scheduled for an interview.
The interview itself isn’t so bad. They ask you about ten basic questions about why you want to own a handgun and if you understand when the use of deadly force is permissible. After some extra waiting time, you’ll finally be sent a letter of acceptance or denial, and then you can pick up the license and purchase authorization from the office in Manhattan at 1 Police Plaza. The fee for this license is $340, but many people pay for an attorney to help facilitate the process.
If you have questions or concerns about the process, the NYPD has a booklet out that details all the steps you need to take. Keep in mind that, in 36 other states, you don’t need any kind of legal license to purchase and own a gun. It kind of makes you think that as a gun owner, it’s definitely not worth living in NYC.