New York, NY – The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) License Division has approved just 13 percent of the flood of firearms permit applications that have been submitted since the start of the pandemic.
Part of the reason for the low approval rates is allegedly tied to the fact that many officers working in the License Division were pulled from their regular duties in the wake of the widespread riots that erupted following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the New York Post reported.
Prospective gun owners flocked to the NYPD with their permit applications as rioters and looters ransacked areas of the city.
“Many cops in police headquarters, including the License Division, were put in uniform to police those protests,” an NYPD source told the New York Post.
“The politicians are generally against giving licenses, to begin with, so it’s not a priority,” an NYPD source told the New York Post, noting that the Licensing Division still remains woefully understaffed.
“They just stopped doing the investigations and the processing,” an anonymous New York firearms broker told the paper. “It’s a slowdown across the board. It’s every person that applies. Every day, I’m speaking to frustrated people.”
The NYPD has received 8,088 first-time rifle and pistol permits since the city’s COVID-19 restrictions went into effect on March 22, the New York Post reported.
That figure was more than triple the number of applications that were submitted between March 22, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2019, according to NYPD records obtained by the paper.
Despite the flood of applications, only 1,087 have been approved thus far, as opposed to the 1,778 permits that were granted during the same period in 2019, the New York Post reported.
The department approved 70 percent of applications last year between March 22 and Dec. 31, according to the paper.
They’ve approved less than 14 percent during the same period this year.
“The steep drop in the approval rate for firearms permits in New York City is very suspicious,” Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt told the New York Post. “This underscores the problem with forcing law-abiding citizens to get permission from bureaucrats before exercising their rights.”
The surge in applications comes amid an alarming spike in murders and shootings throughout the city, the New York Post reported.
New York City’s murder rate is up 39 percent from last year, while the number of shootings has risen almost 98 percent.
“It’s not surprising more people want guns,” one NYPD source told the New York Post. “People are getting pushed on the subway tracks. People are getting robbed. It’s because crime is going up…People want to protect themselves.”
Coliseum Gun Traders owner Andy Chernoff, whose business is in Long Island, said application approval is at an all-time low.
“I’ve never seen it this bad,” Chernoff told the New York Post. “This isn’t going away anytime soon. I bet these people don’t get their licenses for a year and a half.”
The NYPD was unable to immediately provide answers regarding the disparity between last year’s permit application and approval rates and the number and status of the applications submitted since the coronavirus restrictions were implemented, according to the New York Post.
Obtaining a concealed carry permit was already a near-impossible feat prior to the pandemic, according to FOX News.
In order to apply, residents must be at least 21 years of age, have never been treated for mental illness, cannot be the subject of a protective order, must be designated as an individual with good moral character, and must already have a New York Pistol License, FOX News reported.
Applicants are also required to fork over a $340 application fee, which is non-refundable, even if they are denied.
“New York City is one of the most restrictive CCW jurisdictions in the country, and it is very hard to get. On average it takes between six and nine months,” Athlon Outdoors editorial director Nino Bosaz told FOX News back in May.
In fact, the process is so sluggish and filled with roadblocks, Bosaz said he recommends that applicants turn to a well-versed attorney for help.
“The initial application usually results in a denial that must then be appealed,” he told FOX News. “The city does not generally recognize an individual right to carry outside the home, and ties the carry license to a business, where the applicant must prove a ‘justifiable need’ to carry concealed.”
There are three situations which meet the “justifiable need” threshold, according to Bosaz.
“Number one is proof that you regularly carry a significant amount of cash or jewelry as part of your business and can document it to the NYPD’s satisfaction,” he explained. “Number two is a recent, documented death threat that NYPD deems credible.”
“The death-threat justification seems to be a completely subjective decision that many observers would make different conclusions on,” Bosaz added.
The third justification is to designated as a “celebrity” by the city government, according to FOX News.
“It has become increasingly more difficult to provide justification to obtain a concealed weapons permit,” The Elite Intelligence and Protection Agency owner Lou Palumbo told FOX News. “The momentum or trend started to manifest itself during the Clinton administration, where laws governing the possession of weapons, in general, began to tighten.”
According to Bosaz, applications can be denied for a myriad of reasons, to include excessive unpaid parking citations, FOX News reported.
“No other civil right is so burdened,” he noted. “The [application] fees are exorbitant, and…authorities require you to answer intrusive questions unrelated to the exercise of a civil right.”
Everyone the applicant lives with must also approve of them being issued the permit before it can be granted, Bosaz told FOX News.
“Right now, criminals carry with impunity, and even if they don’t carry guns, they can murder you with a knife or their fists,” he added. “Nothing is more important than having the ability to protect ourselves and our families.”