News and Commentary

New York City Is Approving Just 10% Of New Gun Permits Amid Surge In Violence
General view of the oldest gun shop in the city on Grand street. which is closed down because of the owners inability to pay rent without sales during COVID-19 pandemic.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Residents rushing to defend themselves are being denied gun permits in New York City, even as shootings, murders, and robberies have all increased in the city.

The New York Post reported that the “Big Apple’s staggering surge in shootings amid the COVID-19 pandemic has led nearly 9,000 terrified New Yorkers to apply for gun permits — but the NYPD has signed off on fewer than 1,100, The Post has learned.”

“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,” the outlet continued. “But only 1,087 applications were approved, far less than the 1,778 granted during the same period last year, according to the official data.”

The Post also reported that there has been a significant decline in the percentage over the same period compared to last year. Between March and December 2019, New York City approved nearly 70% of gun permits, but this year has only approved less than 14%.

Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw reported that the decrease is likely not due to people with criminal records applying “or other disqualifying factors.”

“Some (probably larger) percentage are being denied, of course, but a lot of the applications simply aren’t being processed. One reason is that many officers from the NYPD’s License Division have been pulled off and sent to other assignments during all of the riots and unrest. But some cops believe that this slowdown is being at least partly driven from the top down,” Shaw reported.

An NYPD source told the Post that the city’s License Division was short-staffed and that officials simply didn’t want to process new permits.

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

Another source told the Post that the slowdown in processing and approving gun permits started after the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, many of which turned violent.

“A source familiar with the situation said would-be gun owners began flooding the department with permit applications shortly after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked widespread protests, including in the Big Apple,” the Post reported. “Some of the local demonstrations led to riots and looting, including the ransacking of Macy’s famed flagship store in Manhattan’s Herald Square.”

A police officer told the Post that it wasn’t “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 told the outlet. “People want to protect themselves.”

One reason for the slowdown stems from the 2017 bribery scandal that rocked the city’s gun licensing agency. “A former New York City police lieutenant, two former police officers and a lawyer who once worked as a prosecutor were arrested in a federal gun licensing probe Tuesday as authorities described a scam in which police employees traded speedy handling of gun permits for paid vacations, jewelry, catered parties, cash and visits to strip clubs,” CBS New York reported at the time.

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