One day, I made the decision to be a firearms owner. I wanted to learn all that I could about handguns, and I wanted to carry a firearm for protection. So, I went online to find out how to start the process of obtaining my concealed carry permit. It began at my local police station.
In the near future, I am going to be outlining the entire process for obtaining a permit in NY (not NYC). That’s for another time, though.
In New York, nearly every permit issued will come with some administrative restrictions. These restrictions are typically stamped on the bottom of the permit and will say something to the effect of “For Hunting And Target Only”. Ironically, any pistol permit issued in NY is, by nature, a permit to carry a firearm. The restrictions are just as I’ve said: administrative. If, for example, you are pulled over while carrying your firearm on a restricted permit, you cannot be arrested and your firearm cannot be taken from you. You are legally in possession of that firearm, regardless as to whether you’re carrying it or not.
However, if the officer who pulled you over wants to mention the fact that you are carrying on a restricted permit to your judge, they are certainly free to do so. And with that happening, your judge is also free to revoke your permit.
Anyway, the point here is that most permits are issued with restrictions. I know, it doesn’t make any sense. Welcome to New York.
As with most, my permit had these restrictions in place when it was issued. I could go buy a handgun now and have it put on my permit, but I technically couldn’t carry it. So, after just 6 months of having my permit, I made the decision to send my judge a letter with the simple request of having my restrictions removed. Everyone told me I was nuts and it would be a complete waste of time. My thought? It’ll cost me 20 minutes drafting the letter and $0.44 for the stamp. I had nothing more to lose.
I gave no reason in my letter. I simply asked. I made sure to mention that I have taken safety classes and continuously practice and keep up-to-date with legislation both on the state and federal level.
Within 6 weeks of mailing my letter, I received a letter notifying me that my new permit was ready to pick up. With a 20 minute drive to the clerk’s office and a $10 bill in my hand, I picked up my new permit with no “Restriction” stamp at the bottom. In the eyes of NY, I could now carry a concealed firearm.
I called my father immediately who was down in Florida with my mother. “Dad, guess what. I just got back from the county clerk’s office and they gave me my unrestricted permit!” A brief moment of silence, and no doubt some disbelief, my father congratulates me and is excited to return home from Florida. “Hmm, I think I will try that when I get back. Can’t hurt, right?”
As soon as he got back, he began drafting his letter to his particular judge. It’s fun to note here that his judge is pro-gun, while mine seems to be in the middle of the road. He writes his letter after taking a look at mine, just for good measure. When he was finished, he hand delivered it to the clerk’s office and crossed his fingers.
Four days later, he received a letter in the mail. “The judge would like to see you.”
I was out of town when the letter arrived and when my father called me to tell me what it said, the only thing that came to mind was “Crap”.
He went down to see the judge on the date and time specified. He went before the judge and the judge asked, “Why are you requesting an unrestricted permit?” Many judges want a reason such as “I carry large amounts of cash for work” or “My life is in danger for xxxx reason”. Now while I wasn’t there to witness the response, my father is a very level-headed person and I am certain he expressed some very valid and polite reasons. Still…
And that was that.
Here’s the thing. I’ve had my permit for less than 10 years. My request for an unrestricted permit was done just 6 months after receiving my permit. And my request was granted after just 6 months. My father on the other hand, has had his permit since the 60’s and is a model citizen. Denied.
He will be trying again using this same method and if he is denied again, will be taking them to court on principle alone. It will likely be a long –but necessary– process.
If you give this some thought, it’s a roll of the dice. It depends on your judge, and it may even depend on their mood on the particular day that your request comes across their desk. I don’t have any contacts down at the county clerk’s office, as many people seem to believe (since I so effortlessly received my permit). Heck, I haven’t even met my judge. However, I’ve had many a friend that have needed to go in front of their judge during the pistol permit application process (and during the process of trying to remove restrictions). There is no rhyme or reason other than what’s going on in your particular judge’s mind at the time of the decision making (and of course, their views on gun rights and concealed carry).
We’ve passed the background check. They’ve spoken with our references. They’ve done their research into our backgrounds. They’ve checked our DMV records and they’ve scanned our fingerprints. Yet after all of this, the decision is still at the discretion of your judge. Doesn’t it seem like a change should be made?