Jun 29, 2010


In comments over at Jay's and a post over at Borepatch's, New York is referred to as "May Issue". In fact, it's even listed as "May Issue" over at handgunlaw.us.

Arguably, though, we fall somewhere between "Shall Issue" and "May Issue". New York City is definitely "may". The rest of the state? The process is slow, onerous, can be invasive, and expensive ... but a licensing officer (often a county judge) has to provide "good cause" for denial of a pistol permit.

Now - once you have the permit, many counties will place administrative restrictions on the permit. In my previous county, my permit was stamped no less than five times, "FOR HUNTING AND TARGET USE ONLY".

Here's the thing:
There is no basis in law for that restriction. Judges started using it on their own, and no one challenged it in time to prevent it becoming a de facto restriction.

Now, you can still carry a pistol on a restricted permit... there is no criminal penalty for doing so. The most serious outcome possible would be for an officer to get wild hair and take the time to contact the issuing judge and recommend a suspension or revocation of the permit. *Most* officers won't go that route, but I suppose it's a possibility. A judge could plausibly say the permit holder was showing poor judgment by ignoring the restrictions. If that happens, you'd lose all your pistols - hopefully to a friend or on consignment in a gun shop, but still...

Other counties (usually the more rural ones) are very gun-friendly and essentially rubber-stamp an unrestricted permit if you don't have any disqualifying items.

It creates a hodgepodge mess of permissions, but a permit (and most counties are lifetime permits) is valid statewide (outside NYC), so once you get that "Carry" permit, you HANG ON TO IT.

So, is New York "shall" or "may"?


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