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Pistol permit application numbers steady amid criticism of state move

Staff and wire reports
Posted 7/8/22

New York lawmakers approved a recent sweeping overhaul of the state’s handgun licensing rules, seeking to preserve some limits on firearms ...

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Pistol permit application numbers steady amid criticism of state move


UTICA — New York lawmakers approved a recent sweeping overhaul of the state’s handgun licensing rules, seeking to preserve some limits on firearms after the Supreme Court ruled that most people have a right to carry a handgun for personal protection.

The licensing rules measure was signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul after passing both chambers.

The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, strikes the right balance between complying with the Supreme Court’s ruling and keeping weapons out of the hands of people likely to use them recklessly or with criminal intent, Hochul said, adding the new rules will require people applying for a handgun license to turn over a list of their social media accounts so officials could verify their “character and conduct.”

Also in the mix is a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a 109-year-old state law that required people to demonstrate an unusual threat to their safety to qualify for a license to carry a handgun outside their homes. That restriction generally limited the licenses to people who had worked in law enforcement or had another special need that went beyond routine public safety concerns.

• Hochul, a Democrat, called the Democrat-controlled Legislature back to Albany to work on the law after the high-court ruling overturning the state’s long standing licensing restrictions.

• Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers, opposed to tighter restrictions, argued the law violated the constitutional right to bear arms. They predicted it too would end up being overturned.

Sheriff’s group

This week, Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol released a statement from the state sheriff’s association.

“Once again the New York State Legislature has seen fit to pass sweeping new criminal justice laws that affect the rights of millions of New York citizens, and which impose burdensome new duties on local government officials, without any consultation with the people. … Some action by the Legislature was necessary to fill the firearms licensing vacuum created when the Supreme Court struck down New York’s unconstitutional restrictions on our citizens’ right to keep and bear arms. But it did not need to be thoughtless, reactionary action, just to make a political statement,” a statement notes, in part.

The statement continues, “The Sheriffs of New York do strongly support reasonable licensing laws that aim to assure that firearms do not get into the wrong hands. We do not support punitive licensing requirements that aim only to restrain and punish law-abiding citizens who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights. If we had been consulted before passage of these laws, we could have helped the Legislators discern the difference between those two things, and the result would have been better, more workable licensing provisions that respect the rights of our law-abiding citizens and punish the lawbreakers.”

Local impact

In Madison County there has been no noticeable reaction in the community with those seeking a pistol permit.

“There has not been a major uptick in applications since the ruling. We have seen about 25-30 applications since the ruling, that is about average for us,” confirmed a Madison County spokeswoman this week.

As of Friday, July 1, Madison County had 8,919 approved permits translating to 2,453 Unrestricted Conceal and Carry permits and 6,466 Restricted Conceal and Carry, the county reported.

The Madison County Permit process can be found online at:

This week in Oneida County, pistol permit office staff reported being busier than normal with the handling of permit applications, but multiple attempts to get further comment or information were unsuccessful.

More information about pistol permits in Oneida County can be found online at:

Nuts and bolts of state legislation

Per the passed state legislation, applicants will have to show they have “the essential character, temperament and judgment necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger oneself and others.”

As part of that assessment, applicants have to turn over a list of social media accounts they’ve maintained in the past three years.

The bill approved by lawmakers doesn’t specify whether applicants will be required to provide licensing officers with access to private social media accounts not visible to the general public.

People applying for a license to carry a handgun will also have to provide four character references, take 16 hours of firearms safety training plus two hours of practice at a range, undergo periodic background checks and turn over contact information for their spouse, domestic partner or any other adults living in their household.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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