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NYPD Grants Fewer Gun Permits Despite Supreme Court Ruling

The New York Police Department approved fewer new licenses for people requesting permits to carry or keep firearms in their homes or businesses in 2022 than the year prior, data obtained by THE CITY shows. This comes despite the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found a key provision of the state’s long-standing gun control law violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms and that licenses should be granted by default unless there was a specific reason to deny an applicant. The NYPD, which vets gun permits, approved 56% of gun permit applications in 2021. In 2022, the number of new applications increased, but only 21% of applications were approved even though applications filed in the latter half of that year weren't required to name a reason for needing a license. In the six months following the Supreme Court's ruling, from June 24 to Dec. 31, 2022, the number of applications went up from 2,000 to almost 5,000, and the department only approved 503 of them, or just over 10% despite guidelines and state laws requiring applications to be decided on within six months. Approval rates can still change as the NYPD completes additional, and now overdue, investigations.

Attorney Vinoa Varghese received the data from the NYPD after filing a Freedom of Information Law request for his client, Dexter Taylor, 52, a software engineer. Varghese says Taylor is facing gun charges for allegedly amassing an “arsenal of homemade ghost guns,” per the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. Varghese is seeking dismissal of the charges, arguing in court papers submitted last month that there was no way Taylor could have gotten a permit to keep guns in his home legally. That’s because of what he argues is the NYPD’s molasses-like, corruption-prone permitting process, which he says violated Taylor’s constitutional right to bear arms. “A right delayed is a right denied,” Varghese said. In an affidavit submitted to the court on June 30, Taylor wrote that requesting a permit. which he had not tried to do, to legally keep the guns would have been futile. “Particularly as a Black man, I knew I would have no chance of obtaining a license due to systemic racism in gun licensing in New York State and nationwide,” he wrote. The district attorney’s office has until July 28 to respond to the motion to dismiss. Another attorney who represents gun owners in a class action against the NYPD, Peter Tilem, said the permitting slowdown suggests police are dragging their feet while they plan their next moves.


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