The NYPD Proposes New Gun License Laws

HOST INTRO: This morning, the NYPD held a public hearing. It’s proposed a change to gun license laws. Now, a gun owner in NYC with a registered gun and license can transport an unloaded, locked gun from their home to one of two places: a local shooting range or to an authorized place to hunt.

The NYPD is acting in advance of a federal Supreme Court case. It’s hoping to loosen these restrictions. But just by a little bit. Cynthia Betubiza has more.

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BETUBIZA: There’s only one shooting range in Manhattan. The Westside Rifle and Pistol Range. Darren Leuong is the owner.

LEUONG: We keep our firearms in the back, they’re locked up in a cinderblock room with a couple locks on the doors and stuff like that.

BETUBIZA: Owning a firearm comes with a world of logistics and paperwork. Like the premise license. It allows a gun owners, like Leuong and his customers,  to keep guns in their homes or place of business. When owners apply for a license, they have to list an address where the gun is kept and used. But only one address.

Now a Supreme Court ruling could change that. The plaintiffs in the case are the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, among others. They say that New York City’s premise license laws are too restrictive.

LEONG :Hopefully this law will allow more travel for folks. Folks  that used to live out of the city who had houses upstate but would like to use bring their guns upstate and were told you could not.  …you accept my driver’s license anywhere in the state of New York.. But you’re going to limit me on my pistol permit, which is a governmental permit. So why would you hold more water with the DMV than the police department?

BETUBIZA: And that’s what the NYPD is proposing. letting owners transport their guns to second homes or other gun ranges. Those locations must also be registered.

At a the NYPD’s public hearing earlier today,  Lauren Hartnett, a firearm from Staten Island, says not being able to travel outside the city for trainings hurts her livelihood and sense of safety.

HARNET: A lot of what we learn and a lot of advancing our skill, our technique, our knowledge, our education and most importantly, our safety, that’s not available in New York City.

BETUBIZA: Eugene Volokh is a law professor at UCLA who studies gun policy. He says if the NYPD’s new legislation moved forward. that yes, gun owners in New York City would have a bit more freedom, but a little but. The general public, he says, doesn’t have to worry about changes in public safety. But, he says the new law would be hard to enforce.

VOLOKH 1: Laws like this are not going to be heavily enforced in any event because people are transporting them in their trunks of their cars, presumably, they’re usually not going to have their cars stopped much or have their cars searched.  

BETUBIZA: According to data from the US Department of Justice, about 200,000 guns are stolen each year. Chris Herrmann is a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He studies the relationship between crime, place, and transportation. He said via. text that guns are more easily lost or stolen while in transit. So this new rule could lead to more stolen guns.

BETUBIZA: The NYPD is still accepting comments on its proposed rule.

Cynthia Betubiza, Columbia Radio News.

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