More New Yorkers are applying for gun permits. The NYPD won’t say how many they granted.


The number of New Yorkers petitioning to arm themselves with guns — both at home and on the streets — more than doubled last year, according to new data on NYPD license and permit applications obtained by Gothamist.

But the NYPD will not say how many gun license and concealed carry permit applications it has approved, even as the department faces a class-action lawsuit claiming it takes too long to review applications.

The surging number of applications follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2022 that found New York’s gun licensing regime was too strict. Last year, the NYPD License Division received 13,369 to possess a handgun or rifle at home. That’s 80% more applications for home licenses than the department got in 2022, and nearly triple the applications it got in 2019.

The increase was even starker for concealed carry applications, which jumped from 258 in 2019 to 6,751 last year, according to NYPD data.

The number of concealed carry applications in the first two months of this year has already surpassed the total for 2019, 2020 and 2021 combined.

The NYPD did not respond to multiple requests for data on the number of applications the department has approved since 2019.

John Deloca, who owns the Seneca Sporting Range in Ridgewood, said he’s seen a huge spike in customers buying firearms and enrolling in concealed carry permit classes.

“We’re selling guns like pancakes,” said Deloca, who goes by the nickname “Johnny Guns.”

Deloca said his customers want to arm themselves because they feel unsafe when they see gruesome news stories like a subway conductor getting slashed in the neck or when they drive beside recklessly speeding cars.

“People are getting guns because everybody is out of control,” he said.

Gun sales climbed nationally during the height of the pandemic. Background checks for gun sales have been declining statewide each year since peaking in 2020, according to FBI data.

Peter Tilem, an attorney who represents gun owners in Second Amendment cases, mainly attributes the increase in permit and license applications to the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn the state’s old licensing laws.

New York’s gun laws have become murkier since that ruling. State lawmakers passed the Concealed Carry Improvement Act in the weeks following the decision.

The law added even more requirements for concealed carry permit applications, including demonstrating “good moral character” and completing 18 hours of in-person training. It also prohibited even most people with a permit from carrying firearms in “sensitive locations,” such as schools, protests and in Times Square.

Several Second Amendment advocates have challenged the law in court, and different judges have struck down and reinstated various aspects of the legislation as the cases have progressed. Tilem said he tells his clients to stay informed.

“They have to know what the law is and have to be up to date on any changes in the law,” he said. “The law is changing remarkably rapidly right now.”

But Tilem said the NYPD is not moving as quickly as it faces a deluge of license applications. He filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of gun owners in New York and New Jersey who say the police department’s licensing criteria are “impossible to meet” and the process takes too long.

The lawsuit argues delays in the NYPD’s licensing division have unconstitutionally prevented people from exercising their Second Amendment rights in New York City. The NYPD declined to comment after Tilem filed the lawsuit.

A Long Island resident brought a similar lawsuit against the Nassau County Police Department, arguing its licensing process was overly rigorous and slow. A judge ruled in favor of several of his claims last month and allowed his case to continue moving through the courts.



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