July 27, 2006
Why Shooters Don’t Like Licenses
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
Advocates of tougher gun laws are unable to understand the horror that shooters feel when the word “license” comes up. After all, say the anti-gunners, aren’t drivers licensed? And pilots, and just about anyone who has anything to do with anything that moves? Well, here’s an example why we don’t like licensing, and it happened to a co-worker of mine who had a permit to keep two handguns in his home in New York City.
Mr. M, as we will call him, moved from one borough of New York to another, and as required by law sent in his application for a new license with the new address, along with a money order for $340. Time went by, and nothing happened. When Mr. M called the New York City Police Department, he was told that his permit had been sent to him. Then, after much back and forth, he was told that the permit application had been lost (but not, apparently, the $340 money order). And then he was told that since he had not notified the NYPD of his move, his permit was revoked.
Then followed a Kafka-esque back and forth with the NYPD, who advised Mr. M that since he didn’t have a permit for them, he had to surrender his guns or be arrested. So he did. And, pursuant to Title 38, Chapters 5 and 15 of the Rules of the City of New York, Mr. M requested a hearing, appealing the revocation of his license. He hired a lawyer to represent him and amazingly, the hearing officer found for him. This was on April 3, 2006.
Well, you say, the system works; the system is fair. Not quite. On May 10, a Mr. Thomas Prasso, who is Director (of what he does not say) wrote a letter to Mr. M that says:
“As a result of an administrative hearing held on April 3, 2006. Your license has been CANCELLED. A copy of the hearing report is enclosed.
“This determination concludes the Police Department’s review of this matter. You may appeal this determination by commencing an Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court within four months of the date of this letter.”
And so Mr. M is out his two guns, which he will never see again, $340 for the money order, and $550 for the lawyer. If he is inclined to spend a lot more money and waste a lot more time, he can indeed pursue an Article 78. But what would you say his odds are of getting his license?
Do people go through this kind of s**t when they change the address on their automobile licenses? No, they do not.