The media was buzzing over possible challenges to city firearm regulations following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that gun ownership is an individual right. Although Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city gun control supporters believe the ruling will have little effect, maintaining the city's licensing scheme is not the best way to combat illegal guns.
In the city, owning a rifle in one's home requires a license costing over $234, six months of background checks and other bureaucratic hurdles. The licensing process has grown so burdensome that not only are would-be gun owners forgoing the process, but even the NYPD has decided to ignore the rifle/shotgun permit when training new recruits.
No other United States locality has such a difficult process. Chicago, a notoriously anti-gun city, charges only $10 for a license issued within 30 days or less. The New York City pistol licensing process is more onerous. There are not enough pages in this newspaper to fully describe it.
If Bloomberg believes that the city's licensing laws are safe, he is in for a rude awakening, as the city's restrictions are so far outside of what the rest of the country sees as "reasonable."
Lawsuits are being planned. These challenges, however, are not a threat to public safety. Overhauling the city's licensing scheme would allow and encourage New Yorkers to register their guns and create the accountability gun control advocates have long sought.
After all, most of the illegal guns in the city are not owned by violent criminals, but honest citizens who do not have the time, money or legal expertise to navigate successfully through the city's firearm licensing process.
©2008 Community News Group
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