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PR- 207-10
May 14, 2010


New Local Law Will Forbid Carrying Guns While Intoxicated

Package Includes Enhancements to Focus More Resources on Investigation of License Applicants

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced a package of improvements to the way New York City handles gun licenses and other measures to improve the efficiency of investigations in the license application process.  The New York City Police Department issues licenses to carry and possess handguns, rifles, and shotguns in the City.  The new practices, some of which have been put in place in recent months and some of which will require changes in local laws and police regulations, will streamline the gun permit application process and enable the Police Department to focus more resources on background investigations. The Mayor also announced local legislation that can result in gun license revocation and jail for anyone convicted of carrying guns while intoxicated.

“The changes announced today will improve public safety and make the investigation process more effective,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “A rigorous license review should not include unnecessary red tape that slows down our investigators.”

“We’ve streamlined our system to make certain the those who should be approved for gun licenses are dealt with expeditiously while making certain we keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves or others,” said Commissioner Kelly. “If automobiles are dangerous with a drunken driver behind the wheel, it should be obvious and subject to tough penalties when a drunk puts a gun in his hand.”

“These improvements are part of the City’s ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of gun licensing,” said John Feinblatt, the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Coordinator.  “This array of measures will improve public safety, save the City money, and save law-abiding people time.”

“When drunk drivers get behind the wheel, that vehicle becomes a deadly weapon,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The same laws should apply to those who carry handguns and are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Council looks forward to holding public safety hearings on this piece of legislation and the others announced today.”

“Guns and alcohol are a toxic mix,” said Public Safety Chair Peter Vallone, Jr. “We can no longer wait for Albany to get its act together. We need to protect our citizens now and that’s why this legislation was introduced.”

The proposed package of local legislation, revised regulations, and changes to Police Department practice will include: 

  • Criminalizing carrying while intoxicated:  Changing local law to create a new misdemeanor of carrying a gun while intoxicated in the City.  The measure uses the same legal standard as driving while intoxicated.  Violations could lead to sentences of up to one year in jail.

  • Revised fee structure:  Changing local law to modify fees for the various types of gun licenses in the City.  In particular, the new system will offer lower fees for most renewal licenses. 

  • Speedy processing:  The NYPD has already cut the average time to review applications for handguns in homes almost in half, from 20 weeks in 2007 to 11 weeks in 2009.  The NYPD is committed to sustaining that figure, even though state law allows up to six months to process applications, and more time in exceptional cases.  Enhanced technology and oversight in the overall application process have allowed the NYPD to focus more investigative resources on applicants who merit enhanced reviews.

  • Choice of payment methods:  The NYPD now accepts payment by credit card for initial license applications, rather than requiring money orders.  By July 2010, it will accept credit cards for license renewal fees as well.

  • Fewer in-person visits:  The NYPD has already made it possible to download applications from its website, saving applicants a trip to an NYPD facility.  A new secure process under development will allow applicants to pick up new handgun licenses by mail or electronically as well, rather than having to return to an NYPD office to collect them, reducing the number of in-person visits required for new applicants from four to three – and saving applicants time.

  • More flexible hours:  The NYPD’s licensing offices will offer evening hours once a week to make the process more convenient for working New Yorkers by July of this year.

  • Additional guidance on the standards:  The NYPD is required by state law to determine whether an applicant is of “good moral character” and whether other “good cause” makes the applicant ineligible to have a gun.  NYPD will add to its regulations to offer more detailed examples of eligibility standards for a permit, and make the additional examples available both in print and online.   

  • Improved Identification Verification:  In lieu of the current notarization requirement, NYPD will use in-person visits and technology to verify the identity of license applicants.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Paul Browne   (Police Department)
(646) 610-6700

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