OSD 61: I want to buy a handgun in NYC. Now what?

Plus the Phil Collins drum fill but with guns.

That’s the question a grad student in NYC asked reddit this week. There were a few themes that quickly emerged in the replies:

  • Very few people actually knew the answer. Some people commented discouraging the poster from even trying, and answers varied widely about how the process actually works

  • Corruption. People linked or alluded to the NYPD gun licensing division’s bribery ring that was broken up a couple years ago.

  • The process involves a lot of paperwork, several hundred dollars in fees, and somewhere between several months and 1–2 years of waiting. Wait times vary dramatically without a way to know ahead of time.

It’s a moot point at the moment, because the NYPD has shut down the in-person portions of the application process for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.

But where this landed is interesting. After the comments played out, the grad student posted a follow-up: “Thank you for the input everyone!! Judging by how long it takes to obtain a license under normal circumstances, I think the best option right now is for me to wait until I graduate from my Masters Program and move to a more gun friendly State.”

That’s a polite way of saying something rather more sweeping: it is faster for this student to complete a master’s degree than to legally buy a pistol in NYC. Each step in the pistol permit application process is small on its own, but they add up to the de facto elimination of people’s ability to buy a gun at all.

We wrote a Twitter thread this week about a similar accretion of hurdles: California’s feature bans. The thread links out to a neat calculator you can use to calculate how long you’d spend in jail under California’s laws.

People who don’t focus on gun stuff (i.e. most people) don’t realize this. And that’s good news! Because it means you have an opportunity to show it to them. When people support “common sense” laws, most of them literally don’t know what the current laws are. So be kind and approachable, and show them where the current laws lead. Most people won’t like what they see. And then you can show them a better path.


This week’s links

How .22LR ammo is made

No commentary, no opinions, just a zen video from Lucky Gunner of how these little things come together.

Guns are a virus. But not in the way people think.

The reddit thread for our big essay that we told you about last week. Thanks to everyone for all the thoughtful discussion.

We’re on Instagram

The two posts linked above are our two latest ones, and pretty neato. If you like this newsletter, you’ll probably like our Instagram too.

NPR covers OSD Office Hours and the post-COVID influx of new gun owners

The editorializing on the Facebook post is unfortunate, but most of the article is level-headed. Especially the parts about OSD 😉

COVID-19 could change the gun control debate for a generation

Interesting quick piece from Trevor Burrus. (With a shoutout to OSD 😉)

Court upholds stand-your-ground defense in deputy shooting

John Derossett, a 69-year-old in Florida, got attempted murder charges against him thrown out this week. The charges were filed five years ago — Derossett had been in jail since then, and was just released on bond this March — after he shot police who were arresting his niece at his home. The police were undercover, and the court found that Derossett could not have reasonably known the people he was in a gunfight with (both Derossett and his niece were also shot in the exchange) were police.

There’s an interesting intersection between armed self-defense in the home and the sorts of police raids (no-knock or otherwise) that make it hard for the people being raided to know that the armed folks coming through the door are police. The case law affects all gun owners, so we like to keep an eye on these sorts of cases.

/u/tablinum on gun-free zones

A reliably thoughtful redditor’s take on how give-and-take gun-free zones would work.

Larry at the Movies: The Way of the Gun

Episode 3 of a fun YouTube series where Larry Vickers does tactical breakdowns of movie shootouts. (Episode 1 was Heat, Episode 2 was John Wick, and the prequel a few years ago was Larry’s classic analysis of Tom Cruise’s alley shooting in Collateral.)

The Phil Collins challenge

“You like Phil Collins?”

“I’ve got two ears and a heart, don’t I?”


If you’re a new gun owner, thinking about becoming one, or know someone who is, click here to come to OSD Office Hours. You get a 30-minute video call with an OSD team member to ask any and all questions you have, in a friendly, non-judgmental space. For free. We just want to help people become great gun owners. So come on by!


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