Except for the fact that my father owned several handguns, and was an NRA certified instructor....
take a class (whenever that's available) get the paper work which costs 350 bucks and get finger printed another 100, get four references and the whole process takes six to nine months if you're lucky. I'd also have to meet with a judge and talk with them about why I want to be a free citizen and take responsibility of my life for myself and not be dependent on the state (imagine that), to exercise my rights.
The fingerprinting, 3 references, 4 photographs, investigation, and final review by a judge was the process back then. They instituted the requirement for a safety class just before I left to go in the service, and I helped my father give a couple. Cost wasn't anything near what it is today, even allowing for inflation. And it only took about a month, two at the outside.
One thing I would recommend is some study on the judge who will be approving (or not) your application. Back in my day, we didn't have to meet or talk with the judge, they just got the paperwork when it was ready, and based their decision on it. If you go infront of the wrong judge, and breath even one word about how you want to be a "free citizen...etc.." I can guarantee you will be denied.
And this was true, even back in my day. The judge in Saratoga country would only approve for "hunting and sporting purposes.." If you put "self protection" on the application, he would deny it. A judge in Albany county would deny everything that had anything but "self protection" listed as the reason for wanting a handgun permit.
Find out just who you will be dealing with, and what their personal quirks are. Otherwise you are going to be wasting a lot of time and money, only to find that under NY law, it is entirely up to the whim of the judge, and if there is anything in your application (or your interview - including your personal appearance on that day) that gives the judge the feeling you might be less than absolutely perfect, no pistols in NY for you.
A single speeding ticket can be enough reason for refusal. OR possibly a bad report in your credit history? The didn't use to check credit history, but now days, who knows? Basically anything, no matter how minor, that shows you might have a disregard for authority (like speeding) or a lack of responsibility (not paying bills on time) could be their excuse as to your "lack of good character", and of course, no one wants someone of poor character to be licensed to have a pistol.....
Basically you have to convince them that you are a good, upstanding citizen, responsible, who never gets in any trouble, and follows the law because you want to, not because you have to. And, at 21, that is a tough task. Good Luck.
BTW, I grew up in NY, in the Saratoga/Glens Falls area, spent lots of time in the Adirondaks. Love the country (although the winters are a bit tough), but the people today drive me nuts. When I was 15, there were 4 gun shops within bicycle diatance of my home. On my last visit (about 10 years ago), the closest one was nearly 80 miles away, and it was an upscale venture catering to the high end collector!
I got my permit at age 18. The law then left the age limit up to the judge's discretion. In my case (and my brother's when he turned 18), we applied, and were approved. The judge knew our family, and so did all the local LEOs. Mother was Town Clerk for a decade, Dad gave Hunter Safety classes, etc...
We applied and got ours because of an auto accident in the late 60s. Mom and Dad were slightly hurt, and recovered, but it got us thinking. At the time, Dad was the only one with a permit. At the time, he had 6 handguns, quite a lot, all things considered. But if something had happened to Dad, those guns would have had to have been surrendered to the state, because no one else in the household was licensed to have them.
If we turned them into the sherriff, and applied for a permit, they would be held until the permit was approved or denied. If we turned them in to the State Police, they would have been held for a period of time (90 days IIRC) and then destroyed!
So, to protect our family's investment, Mom got her permit right away, and each of us kids got ours as we became old enough to have a reasonable chance of being approved.
I cannot recommend strongly enough that when you are able to move, that you move out of NY. Find some place where sanity still has some effect. Go back to visit when you want, but don't even think of trying to take a gun, if you do!
In my state, with a Concealed Pistol License (which costs $60, one set of fingerprints, and takes about 2-3 weeks to obtain in my county), you can go into a shop, pick out the one you like, fill out the Fed form, pass the instant check phone call, pay them, and walk out with it. If you don't have a CPL, same thing, except you come back in 5 days and pick it up. There is no permit required to own, only to carry concealed.
There is still a lot of the nation where that is the general rule. GO there, when you can. Life will be better there, I promise. (another plus, most of the rest of the country doesn't tax you as heavily as NY does!)
Good Luck, and by all means, get your NY permit, if you can. Also, be aware that they take their permit seriously. 25 years after
I left NY, they sent me a letter, noting that since I was no longer a state resident, my permit was no longer valid. and they wanted it back
And yes, I am talking about the little wallet size, non-laminated, paper (not cardstock like the driver's license at the time). AND, they wanted to know what happened to the pistols listed on the permit!!!! Seriously, they did ask for just that! My reply would not pass our forum's language filters, so you can only imagine what it was....