File the paperwork for the permit and don't make a decision of a handgun for a while. Shop around & figure out what you want so when the permit is approved you can go get it. Don't worry about the SAFE law, it's days are numbered, hopefully it will be repealed, if not the courts will take care of it. I would definitely not write off the S&Ws or Rugers both companies make great guns. Pre lock S&Ws are no where near as expensive as the Colt Snake guns so finding one in your price range shouldn't be an issue, you've got plenty of time to find one.