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Old February 25, 2011, 03:40 PM   #1
Jade172
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Westchester County, NY pistol permit process

Hello all,

I should quickly introduce myself as I'm a new member of this forum - I'm Nicole, 27, and unfortunately for me & my enjoyment of handguns/shooting, I live in Westchester County, NY.

I want to apply for my pistol permit but I was hoping to get some info before I go get the applications, etc...and begin.

*Is there anyone here from Westchester County, NY that has already gone through this process and can assist me?

I really just was hoping for a little breakdown of the process or any tips you could provide as to making the process as painless as possible, etc... I've been interested in doing this for years & now's the time...I've just heard a lot about how unfriendly Westchester is for this process & handguns in general - seems they have me jumping through hoops to do something productive & protect myself, so I would like to know what to expect & separate the rumors from reality while I'm at it.

Any help is much appreciated~

Thanks!
~N

Last edited by Jade172; February 26, 2011 at 01:05 PM.
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Old February 25, 2011, 03:49 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Welcome to the forum.

The official info you need can be found here:
http://www.westchesterclerk.com/inde...d=55&Itemid=47


Don't make too much of what you've "heard". Rumors stick around for years. Contact the county directly and talk to them. You'll have a good idea where they stand in short order.
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Old February 26, 2011, 12:44 PM   #3
Jade172
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Thanks, I appreciate the info. I did actually read that page prior to even coming here, as I needed the contact info & address of the clerk's office so I could pick up my permit applications. I was just hoping for info from the perspective of someone that was in my shoes already.

And yes, I agree as far as going on what I've "heard;" I always like to separate the facts from the BS myself & that's what brought me here.

I read some different discussions & threads for awhile and joined; seems like I stumbled upon a gem of a forum for my purposes & in general.

Thanks again for the welcome & quick reply.

~N

Last edited by Jade172; February 26, 2011 at 01:06 PM.
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Old February 26, 2011, 08:40 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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You're welcome. I hope you get your permit without too much trouble. I haven't seen (heard? read?) from many Westchester county members on the forum. There are a few members of a Long Island gun owners group floating around.... they may know more about your area.

Anyway, good luck.
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Old February 26, 2011, 11:19 PM   #5
ClydeFrog
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Good resources; NRA, books...

Hello;
If you live in the Empire state you may also want to look into these websites or services;www.NRA.org www.Paladin-Press.com . You may want to get a 2011 ed of the Gun Law Guide; www.Gunlawguide.com or atty David Wong's detailed guide to the gun/knife laws of all 50 states & Washington DC, US possessions, etc.

From what I know NY state requires you to get a license or permit from the local county Sheriff. Firearm permits are different too from concealed carry permits/licenses. A concealed carry permit may be a more involved process that could take more time or $.
NRA membership is a good idea. They may have information about ranges, classes or application details.

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Old February 28, 2011, 12:58 PM   #6
jhog1
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Quote:
From what I know NY state requires you to get a license or permit from the local county Sheriff. Firearm permits are different too from concealed carry permits/licenses. A concealed carry permit may be a more involved process that could take more time or $.
No such thing as a firearms permit in NY state (except NYC). There is only one pistol permit in NY state and it is for Concealed Carry. Our county judges have taken upon themselves to impose restrictions on CC permits like "Hunting and Target Only" Pistol Permits are state permits, the system is run by the state police but they administered and issued on a county level. When my permit was issed they had not started the BS restriction but when I moved to another county, I went to have my permit changed to the new address when I went back in to pick it up (judge had to sign it) he imposed his "Hunting and Target Only" BS when I took him to task he removed it the problem is no one challenges them.
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Old February 28, 2011, 01:59 PM   #7
DaveTrig
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Hi Nicole,

Your best strategy: move to Putnam.

But seriously...
While the Westchester laws are definitely a pain, I've found the Westchester County Police to be pretty reasonable when I've had to deal with them as an instructor. The process is very slow, but you'll get a permit. It will most likely be restricted to target & hunting, though.

I'm pretty sure Westchester still requires you to purchase a handgun before you apply for the permit. This is, of course, problematic, since NYS law prevents you from even touching a handgun until you have a permit. (Readers from America, please hold your snickering. This is what we deal with here.) However, there are Connecticut ranges that will let you try different guns out.

You'll also have to take NRA Basic Pistol. That's the class they want to see. If you haven't taken it yet, PM me, as I may be putting a class together this weekend. I can also help get you some range time as well.

Dave Triglianos
NRA & Utah Certified Instructor
www.putnamshooters.com
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Old February 28, 2011, 02:45 PM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveTrig
I'm pretty sure Westchester still requires you to purchase a handgun before you apply for the permit. This is, of course, problematic, since NYS law prevents you from even touching a handgun until you have a permit.

This statement is a little law mixed with a little legend. There is no provision of law preventing a person who is of legal age but lacks a permit from going to a firearms dealer and handling handguns. It is also legal for any (nonfelon) person to handle and fire handguns while in the presence of an NRA certified instructor. It is also perfectly legal for a person without a permit to purchase a handgun from a dealer or individual. The purchaser may not take possession of the handgun without obtaining a permit but the purchase is completely legal.
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---
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-----
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Old February 28, 2011, 03:16 PM   #9
DaveTrig
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Sorry, you're incorrect. It's not legend, it's NYS law.
Quote:
There is no provision of law preventing a person who is of legal age but lacks a permit from going to a firearms dealer and handling handguns.
You mean besides this one?
Quote:
S265.01 A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when:
(1) He possesses any firearm [defined as any pistol, revolver, shotgun < 18", or rifle < 16"]
I don't know where in NY you are; perhaps your DA is lenient on this issue. But down here, NO dealer will allow you to handle a pistol without a permit.

Quote:
It is also legal for any (nonfelon) person to handle and fire handguns while in the presence of an NRA certified instructor.
Only if that person has been granted pre-license possession per section 400.00/400.01. The process for getting pre-license possession is pretty much the same as the permit itself, although the Westchester CPD claims they'll turn around a pre-license possession application in a few weeks.

Quote:
It is also perfectly legal for a person without a permit to purchase a handgun from a dealer or individual. The purchaser may not take possession of the handgun without obtaining a permit but the purchase is completely legal.
Agreed. I don't think I wrote anything contrary to this. However, it's difficult to buy a handgun when you're not allowed to touch one.

I know you're an experienced guy, Pete, but so am I. I'm not spewing without research; I've done my due diligence here. Your experiences upstate notwithstanding, this is how the law is enforced down here.
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Old February 28, 2011, 03:39 PM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Trig
I know you're an experienced guy, Pete, but so am I. I'm not spewing without research; I've done my due diligence here. Your experiences upstate notwithstanding, this is how the law is enforced down here.
I don't doubt you, but it's insane. Your county has a very interesting interpretation of the law.

No dealer in this area will even INQUIRE about a permit until you are actually taking permanent possession of the handgun.

You can walk into any firearms dealer and ask to see a handgun and they'll hand it to you no questions asked.

Our DA is not lenient, the DA in your area is apparently a loon.

I've never heard of "pre-license possession". In fact, most counties in this area require handgun safety classes before a permit is issued and those classes all involve handling and firing of handguns by everyone in the class and there are no requirements for taking the class. You don't have to have applied for a permit or even intend to do so.

I see nothing in section 400 indicating the existence of any sort of "pre-license" permit and I've never heard a single reference to such a thing until now.

Around here, the "un-permitted possession" rules are universally ignored. I know many police officers who will let folks fire their personal handguns at the range, no questions asked. No one cares.
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---
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-----
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; February 28, 2011 at 03:45 PM.
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Old February 28, 2011, 04:41 PM   #11
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peetzakilla
Around here, the "un-permitted possession" rules are universally ignored. I know many police officers who will let folks fire their personal handguns at the range, no questions asked. No one cares.
I think we've covered this in at least one other thread. "Universally ignored" does not equal "legal."
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Old February 28, 2011, 05:05 PM   #12
DaveTrig
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Almost certainly covered before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peetzakilla
the DA in your area is apparently a loon.
It's not just one. When I became an instructor, I went nuts talking to the Putnam Sheriffs Dept, Westchester Cty Police, and local DA's, trying to find a way to do range time with students before they had their permits. In strict adherence to the the law, the only way is with a pre-license exemption under 400.00 3(b):

Quote:
S400.00 3. Applications
(b) Application for an exemption under paragraph seven-b of subdivision a of section 265.20 of this chapter. Each applicant desiring to obtain the exemption set forth in paragraph seven-b of subdivision a of section 265.20 of this chapter [a NYS pistol license] shall make such request in writing of the licensing officer with whom his application for a license is filed, at the time of filing such application. Such request shall include a signed and verified statement by the person authorized to instruct and supervise the applicant, that has met with the applicant and that he has determined that, in his judgment, said applicant does not appear to be or poses a threat to be, a danger to himself or to others. He shall include a copy of his certificate as an instructor in small arms, if he is required to be certified, and state his address and telephone number. He shall specify the exact location by name, address and telephone number where such instruction will take place...
...it goes on...quite a bit. You should take a careful reading of Sections 265 and 400, at least to appreciate the state laws that are being ignored in your area.

In the context of the OP, however, she's required to buy prior to applying for a permit, and forbidden from touching prior to obtaining a permit. So I and my fellow local instructors can help her get range time with different handguns so she can make an informed decision when purchasing.
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Old February 28, 2011, 05:12 PM   #13
l98ster
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Hi,

I live in westchester county (yorktown). I am very farmiliar with the pistol permit process here. IT SUCKS!! However, if I can be of any assistance, shoot me a PM or email at georgel98@hotmail.com

Good Luck!!

-George
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Old February 28, 2011, 05:31 PM   #14
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquila Blanca
I think we've covered this in at least one other thread. "Universally ignored" does not equal "legal."
I didn't say it was legal. It is in fact known by all involved to be technically illegal.


------------

DaveTrig,

I have many times read the pertinent laws. However, considering their length, it is difficult if not impossible to reference and cross-reference mentions of other articles and maintain an understanding of what is being referenced, without direction to specific instances.

I can see from your citations that the law does appear to be as you describe. It is hard for me to believe that the INTENT is as it appears but I have no doubt that such is done in your area.

As I say, I have never, ever, heard of applications for exceptions or a need for approval to take these classes. In fact, every person I know, including myself, who has a permit has taken those classes and fired the guns BEFORE THEY APPLIED for a permit. The classes are given by law enforcement in some instances, including the class I took, and there is no mention of such a thing, ever.

This is very strange to me. It would seem that if that were the intent of the law, any permit issued in violation of that law would be presumed invalid. I would expect some rabid anti-gun politician or activist to have challenged such in a court somewhere at sometime. I have to believe that the actual intent is other than what is done in your area and no one has ever had the will or financial wherewithal to fight it.
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---
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Old February 28, 2011, 08:01 PM   #15
mete
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In the past there were a number of things that were ignored !
A new judge can change the whole picture too. It was easy in Onondaga Co when I got mine but I understand very different now.
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Old February 28, 2011, 08:33 PM   #16
EricReynolds
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Onondaga County nowadays isn't particularly difficult, but a CCW here is next to impossible. I've also never heard of pre-permit possesion either. I've never heard that it was illegal for a person without a permit to handle a pistol, but every time I was at a gun shop and asked to take a look at one, I was asked for my permit.
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Old March 1, 2011, 05:52 AM   #17
mete
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"isn't difficult ...but CCW is next to impossible " ??? Mine is an unrestricted carry.They need a new judge!!
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Old March 8, 2011, 11:33 AM   #18
BarneyBM
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Experience with Westchester pistol licensing

Nicole

I live in Westchester and recently got a permit.

The process is that you need to go to the County Clerk's office in the Courthouse in White Plains. (It's just to the south of the Galleria Mall.) You pick up an application. The application requires four personal references, and various other ID. You also need to do two things BEFORE you come back: (1) take the required firearms education course, and (2) buy a gun, because you need to have the serial number on the application.

When you bring your application back to the clerk's office, you get photographed and fingerprinted. Then you need to wait about 4-6 months while the police check your background.

These applications are serious, but the police who handle the process are very polite. I don't understand why some people criticize them.

There are some gun shop services that claim they "know" the "inside tricks" of the application. You can easily skip them and fill out the application yourself. Just be accurate.

FINALLY: about choosing a firearm. In NY, you are not allowed to go to a range and rent a gun to try it out. That means that most people buy a gun from a gun shop and only get to hold it but not fire it. If you would like to actually fire different guns, you can go up to Smith & Wesson in Springfield Mass (about two hours from Westchester) and try different guns there).

Hope this helps.
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Old March 9, 2011, 01:00 PM   #19
DaveTrig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarneyBM
These applications are serious, but the police who handle the process are very polite.
+1

In all my phone conversations with the officers actually working the process, as well as the sergeant in charge, they were very polite and were trying to be helpful.

Barney, did they issue a T&H restriction? Can you share the process for upgrading to Unrestricted in Westchester?
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Old March 13, 2011, 03:08 AM   #20
scattyboy
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I am going through the same process in Westchester County (Yorktown). My problem is the four references that need to live in Westchester and are not related to me. I can't find any neighbors who aren't liberal gun haters to give me references.

Eight years in the Infantry and the county doesn't trust me to handle a handgun!
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Old March 14, 2011, 07:39 AM   #21
yourang?
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i live in upstate ny

i bought two handguns before i had my permit

from an ffl

they sat in his store until i had my permit

then i went to the store and filled out the 4473. which he
called in and i passed

then, i could take them home

so...i owned two pistols BUT i couldnt touch them or bring them home

so, there is a difference between ownership and possession

this is something that new yorkers are painfully aware of.....
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Old May 3, 2011, 09:52 AM   #22
BarneyBM
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Dave

I have not tried to move to an unrestricted category so I don't know the practice. If you call them, would you please share what you learn? Thanks
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Old September 8, 2011, 07:45 AM   #23
jhudock
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I am just starting the process of obtaining a permit in Westchester. I've taken my basic safety course, but my understanding is still that I cannot handle a weapon without a permit. My solution is that I am going to CT to take a live-fire course and try out some different pistols.

I completely agree that the laws are completely nuts. One would think that a county that was presumably worried about gun safety would require rather than not allow a proper training course. But, of course, gun safety is the excuse and not the real reason. They just hate the idea of independent citizens owning guns and have constructed a Byzantine system to make it as difficult as possible to do so. My wife and I have been talking about getting permits for 13 years (we live a mile from Blue Mountain Range), and it has put us off until now, so it works.
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Old November 28, 2011, 10:33 AM   #24
thecelt
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its the same with me (being put off for so long due to a ridiculous process). i also live in westchester, and i started putting my paperwork together many years ago but never finished it because i didnt know enough westchester residents to sign off on my paperwork. although now i only need one more person and i have a neighbor who will do it for me.. its incredibly unfair how difficult they make it.
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Old November 28, 2011, 03:04 PM   #25
yourang?
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i know this is an old thread but i offer this to the people in the process
of applying for their ny permit (or any other state that needs you to get
letters of reference)

make sure that the people you ask to write for you, actually write the letter
and send it in.....being slow on their end makes a very slow process take even more time....follow up with them...almost to the point of bugging them to make sure that they do indeed write the letter

and.....make sure that they have no skeletons in their closets, legal-wise

one guy i asked had to withdraw, as he committed some indiscretions as a
kid, which resulted in a criminal record....(which i didnt know about until it was too late.....he actually didnt realize that it would be a problem)

your writers should have a spotless record
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