New York State has a well-deserved reputation for having some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and with respect to the issuance of concealed carry weapon licenses (“CCW”), New York is considered a “may issue” state. That is, the jurisdiction is one that requires a license to carry a concealed handgun, and where the granting of such licenses is largely at the discretion of local authorities.
In Suffolk County, responsibility for issuing CCW licenses is divided between the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, who is responsible for the investigation, issuance and maintenance of all pistol licenses for residents and businesses located within the five (5) eastern townships in the County (East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold), and the Suffolk County Police Department, which is responsible for everyone else.
CCW licenses within the state fall generally into three (3) distinct categories. The first and most common class issued to residents is for sportsmen and hunters. This class of license permits an individual to transport a handgun to and from his or her residence and an authorized range or area where hunting is legally permitted. Next, residents may apply for a pistol license endorsed for business purposes. This class of license permits an individual to carry a concealed firearm while it is necessary to conduct business and/or employment for which the license is issued. Importantly, the firearm may only be carried while actually engaged in employment. This means the firearm may not be carried at any other time or for any other employment not listed on the license. Finally, County agencies may issue an unrestricted license for retired law enforcement officers and/or for general self-protection purposes. This class of license carries no restrictions and permits the individual to carry a concealed firearm at all times.
Not surprisingly, each class of license comes with an increasingly heavy burden on the applicant in order to establish “Proper Cause”. Recent studies show that the number of pistol license applications in Suffolk County have dramatically increased by over 30% over the last several years, and that business owners who have found themselves the target of crime have submitted many of these applications. As such, this article will focus on the requirements established by both the Sheriff and the Police Department for the issuance of a Business Class CCW license. Although these requirements are undeniably exacting and strict, law-abiding citizens will find that they are not insurmountable.
POLICE DEPARTMENT APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
In order to establish “Proper Cause” for the issuance of a Business Class CCW License through the Police Department, an individual must establish that the business for which he/she is applying is “more susceptible to robbery than the overall population.” Additionally, the Police Department requires that each applicant submit a very specific set of documents demonstrating, among other things, necessity, the amount of weekly business cash flow and the number of business cash deposits made per week. These requirements are in addition to the general requirements set forth in the Pistol License Applicant Questionnaire Instructions, Form PDCS-4406-2f.
For additional information on the Suffolk County Police Department Pistol Permit application process, see: http://apps.suffolkcountyny.gov/police/pistollicense.htm
SHERIFF DEPARTMENT APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
The requirements imposed by the Sheriff are generally similar, although not as specific, and somewhat more ambiguous. In general, to obtain a business endorsement from the Sheriff, an applicant must provide business corporate papers, a letter of necessity, and bank records establishing proof of regular cash deposits.
Similar to Police Department regulations, these requirements are in addition to the general application guidelines established by the Sheriff for issuance of a pistol license.
Although there is not a lot of detailed information located on the Sheriff’s website, see: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/sheriff/PublicInformation/PistolLicenseBureau.aspx
The Constitutions of the United States and the Civil Rights Law of the State of New York both provide that the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms shall not be infringed. However, in the State of New York, this right is heavily regulated and the guidelines of the licensing authority generally must be followed to the letter. Any deviation, or omission could result in the denial of an application that can cause needless expense and prolonged delay.
Due to the strict requirements and careful investigation procedures implemented throughout the State, even law-abiding citizens may have trouble obtaining a pistol permit in Suffolk County. If you have any doubt about your qualifications for a Business Class CCW License, or any of the rules, regulations and documentation required in support of your application, contact us immediately. The advice of an attorney with expertise in navigating New York’s complex and frequently changing laws governing firearms ownership can be the key difference in the approval or denial of your application.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Craig H. Handler, Esq. is an experienced litigator focusing his practice on complex commercial, construction, real estate and insurance matters. He is also a Judge Advocate assigned to the 7th Legal Support Detachment, 88th Brigade, New York Army Guard. Mr. Handler is life-long sportsman and a certified firearms safety instructor.