After recent New York state gun legislation, Oswego and Onondaga counties have been experiencing an influx of pistol permit applications.
“We have seen an up-tick in pistol permit applications and amendments. Quite frankly, it has been a quite sizable increase,” said Oswego County Clerk Michael Backus.
The clerk’s office, anchored by Loretta Ukleya, “stepped up to the plate with a very hectic start to the year at the front counter. I don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon,” Backus said.
Backus said he thinks the recent legislation passed in Albany and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo “has contributed to this up- tick, without a doubt.”
The recent gun legislation in New York state fortifies the existing assault weapons ban by limiting the number of bullets allowed in magazines, and also strengthens rules that govern the mentally ill, which includes a requirement to report potentially harmful behavior.
“Anytime you draw attention to an issue so fundamental as our Constitutional right to bear arms, you’re going to see people take notice,” he said. “I have been thankful that pretty much everyone who has contacted our office has been very understanding that this is a fluid process that moved through the legislature extremely quickly. We’re rolling with the punches, and our staff has really risen to the challenge.”
The Onondaga County Legislature is also working to reduce the wait time for pistol permit applications.
There is a 14-month wait just to make an appointment to apply for a pistol permit, said legislator Kevin Holmquist (R-10th District). His goal is to decrease that wait time to two months.
Holmquist said the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office performs thorough background checks on every applicant. More than 700 applicants are in the waiting process.
Holmquist discussed ideas with the sheriff’s office to shorten the wait time, including a new computer system and reallocation of resources.
“Because of the actions that have been taken by the federal government and the state government, there’s a huge influx of pistol permits. I would expect that would continue. There’s going to be a lot more people applying for pistol permits. So in Onondaga County, we want to provide great service and get those permits processed efficiently,” he said.
According to Holmquist, law-abiding citizens are most affected by this wait time.
The United States appears to be experiencing a record run on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and some kinds of ammunition as buyers deluge stores in search of guns and bullets they fear will be banned by the Obama administration, according to firearms industry executives and market analysts.
Even allowing for spikes in gun sales that follow every mass killing in the U.S. and attendant political debates about gun control, industry executives said the surge seems unprecedented.
It has reportedly emptied shelves of the kind of semiautomatic rifle that was used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December. These deaths are what sparked President Obama’s proposal for tougher gun laws.
In some areas, a buyer walking into a gun store will now have to wait up to a year to buy a military-style assault weapon, according to published reports. The prices of available semiautomatics have doubled as buyers bid up the dwindling supply, and stocks of Glock handguns are also low, reports say.
“I think there has been a pretty dramatic up-tick in demand within one month,” said Nima Samadi, who follows the gun industry for IBISWorld, a market research firm. “Certain locations are even running out of certain guns, and suppliers can’t fulfill demand.”
Samadi noted that 2012 was already a banner year for the gun industry, with a projected 8.2 percent growth from 2011—just as 2008, another presidential election year, saw a significant increase in gun sales.
Manager of Buck-n-Bears Gun Shop in Parish, Jon Fairbrother, said the gun legislation has caused an increase in sales, but has also affected the shop negatively.
“I really don’t like it,” he said. “The fact is I can’t get any product to sell, because there is nothing available.”
Fairbrother said everyday hunters comprise the shop’s main customer base. Buck-n-Bears Gun Shop sells sporting rifles, shot guns and some handguns, but since the legislation more semi-automatic hand guns, bolt-action rifles and regular hunting shotguns have been selling, said Fairbrother.
“We’ve seen an increase in transfers. A transfer is when someone buys a firearm online and the shop they buy it from sends it to us. When they come in, it’s like they are buying the gun from us. We do the background check and all that at our shop, ” Fairbrother said.
The recent gun legislation in New York State fortifies New York’s existing assault weapons ban, by limiting the number of bullets allowed in magazines and strengthening rules that govern the mentally ill, which includes a requirement to report potentially harmful behavior.