County governments’ flippant attitude towards self-defense places New Yorkers at risk during a viral outbreak that could cause massive delays in police response times

March 19, 2020 – BUFFALO, N.Y. – 2ANYS, New York State’s premier civilian rearmament enterprise securing maximal Second Amendment civil rights by, with, and through The People, conducted a phone survey of all 62 New York State counties between Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The purpose of the survey, engaging offices of county executives, county sheriffs, local law enforcement agencies, and private fingerprinting firms in a brief line of questioning, was to determine the extent to which various counties have deprioritized, ignored, or completely suspended the processing of new pistol permit applications amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2ANYS phone survey revealed that, citing the March 7, 2020 state of emergency declared by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and similar emergency proclamations issued by a range of local governments across the state, 84 percent of all New York State counties (52 of 62 counties) have suspended or ignored their pistol permit processing duties. This percentage includes:

  • Counties that confirmed pistol permitting activities have been suspended until further notice (38 counties);
  • Counties that have ceased tracking whether pistol permit applications are being processed as normal (6 counties);
  • Counties that are no longer making staff available to process pistol permits (2 counties);
  • Counties that admitted delays associated with emergency operations would create the effect of a suspension of pistol permit processing (1 county); and
  • Counties that have already imposed a de facto ban on pistol permit processing via a mountain of unconstitutional, bureaucratic, and draconian red tape (the 5 boroughs of New York City).

Permit Processing Suspension Status by County:

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The vast majority of counties suspending or ignoring pistol permit processing duties cite the following very minor inconveniences as justification for wholesale cancellation of a fundamental civil right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution:

  • Refusal by the county sheriff or relevant local police agency to offer fingerprinting services;
  • Refusal by the county sheriff or relevant local police agency to engage in reference investigations;
  • Shutdown of physical county court proceedings; and/or
  • Closure of county facilities to in-person appointments by pistol permit applicants.

All of the above highly insignificant gripes are easily circumvented through a very modest expenditure of mental energy that the private sector is better suited to execute than incompetent government agencies. In fact, the private sector has already solved the first of the issues outlined above for several of the counties still actively processing new pistol permit applications without delay.

Through its phone survey, 2ANYS has learned that Chautauqua, Cortland, Franklin, and Ontario Counties have engaged a private sector firm called IdentoGO to complete fingerprinting operations for all pistol permit applications. Unlike law enforcement agencies across the majority of New York State that have simply surrendered to COVID-19 and completely closed down all pistol permit fingerprinting services in spectacularly ham-fisted fashion, IdentoGO has responded to the pandemic by instituting the following policies:

We have a strict set of guidelines our Enrollment Agents follow every day to ensure that any risk to customer health is minimized. Our Enrollment Agents sanitize their hands between customers and also disinfect surfaces that come in contact with customers regularly. In response to the Coronavirus, we have increased cleaning protocols related to high-touch surfaces like door handles, keyboards, counters, chairs, etc. We recommend use of hand sanitizer by both customer and enrollment agent prior to and after enrollment related activities.”

The question should be asked of local law enforcement agencies:

“Why aren’t you capable of doing the same?”

With privatizing the applicant fingerprinting process through IdentoGO or some similar private sector firm being the clear solution to the first of the insignificant concerns cited by counties halting pistol permit processing, the other three concerns outlined above are easily solved by law enforcement agencies conducting reference investigations by phone and/or email, judges working from home via the internet, and residents completing county business transactions online. Therefore, there is no acceptable excuse for counties to suspended or ignore their pistol permit processing duties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This sad episode of government negligence and sloth simply illustrates that most New York State counties put zero effort into legitimately safeguarding the Second Amendment civil rights of their constituents. It also demonstrates that a majority of counties classify the uninterrupted and efficient operation of the unconstitutional permitting regime holding New Yorkers’ fundamental right to self-defense hostage as a ‘non-essential service.’ To remedy this situation, 2ANYS encourages New Yorkers to do the following:

  • Join the 2ANYS lawsuit to overturn New York State’s pistol permitting regime on constitutional grounds;
  • Contact your county legislators and sheriff and implore them to identify and implement private sector solutions to transform the current pistol permitting regime into a modern, resilient process capable of operating without interruption during a future crisis that shuts down county facilities; and
  • Commit to removing any and all county officials that refuse to oblige the above courses of action, regardless of party affiliation.

“During a period of crisis when entire law enforcement patrol divisions could be brought down by COVID-19 exposure and 911 response times could grow to an hour or more as a result, government agents are making it impossible for citizens to lawfully defend themselves in the home,” 2ANYS Founder Steve Felano said. “Rather than throwing up their hands and using the governor’s state of emergency declaration as an excuse to suspend or ignore their duty to speedily process pistol permit applications, county officials should be leveraging state and local emergency proclamations to suspend the unconstitutional ‘may issue’ components of New York’s pistol permit regime. This would ensure as many New Yorkers as possible are armed and able to defend themselves given the high likelihood that 911 response times will substantially increase in the coming weeks and months as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens as a direct result of international, federal, and state government ineptitude. By the time pandemic-strained law enforcement resources respond to a citizen’s distress call regarding an altercation or lethal force event, it will be too late to do anything more than document the carnage. If a New Yorker is seriously harmed or killed by someone during the COVID-19 pandemic because he or she could not secure a pistol permit and law enforcement took too long to respond, the responsibility for that New Yorker’s death falls squarely on the shoulders of government officials, and those officials should answer for their negligent and unconstitutional actions in court.”

Indeed, as The New York Times reported on March 12, 2020:

“Law enforcement officials say the public should be prepared for interruptions to two basic functions: quick responses to all 911 calls, and the right to a speedy trial… Police officers and others who work in law enforcement and public safety face special challenges: They have extensive contact with the public, including people who call 911 for health emergencies, and are some of the least able to stay isolated if they are at risk of infecting others. A major outbreak could test the ability of law enforcement to maintain public order in ways never seen before…To focus on critical needs, officials say they might have to respond to fewer minor car accidents, pull resource officers out of schools or delay responding to nonviolent crimes such as shoplifting and vandalism…Officers in some departments are privately questioning whether their forces are prepared. One officer in San Francisco, who asked not to be named because he feared he would be punished, said little had been done to plan for what would happen if many officers were exposed to the coronavirus, despite nearly 100 confirmed cases in the Bay Area.”

Given that The New York Times reported on March 19, 2020 that New York State has nearly five times more COVID-19 cases than California, it’s more than reasonable to conclude that New York is going to experience substantially more pandemic-induced interruptions to law enforcement activities than its leftist twin on the West Coast. When New Yorkers start dialing police for a home invasion in progress amid the COVID-19 pandemic and no one responds for an hour if at all, the lunacy of a permitting system artificially licensing the human right to self-defense that can be completely suspended as a matter of convenience to counties will become fully apparent. At that point, even Shannon Watts will be forced to utter the words:

“The Second Amendment Works.”

To learn more about any of the above, please contact Steve Felano at 888-763-5345 or [email protected].

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2ANYS is New York State’s premier civilian rearmament enterprise securing maximal Second Amendment civil rights by, with, and through The People. At the tip of the spear in the fight against progressive gun control, their innovative strategies expand non-compliance with, and non-enforcement and repeal of, Albany’s imperial disarmament edicts. 2ANYS promotes a strong martial culture across New York State through firearms proficiency development, combat tactics training, and firearms industry events. The enterprise actively educates the public on the immense successes delivered by America’s Second Amendment, and the deplorable suffering imposed by governments that forcefully disarm their citizens. By, with, and through The People, 2ANYS will defeat Albany’s unconstitutional civilian disarmament industrial complex, and pass that victory on to the next generation to defend as their own. Learn more at WWW.2ANYS.COM.