The people working in the licensing office are quite nice to deal with and understandable when it comes to small issues and missing or incorrect paperwork. They are not vindictive and they do not arbitrarily decide to reject your application because of clerical, paperwork, or other issues, they will contact you first to get clarification and will guide you on how to successfully resolve issues, even very serious ones involving prior criminal records, arrest warrants, bench warrants, etc. Unlike what you hear, you still qualify for a permit with a minor criminal record as long as you have no felonies and no misdemeanors of domestic assault.
Since a lot of this thread reads like the doom and gloom of NYC licensing I want to write a few good things from my and other people's real life experiences with licensing.
During my interview process the officer was very nice to me and asked me standard questions that were already answered on the application, my name, address, occupation, purpose for the firearm, my plans for storage of firearms (unloaded and locked), and the alternate location for storage while away (mother's house). The officer let me verify everything that was entered into the computer to ensure that it is correct. The interview was very quick and even then I had enough time for some questions and chit-chat about the licensing process. She was very pleasant and informed me that in a few months I will be receiving a follow-up letters informing me of their decision.
Clerical Errors Fixed
Another example on my first permit, the old green paper permits, the issuing officer made clerical errors on the makes and models of my first firearm twice in a row and I had to wait an additional hour at the office and give two additional photos for the permit to be issued but the officer did the work ahead of the line of other people who were waiting for their paperwork since she felt bad about making the mistakes and apologized for this. Now the issuing system is computerized and automated so any license additions or replacements are just a few keystrokes away and then the Print button.
License Replacement with a Smile
When the city changed the permit format from paper to credit card sized plastic with nice logo and color coding of license type they had problems with the system and the printing machines. Many of the licenses issued in the beginning had a problem with the ink that was sprayed on the back of the license where the registered firearms have their serial numbers written so after a while the serial numbers would rub off even while the license was never removed from the wallet. Obviously if your serial numbers were rubbed off and unreadable on your license and you were stopped by police or checked at the range for sales you would be in quite a bit of trouble being unable to prove the ownership of your firearms.
Well, I went to the office to see if I could receive a replacement license and that day the office was processing retired officers for their licenses so the little waiting room was full. When I asked the officer behind the desk about having my license replaced she said that if I wait an hour or more they would take care of me after all these other officers were processed or I could just stop by tomorrow. I decided to stop by the next day and handed the license to a different officer. She saw the problem and went back inside the office and was back again in 5-minutes with my new license in hand. She also brought out some clear tape and put a strip of it over my serial numbers on the back to prevent them from rubbing off again because she was aware of this problem. I had to pay nothing and the whole process was quite quick and with a smile.
Nice Collections of Pistols
A person that I know has a quite nice collection of very nice pistols of all various kinds, many dozens of pistols, many more than that magic number 4 that requires a safe afterwards. Well when the original paper permit system was being out phased into a computerized system the new plastic license does not have enough space on the back to hold the full list of pistols so the officer printed another blank plastic license with the additional serial numbers. It looks very nice and it is impressive. Since the collection is always growing the issuing office just keeps adding additional pistols to the license. So you see there is no arbitrary magic number of firearms that you can own.
Felony Arrest Warrant
A person that I have known personally who applied for a permit was contacted a few months after the application was sent it to come down to the office due to the existence of a felony arrest warrant for drug trafficking for their person matching their name and birth date. The person went down to the office and after an hour of checking the computer systems and clarifying the issue it was found that the warrant was accurate but that it was issued to another person with the same exact name and birth date as this person but the investigating officer was prudent enough to perform thorough checks and found that the social security number and place of birth of the two people did not match so he clarified the issue. Because of this event and the inconvenience the investigating officer was nice enough to perform and complete the other investigatory checks and this person received their premise permit in 4-months only. A record time according to all the people and dealers that I know.
Missing or Incorrect Paperwork
Many people, including myself, have been contacted by the pistol and rifle licensing offices during their application process with requests for additional, missing, or incorrect paperwork. Every time that a clerical issue like that comes along the office sends out a request for additional information with a list of issues and documents to submit by mail or person (mostly in-person). So if you make an error or forgot something from your application don't worry about being denied, they will contact you to get the information or paperwork. The issuing officers almost sound like they want to give you a permit since they are so nice about guiding you through the process successfully.
Sometimes the requests are arbitrary, such as in my case, I submitted the signed and notarized letting affirming my compliance with all laws for my rifle permit but I had to resubmit the same exact letter again during my application process since the one included in my application packet was old and was not printed on the blue City of New York letterhead paper. But this is just a minor hick-up in the process that just cost me some time to send the letter.
Purchase Authorizations Every 90-days (~120-days Realistically)
However, recently the city council passed a much unwelcome city ordinance that limits firearm purchases, handguns and long guns, to every 90-days and the licensing office is now strictly enforcing the ordinance by limiting the Request for Purchase Authorizations to 90-days after the registration of the previous pistol. The issuance of a Purchase Authorization after completing the Request for a Purchase Authorization has now been effectively lengthened to 2-3 months of time instead of the previous 1-2 months, making the 90-day limit effectively an approximate ~120-day limit on purchases when you include the delays between the request, the issuance, and registration.
Previously before the ordinance the office would issue a Purchase Authorization 4-8 weeks after 30-days from the previous Request for Purchase Authorization.
No Concealed Carry Permits for People
Also, there is no CCW (concealed carry weapon) permits issued to ordinary people in in NYC. They are only issued to armed security guards for usage during work, to state licensed Bail Enforcement agents, and for businessmen who transport more than $10,000 in cash or valuables to the bank daily.
New York City Permits and Members Welcome!
There is a country wide misunderstanding of the firearm licensing process in New York City and everyone has the impression that getting a license here almost impossible and too difficult to attempt. The process is long and requires a lot of paperwork but it is not difficult and it is entirely navigable by the average person with a little bit of reading, writing, and determination.
There is quite a substantial firearm enthusiast culture here in the city and the five boroughs. There are shooting ranges a plenty in all boroughs and new members are always welcome. There are local range competitions in all five boroughs of the city and plenty of friendly people to meeting and interact with.
The nice people that I have met at the range and that I see almost every week have all been great and now they are my second group of friends to hang out with.
While I wrote some of these positive experiences I just want to clarify that I am in no way justifying or defending the licensing process in any way, I find that the fees and licensing times are too high and too long and the passage of the 90-day waiting period is an arbitrary and ineffective measure. The people that work in the licensing office are very good and do their work thoroughly and they are helpful, it is the process and the laws that have problems and create issues.