MEN and women. Democrats and Republicans. Doctors, lawyers, merchants and moguls. A remarkable, if relatively small, cross-section of New Yorkers legally own handguns, according to public records obtained by The New York Times.
Among the more than 37,000 people licensed to have a handgun in the city are dozens of boldface names and public figures: prominent business leaders, elected officials, celebrities, journalists, judges and lawyers.
Some expressed pride in their gun ownership, like the renowned divorce lawyer Raoul Felder, who readily posed with his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson. Others, including David Breitbart, Yetta Kurland and Walter Mack, all well-known lawyers, were irked to learn they would be included in an article based on the public records. And there were a few conflicted souls, like Alexis Stewart, co-host of “Whatever With Alexis and Jennifer” on SiriusXM radio and the Hallmark Channel.
“I don’t believe people should be allowed to have guns in America,” Ms. Stewart, daughter of Martha, said in an interview, explaining that she bought a .357 Magnum after 9/11 — but would be happy to give it up if handguns were banned. “Having a swimming pool is way more dangerous than having a gun,” she added.
Getting a handgun legally in New York is a two-step process. First, applicants must obtain a license, which costs $340, takes about 12 weeks to process, is good for three years and requires a background check by the New York Police Department. In addition, fingerprinting costs about $100.
Those who pass that hurdle then must get a purchase authorization from the police for the particular weapon they intend to buy. One handgun license may list up to 25 weapons (so far, no one has tried to register more than that, officials said), but buyers must wait 90 days between purchases.