Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Guilty Plea and Charges Announced in NYPD Handgun Licensing Corruption Case

Friday, June 24, 2016

Guilty Plea and Charges Announced in NYPD Handgun Licensing Corruption Case

Back in April, NRA-ILA alerted readers to a federal corruption probe involving the New York Police Department’s License Division and allegations that some of its officers were issuing handgun licenses in exchange for bribes. On Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the arrest of a former supervisor at the NYPD’s Licensing Division on charges relating to this matter. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also unsealed a guilty plea entered by Officer Richard Ochetal. Ochetal pled guilty to charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery relating to his role in the gun licensing scheme. This episode highlights the problems inherent to highly-restrictive gun licensing regimes, and reveals what many New Yorkers have long-known - that those with sufficient wealth or the right connections can navigate the city’s severe gun restrictions, while average citizens are left defenseless.

On April 18, federal authorities filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York describing an alleged license-purchasing scheme carried out by Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein for several years with the help of members of the NYPD License Division. According to the complaint, Lichtenstein would charge individuals seeking a handgun license up to $18,000 for his assistance in shepherding their application through the NYPD bureaucracy. Allegedly, Lichtenstein would then provide the License Division supervisor and Ochetal with cash bribes for their assistance.

Eventually the Commanding Officer of the License Division put a stop to Lichtenstein’s arrangement, at which point Lichtenstein sought the assistance of an NYPD officer outside the License Division. This officer reported the attempt to NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Subsequently, the FBI and Internal Affairs outfitted this officer with a wire and captured Lichtenstein offering the officer $6,000 for every license he could help him obtain.

The indictment and a press release accompanying the arrest of the License Division supervisor shed more light on the alleged license-purchasing scheme. New York’s licensing structure involves a significant investigation of an applicant’s background. This process, as it states in the indictment, “takes several months” in the case of a premises license, or “even longer” in the case of a carry license. In the case of those Lichtenstein assisted in obtaining a license, the investigation would be truncated, sometimes bypassing the requirements for an in-person interview with the applicant or a complete review of the applicant’s criminal history.

The indictment alleges that in addition to expediting the permitting process, with the help of his co-conspirators in the License Division Lichtenstein obtained licenses “for clients who were otherwise unlikely to obtain gun licenses because of their past criminal history.” The document notes one instance where an individual who had previously been arrested for “bribing a public official and for assault” was granted a limited carry license.

In addition to cash bribes, the government alleges that Lichtenstein provided the License Division supervisor and Ochetal with “other benefits,” including, bottles of liquor, limousine rides, and “a limousine tour of wineries.” Further, the government alleges that the License Division supervisor “expedited, approved, and caused to be approved at least approximately 100 to 10 Applications submitted by [Lichtenstein] for his clients.”

New York City has one of the most onerous handgun licensing regimes in the nation. Applicants can be denied for numerous petty reasons, including “a poor driving history,” or having exhibited “a lack of candor towards lawful authorities.” An application fee of $340.00, coupled with an $89.75 fingerprinting fee, acts as an economic barrier. The process is so difficult that businesses have started offering services to assist gun license applicants in lawfully navigating the procedure. The License Division warns applicants, “such services are not required or endorsed by the New York City Police Department,” and that “any fees you pay to a consulting firm are in addition to those required by law and collected by the License Division.”

It should come as little surprise that a may-issue firearms licensing scheme imposing a nearly insurmountable hurdle to the lawful exercise of a constitutional right was abused in this fashion. Such an opaque and arbitrary process allows for official misconduct to thrive, and in this case created a two-tiered system of rights; one consisting of those with sufficient money or connections to acquire government permission to exercise their constitutional rights, and another tier made up of those without such resources, barred by circumstance from enjoying those same rights.

NRA will continue to work in state legislatures and the courts to limit official discretion in firearms licensing. It is vital to ensure that all law-abiding Americans may lawfully acquire the means of self-defense, regardless of means or social stature.

TRENDING NOW
Updates to ATF Final Rule on Stabilizing Braces

News  

Monday, January 30, 2023

Updates to ATF Final Rule on Stabilizing Braces

On Monday, January 30, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) published the final Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” rule for public inspection in the federal register.

ATF Posts “Final” Rule on Stabilizing Braces

News  

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

ATF Posts “Final” Rule on Stabilizing Braces

On Friday, January, 13, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) posted the “final” Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” rule to its website.

Florida: Constitutional Carry Introduced

Monday, January 30, 2023

Florida: Constitutional Carry Introduced

Today, Representative Chuck Brannan (R-10) filed House Bill 543, the NRA-backed constitutional carry bill. The Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law & Government Operations Subcommittee will hear it on February 7th from 4-6PM. Florida is currently in ...

Minnesota: Gun Control Bills Committee Hearing on Friday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Minnesota: Gun Control Bills Committee Hearing on Friday!

Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. the Public Safety Finance and Policy committee will meet in Capitol Room 120 to vote on numerous gun control bills. Please contact the committee members today asking them to oppose the "red ...

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Invalidates ATF Bump-Stock Rule—Holds that Congress, Not ATF, Declares What the Law Is.

News  

Monday, January 9, 2023

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Invalidates ATF Bump-Stock Rule—Holds that Congress, Not ATF, Declares What the Law Is.

On Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, invalidated the ATF’s Rule classifying bump stocks as machine guns under the Administrative Procedure Act.

New Mexico: Radical Gun Restrictions on Deck in Committee Next Week: Magazine Limits, Waiting Periods, Semi-Auto, Suppressor & NFA Bans

Friday, February 3, 2023

New Mexico: Radical Gun Restrictions on Deck in Committee Next Week: Magazine Limits, Waiting Periods, Semi-Auto, Suppressor & NFA Bans

On Monday, February 6, the New Mexico Senate Health & Public Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 171 by Sen. Bill Soules (D-Las Cruces), legislation that attempts to supersede federal law and make it a ...

Washington: Hearing Rescheduled & Updates on Other Anti-Gun Bills

Friday, February 3, 2023

Washington: Hearing Rescheduled & Updates on Other Anti-Gun Bills

On February 9th, the Senate Law and Justice Committee will hold a public hearing for Senate Bill 5232, the companion to House Bill 1144, which imposes a firearm permit requirement, a 10-day waiting period scheme, and allows indefinite ...

ATF Mass Denial of Suppressor Form 1 Applications

News  

Monday, March 7, 2022

ATF Mass Denial of Suppressor Form 1 Applications

On February 28, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) denied approximately 850 Form 1 applications for prospective makers of suppressors. These denials were apparently made due to a change in ATF policy ...

New Mexico Legislature Convenes Today and the List of Radical Gun Control Bills is Long!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

New Mexico Legislature Convenes Today and the List of Radical Gun Control Bills is Long!

The New Mexico Legislature convenes TODAY for its 60-day session and progressive, anti-gun lawmakers have already filed a laundry list of extremist gun control proposals that would make Biden and Bloomberg proud.

Mexico has Bigger Problems than the Second Amendment

News  

Monday, January 30, 2023

Mexico has Bigger Problems than the Second Amendment

In an attempt to deflect from their own woeful mismanagement, Mexican politicians often try to blame the country’s violent crime problem on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. However, recent news regarding at least one drug cartel ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.