The Bloomberg administration says it will simplify the process for New Yorkers to obtain gun permits, thus speeding up a set of byzantine licensing requirements that gun-rights advocates have long criticized as among the most restrictive in the country, reports the New York Times. Administration officials said the move was forged by a City Hall focused on efficiency and that it would allow for better investigation of applicants who might not qualify for a gun while more swiftly satisfying those fit to have them.
But the timing of the decision was curious to some, as it follows a 2008 Supreme Court ruling that struck down parts of the gun-control law in the District of Columbia and subsequent challenges to gun laws in other places. Some saw it as a move to prepare the city for legal challenges of its gun laws. The announcement was an unexpected turn for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made headlines with his efforts to take guns out of criminals' hands and stem their trafficking, like using private investigators to pose as gun buyers in sting operations and suing gun dealers in several states.