NYC lawyer fights to get gun permit back from NYPD



The NYPD took away his heat — and a Manhattan attorney is burning mad.

Max Leifer is suing the NYPD because the department’s License Division shot down his gun permit renewal application — after nearly 50 years of him safely carrying a firearm.

“It is amazing that while New York City is plagued by unlicensed gun holders, the NYPD is now depriving a law-abiding New York City resident who has maintained a license for 47 years without any problems,” Leifer says in his Manhattan Supreme Court filing.

The legal eagle, who once sued famed bridal-gown designer Vera Wang for $2 million, has been an attorney since 1972 and never had an issue getting his gun permit renewed every three years.

Leifer said he needs the harder-to-get “carry” permit because he does business deals and takes client retainers that sometimes involve a “substantial amount of cash.” He’s also a partner in two bars — Brandy Library in Tribeca and Copper & Oak on the Lower East Side — which “also generate cash.”

In July 2020, for the first time since he started using handguns for protection in 1973, his renewal application on was denied.

A judge will now have to decide whether Leifer’s two guns — a James Bond-like Walther automatic and a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver — remain locked away at the 10th Precinct stationhouse on West 20th Street for safekeeping.

The NYPD claims Leifer, 75, did not fully cooperate with its investigator by failing to produce, among other things, “three months of bank statements and the corresponding deposit slips, and documentation of being in extraordinary personal danger.” He admittedly snarked that the NYPD was acting like the IRS.

The NYPD concluded, “the activities which justified granting a Business Carry License in the past, do not exist anymore. You no longer carry or transport cash. You no longer transact business involving expensive watches and artifacts. You no longer collect rent from rental properties. This amounts to a change in circumstance.”

Leifer called the scandal-scarred License Division “a joke.”

“They intentionally do not want to give licenses. Contrary to the second amendment where a citizen should be able to have a gun in his home or business,” he said. “Meanwhile, all these maniacs are running around with unlicensed guns and shooting everybody in the street. Every day you have a shooting, a killing.”

The Post exclusively revealed in December that while 8,088 applications for first-time rifle and gun permits had been filed since March 22 — when COVID-19 restrictions went into effect — only 1,087 were granted, a rate of around 14 percent. During the same time period in 2019, the NYPD approved 1,778 of 2,562 applications, a rate of nearly 70 percent.

The department could not give any stats on renewals when asked last week.

Gun store owners said at the time they’d been hearing complaints from potential customers whose applications seem to have disappeared into limbo.

The License Division was rocked by a corruption scandal in 2017, with officers accused of fast–tracking applications for gun licenses in exchange for bribes that included booze and hookers.

“There has undoubtedly been a change in policy over the issuance of carry handgun licenses, since the shakeup from the public corruption scandal,” said Manhattan attorney Fred Abrams, who has been handling gun permit issues for 30 years. “The rules that guide the police department in these licenses have remained unchanged. People from all walks of life, who the license division deemed eligible for carry handgun licenses, suddenly are ineligible.”

Abrams said one of his clients, an auctioneer who handles over $1 million in cash annually, had an unrestricted business carry handgun license for decades. At last renewal, he was “given an ultimatum: accept a restricted license (valid only certain days, times and geographical locations) or get no license at all.” 

A restricted permit “can’t be used for self defense outside of the licensed business premise. The gun is essentially confined to the physical location. A gun locked up inside their business premise does them no good … they are most vulnerable … coming from their home, carrying large sums of money.

“They are easy prey.”

A source familiar with the situation told The Post in December that would-be gun owners began flooding the department with permit applications shortly after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked widespread protests and riots. This has created a huge backlog.

Leifer’s “Article 78” petition — filed Feb. 3 — seeks the renewal of his pistol license and unspecified court costs.


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