My investigator actually answered the phone. When I explained that I was running late, he sounded very understanding which put me a bit at ease. When I arrived in front of One Police Plaza I breathed a sigh of relief. I made it. When I went directly into the main building, I was told that I had to go through security first. That was in a separate building! This is not good.
I had removed all metal objects from my pockets, removed my watch and jewelry. Sigh. I’m going to be more late then I originally anticipated. I gently reminded myself that there was nothing I could do at this point, but cooperate. Everything went on a conveyor belt and then scanned. I was surprised I wasn’t patted down. (Not that I was hoping.) After I collected my things, I realized there was yet another bit of security measure. It was a little kiosk that asked for my name and took my picture. The label that came out of the machine was almost a neon color. I really don’t look good in green. And this grayscale photo was worse then my driver’s license photo. Make your own judgement. Well at least I get a small souvenir out of this little adventure.
Finally, I leave this small building and make my way into the main building. I am asked to show my driver’s license and must give them a reason for my visit. I am directed down the hall. There appears to be other people waiting. I am requested to sign a book. I am ready to see my investigator, but he is not ready to see me. I am asked to take a seat with the others outside. This is lovely I tell myself. The view is of huge corrugated boxes. All I can think of is my next meal. I am not too far from Chinatown where I can get a large bowl of pho. It’s Vietnamese comfort food. Thin rice noodles in beef broth piled high with thin slices of raw beef. It’s really good. Trust me.
My investigator comes out. He is a slim muscular guy. He is Italian and looks like a trainer, but he is in actuality a police officer. I am almost as tall as him in my blue denim pumps. He appears very professional and he is now looking through my paperwork. He says everything looks to be in order. He asks me questions like: “Why do you want a gun?” I keep it brief and say, “For protection.” The whole interview didn’t last more than 10 minutes. Perhaps the investigator realized early on that I didn’t look like a serial killer. He said that I would be notified by mail. It sounded like a fait accompli. But I was really annoyed I couldn’t get to keep my ugly green photo of myself. As I left, one of the police officers asked for it back. Haha. Good thing I thought to take a photo of it before when I was by myself.
A month and a half later, I receive a letter postmarked September 26. I have been approved for a handgun license. I am to appear at One Police Plaza to pick up a purchase voucher no later than 30 days within receipt of this letter. There is an unstated assumption that if I don’t go within 30 days, I am to start the application process all over again. The thought gives me the hives. I am relieved and anxious at the same time.
I decided I was going back to One Police Plaza on October 17. I didn’t want to delay it any longer because of fear I might get sick or something bad happening that would render me unable to shlepp down to One Police Plaza again. I was well aware these hard-nosed bureaucrats didn’t accept excuses. And as chance would have it, a friend had come into town and I had to miss her visit because of this bureaucracy.
I became less conscientious about my attire. I ended up going in my blue boot leg jeans and my favorite short cowboy boots. I don’t know where the time went. The handgun licensing division that gives out purchase vouchers is only open till 12 pm. It was about 11:45 am when I got out of the train. It is shameful that my time management skills have been shot. Mellowing out a bit too much in my old age. Luckily this time I got out closer to Center Street. But I still needed to pick up the pace. I started running. People were staring at me. I didn’t care. I just needed to make it to the office before it closed.
When I got to the security check, I tried to smile a little differently hoping the green photo would come out better. Nope. Still ugly. I sprang out of there and ran into the main building. I quickly pulled out my ID and letter showing them I was to pick up my purchase voucher. I was directed to a different office from the last time I was there. It was 11:55 am. Thank goodness for small miracles.
I begin to wonder why I had to be here by 12 pm. Is it because the bureaucracy wants to make my life just that much harder? I press my lips together in annoyance. Finally, it is my turn. I am helped by a clerk who is working on a knitting project in between providing service. I compliment her on her pretty knitwork while thinking to myself, “She not only has a job where she has time to knit, but she doesn’t have the hide her knitting project from supervisors….” She is so nice though. She tells me to smile pretty for the camera as she takes a photo for my handgun license. She then tells me to take a seat while I wait for the photo ID to print out.
It takes some time, so this lady even apologizes for taking so long. I take this opportunity to ask her why they only give out purchase vouchers till 12 noon. She responds, “Because in the afternoon, they do inspections.” I let that sink in a little, but it still didn’t make any sense. Not sure why two jobs can’t be conducted simultaneously. Finally, once the ID comes of the printing machine, she gathers some papers which includes a purchase voucher. She says to me, “You have 30 days to buy a gun. Once you buy the gun, you need to come back here within 72 hours to have it inspected and registered.” Then she sent me on my merry way. I’m still not done. But at least the photo on my handgun license came out fairly decent.
To be continued… Next time, I will tell you how I got my gun.
Read the last part and see me with my gun here.