I beg all pro-gun advocates to read this, and to keep an open mind ["Write reasonable gun-control laws," Letters, March 10].
The way the Nassau County Police Department's pistol licensing bureau operates, and issues pistol permits, should be a model for law enforcement everywhere. Its system prevents handgun violence, and here is why.
Once your pistol permit packet is completed and received, the department performs a thorough investigation, leaving no stone unturned. Its people call your references, your job, your wife or partner, and complete a full criminal background check. If you pass this portion of the examination, you get the privilege of holding a Nassau County pistol permit (for hunting and target shooting only), unless of course it's a full-carry business permit, which is more difficult to obtain. Multiple background checks are the first reason why arrests for the use of a firearm in crimes don't involve the majority of Nassau County pistol permit holders.
The next step is picking out your firearm at a federally licensed dealer. You show your license, pick out your handgun, pay for it and take the receipt to the Nassau police licensing bureau. The bureau inspects the receipt and the license, and gives you a purchase order. You then return to the dealer and pick up your firearm, and then you return to the police for visual inspection of the newly purchased firearm.
Yes, it's a lot of steps, but this is the second reason why the vast majority of firearms from Nassau County pistol permit holders aren't used in crimes.
The gun dealer has to record every handgun transaction with the federal government, and when it's time to renew your pistol permit, you have to bring your handguns in for another visual inspection.
Because of the police department's hard work, handguns in Nassau County are accounted for. Handguns from states that use a more lax system are constantly making their way to New York, where they are used to commit crimes and kill.
Joseph Bua, Long Beach
Editor's note: The writer is a former Nassau County pistol permit holder and current state law enforcement officer.