In NY state, you need to obtain a license to own a handgun, and every time you want to buy or sell a handgun, you need to file a form for an official amendment to your pistol license. This form gets reviewed by your licensing officer (a judge), and s/he can either approve it or deny it. Obviously, the purpose of this is to allow for discretion - judge can do anything from approve it instantly, to call you into court and ask you to explain yourself. The latter is what happened to me earlier this week. Flash back for a moment to a month ago, when I got my license initially. The judge swore me in, asked me a couple of questions, flipped through my application, and then told me that everything looked good and that she'd be issuing a ruling in a few days. I was standing in front of her for a maximum of four minutes. Flash forward to this week: The court called me in to appear in regards to my amendment adding a Ruger Mark III to the license. When I got there, though, it was a different judge than my licensing officer, and this judge grilled me about my application. She looked through all of the paperwork for several minutes, asking questions about me, the contents of my application, and what I would be doing with the gun. Her biggest problem was with the fact that I had known my references for "only" three years. I explained that I moved to the county three years ago, and all references must be from in-county, and so three years was the maximum possible amount of time I could have known them. She later granted that although she was concerned that I had known my references for such a short time, this explanation was "acceptable to the court." (This despite the fact that the application states you are only required to have known your referees for a minimum of one year.) She finished by saying that she would grant my request, and that I would receive notice in the mail. So, my question is this: does discretion have a place at any level of the process of obtaining firearms? There is a thread going now where people are arguing about a gun store owner's right to refuse to sell a firearm, but for some reason I think people will be less likely to think that the government should have that right as well. What's the difference, if there is one?