Locals are still buzzing about the accidental shooting at Colonie Center Tuesday night.
The man involved is a retired State Police Trooper, and while police say he did nothing wrong by carrying a concealed weapon, people say they are still uneasy about a loaded gun in a public place because of the mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater last week.
Law enforcement officials said that since Friday, more people who are permitted to carry a concealed weapon, are doing so.
When local shoppers learned that a retired State Trooper accidentally shot himself in the leg in the dressing room at Sears, they all had the same question.
“You have to question why,” said Patty Pinkham, who was walking around the mall with her family. “We want to live in a safe place, we want to be able to enjoy your family it’s scary.”
“Why does anyone carry a loaded gun in a mall,” asked Corning resident Keith Brewster.
The short answer: because it's legal.
“Law enforcement officials, retired or on the job, can carry his gun concealed anywhere in the United States,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.
However, retired officers must obtain a certification that needs to be renewed annually.
Police said the 56-year-old former trooper had a pistol permit issued in July of last year.
“As a civilian on the outside I know it would be scary to think there are people walking around malls with guns,” Sheriff Apple said. “But having a retired law enforcement officer walking through the mall with a gun, I don't think is a bad thing at all."
The sheriff said he thinks New York has taken serious steps to control guns laws.
“We don’t just run the guys name and move on,” Sheriff Apple said.
We visited the Albany County Clerks Office to learn more about the permit process.
Clerk Tom Clingan said obtaining a pistol permit is a complex process that can take up to a year.
“There’s a lot of things that go on behind the scenes, as well references from other people who know the applicant, background checks from mental health, the DMV,” he said.
Clingan added that it's even tougher to get an unrestricted concealed carry permit.
“It is believed that there is anywhere from a million and a half to three million incidents a year that people are saved from some kind of harm or some type of physical force by just showing a firearm,” said Tom King with the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association.
King showed us a .22-caliber revolver similar to the one police say was discharged in Tuesday’s incident.
“This firearm will not shoot unless the hammer is cocked,” King said.
Police said Tuesday night's incident was all an accident.
“I don't want to dwell on Colorado, there are incidents happen locally too, fights, muggings, you name it, and I know for sure that retired officers have avoided those incidents and kept those bad guy from getting away with a crime,” Sheriff Apple said.
A pistol permit is a lifetime permit, so once it's granted, the carrier does not have to renew it.
King said he believes the Department of Criminal Justice Services does background checks every five years on permit holders.
Sheriff Apple said that could be an area where New York State could tighten up, and suggested a recertification process every year.